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Marriage equality heading back to New Jersey Supreme Court

In a brief order issued Friday, the New Jersey state Supreme Court announced it would take over the case from lower courts and hear arguments from both sides as early as January 6, 2014.
/ Source: Thomas Roberts

In a brief order issued Friday, the New Jersey state Supreme Court announced it would take over the case from lower courts and hear arguments from both sides as early as January 6, 2014.

It’s official–marriage equality will once again have its day in the Garden State’s highest court.

In a brief order issued Friday, the New Jersey state Supreme Court announced it would take over the case from lower courts and hear arguments from both sides as early as January 6, 2014. The court also said it would soon decide whether to temporarily block same-sex couples from obtaining marriage licenses as scheduled, on Oct. 21.

Judge Mary Jacobson ruled last month that New Jersey was in violation of a previous state Supreme Court order requiring that same-sex couples receive the same rights and benefits as heterosexual spouses. The legislature had passed a law allowing civil unions in response to the 2006 Supreme Court ruling. But based on her interpretation of a U.S. Supreme Court decision invalidating the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA,) Jacobson ruled that civil unions no longer guaranteed same-sex couples equal treatment, because only married couples could be eligible for federal benefits.

Jacobson on Thursday rejected the state’s request for a stay on her order, prompting the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office to file an emergency appeal.

Republican Gov. Chris Christie, a possible presidential candidate in 2016, has repeatedly voiced his personal opposition to same-sex marriage, and his belief that the issue be decided at the ballot box. LGBT rights groups argue it’s a civil rights issue that should not be left up to the voters.

A recent Quinnipiac University poll found 61% of New Jersey residents in opposition to Christie’s views on marriage equality.