N.J. gay couples sue for right to marry

    Same-sex couples in New Jersey again are suing for the right to marry.

    New Jersey’s Supreme Court ruled in 2006 that same sex couples must be provided all the benefits and responsibilities of marriage. But Hayley Gorenberg with Lambda Legal contends the state’s civil union law has not produced that equality.

    “The court, all those judges, are sworn to uphold the constitution. The constitution guarantees these families and other same-sex couples and their children throughout the state equality under the state’s guiding document, the constitution,” she said. “So that’s where we turn.”

    Several same sex couples joined Gorenberg at a news conference Wednesday to announce the lawsuit.

    Elana Quinones of Phillipsburg says a security guard would not allow her civil union partner to get to her room when she was hospitalized while pregnant.

    “All Liz cared about was getting to me, and all he cared about was he didn’t understand what we were. He didn’t understand what she meant to me,” said Quinones. “I was scared and all she wanted to do was be by my side, and that wasn’t allowed because we had a civil union and not a marriage certificate.”

    Karen Nicholson-McFadden of Aberdeen has been in a civil union since 2007. She says her two children had mixed reactions when they heard about the legalization of same-sex marriage in New York.

    “Kasey is excited. Maya, she’s got a sad face, she’s looking dejected. I said honey what’s wrong? This is great news,” Nicholson-McFadden said. “She said but why not New Jersey? Mommy when can you and Momma finally get married? How much longer do we have to wait?”

    The New Jersey Senate rejected a gay marriage bill last year. And even if supporters had the votes now, Gov. Chris Christie has said he will not sign it.

    So gay marriage advocates are pursuing their case in the courts.

    Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

    Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal