Bus tour primes marriage rights discussions in New Jersey

    The bill to legalize same sex marriage in New Jersey was voted down in the legislature months ago, but the state Supreme Court may still consider a related lawsuit.

    A bill to legalize same-sex marriage was defeated in the New Jersey legislature in January. But the issue returned to the Statehouse yesterday.

    The National Organization for Marriage brought its 19-state bus tour to Trenton and its President Brian Brown led a rally in front of the Statehouse.

    “We’re here to energize and activate our supporters here in New Jersey to protect marriage as the union of a man and a woman,” he said.

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    Inside the Statehouse Annex, the group Garden State Equality held a town meeting of same-sex couples and their children. Lambda Legal’s Deputy Legal Director, Hayley Gorenberg, told them New Jersey’s civil union law does not provide equal rights and benefits to same sex couples.

    “These two things — marriage and civil union — they have some things in common sort of,” she said. “But fair? No. People clearly prefer, recognize, honor, one over the other.”

    The New Jersey Supreme Court has not decided whether to consider a lawsuit filed by Lambda Legal, which says the civil union law is not working and must be replaced with marriage rights for gay couples.

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