Same Sex marriage has just been ruled legal in the state of New Jersey. Mary C. Jacobson ruled on Friday that same sex couples must be allowed to marry because they are currently being harmed and deprived of federal benefits. The ruling will go into effect on October 21. In her 53 page opinion, she wrote that the current laws that allow civil unions in the state are insufficient because by their definition they deny benefits to same sex couples.
In her opinion, Judge Jacobson wrote:
The ineligibility of same-sex couples for federal benefits is currently harming same-sex couples in New Jersey in a wide range of contexts…civil union partners who are federal employees living in New Jersey are ineligible for marital rights with regard to the federal pension system, all civil union partners who are employees working for businesses to which the Family and Medical Leave Act applies may not rely on its statutory protections for spouses, and civil union couples may not access the federal tax benefits that married couples enjoy.
The ruling will allow gay couples to participate in the same federal benefits now available to their heterosexual counterparts. The ruling is considered a major victory by gay activists groups, but there is widespread speculation that the decision will be appealed and that the appeal will go all the way to the state Supreme Court.
Gay advocacy groups had long predicted that the recent Supreme Court decision to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act would be “the beginning of the end” for anti-gay advocates and their fight to stop same sex marriage. Leaders in the gay community believed the battle would be won in the courts, and slowly but surely, it seems the inevitable slide to federally recognized same sex marriage is in full swing. Same sex marriage has been ruled legal in New Jersey and other states are sure to follow suit.
By: Rebecca Savastio