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Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics


Marriage Equality Coming to New Jersey!

Superior Court Judge Mary Jacobson has ruled today in Garden State Equality v. Dow that same sex couples must be allowed to marry in NJ!  Marriage equality currently set to start on October 21st.  

In arguments before Jacobson in August, Lambda Legal’s lawyer, Lawrence Lustberg, said that not allowing same-sex couples to marry will have “devastating” consequences because the federal government denies a wide array of benefits to couples who are not married. He said the question is a matter of equal protection under the law and has moral overtones.

Jacobson agreed, ruling that the ineligibility of same-sex couples for federal benefits hurts them in “a wide range of contexts,” such as pension benefits, family leave protections and tax benefits.

“If the trend of federal agencies deeming civil union partners ineligible for benefits continues, plaintiffs will suffer even more, while their opposite-sex New Jersey counterparts continue to receive federal marital benefits for no reason other than the label placed upon their relationship by the state,” the judge wrote. Such unequal treatment “requires that New Jersey extend civil marriage to same-sex couples to satisfy the equal protection guarantees of the New Jersey Constitution.”

Sen. Lautenberg (D-NJ) Retiring

It’s not too surprising, but Sen. Frank Lautenberg, Democratic Senator from NJ, has announced he will not seek re-election in 2014.  He’ll be 90 by then, and has had cancer during this most recent term (although he’s been cancer free since 2010), so it’s not entirely surprising.  However, Sen. Lautenberg is one of the more liberal voices currently in the senate, and it’s hard to say if any of the contenders for his seat will be able to fill his shoes on that account.

According to the article on

While Booker is the leading Democratic candidate for Lautenberg’s seat, he is far from the only one. Rep. Frank Pallone (D-6th Dist.) has privately told party leaders he intends to run if Lautenberg retires. Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver (D-Essex) has also expressed interest. In addition, Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D-Gloucester) has set up an exploratory committee.