Prominent gay rights group Lambda Legal
has announced plans to sue New Jersey after senators
killed a gay marriage bill on Thursday.
“The requirement to ensure equality
for same-sex couples, established by the New Jersey Supreme Court in
its decision in our marriage lawsuit in 2006, has not been met,”
Kevin Cathcart, executive director of Lambda Legal, said in a
“There is enormous, heartbreaking
evidence that civil unions are not equal to marriage, and we will be
going back to the courts in New Jersey to fight for equality. Too
many families are at risk. We cannot wait any longer.”
In a 20 to 14 vote Thursday, senators
killed a gay marriage bill for this session and most likely for the
next four years as Governor-elect Chris Christie, a gay marriage
opponent, takes office on January 19.
In Lewis v. Harris, the New
Jersey Supreme Court unanimously agreed that it is unconstitutional
to deny gay and lesbian couples the rights granted to married
heterosexual couples and ordered the Legislature to remedy the
situation. Lawmakers responded with a civil unions law.
Gay activists say New Jersey's civil
unions law is not equal to marriage.
Lawmakers opposed to granting gay
couples the right to marry insist they'll fix the civil unions law.
In related news, the
first lawsuit to challenge the federal constitutionality of a
voter-approved gay marriage ban begins Monday in California.