Friday, October 21, 2005

Lambda Legal files brief on NJ marriage equality; case heads to NJ Supreme Court

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Lambda Legal’s Lawsuit Seeking Marriage for Same-Sex Couples Headed to the New Jersey Supreme Court — Brief Filed Today Impressive array of friend-of-the-court briefs support Lambda Legal’s plaintiffs. (Trenton, Friday, October 21, 2005) — Today, Lambda Legal filed its opening brief to the New Jersey Supreme Court in a historic case seeking marriage for same-sex couples in New Jersey. “This is what we’ve long been awaiting — our chance to make our case before the state’s highest court,” said David Buckel Marriage Project Director at Lambda Legal and lead attorney on the case. “Since filing this lawsuit our clients have welcomed new children into their families and mourned the loss of loved ones — tragically including the death of one of our plaintiffs Marilyn Maneely, who passed away earlier this fall. With these life-changing events come difficult and painful challenges our clients shouldn’t have to face but do because they are not allowed to marry.” Lambda Legal’s brief states: “Plaintiffs cannot enjoy dignity, security and first-class status as citizens when the government denies them access to one of society’s most esteemed institutions, marriage, with the person each loves.” With election day around the corner, the gubernatorial candidates, Jon Corzine and Douglas Forrester, have both said that they would not support a constitutional amendment banning marriage for same-sex couples. Lambda Legal filed the lawsuit against the State of New Jersey in June 2002 on behalf of seven lesbian and gay couples seeking marriage. The lawsuit is based solely on the New Jersey Constitution, which means the New Jersey Supreme Court will have the last word on the case. “Our brief will be joined by many very helpful friend-of-the-court briefs, notably a brief filed by over 150 members of the clergy in New Jersey who support our case.” The clergy brief will be in addition to many other friend-of-the-court briefs being filed in support of plaintiffs, including from the American Psychological Association, Legal Momentum (formerly NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund), Human Rights Campaign (representing several gay rights groups), Professors of the History of Marriage, Families and the Law, the City of Asbury Park, New Jersey family law attorneys, the National Association of Social Workers and the New Jersey Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers, ACLU of New Jersey, American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund, Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey and the National Organization for Women of New Jersey. Susan Sommer, Senior Counsel at Lambda Legal is also on the case. Lawrence S. Lustberg of Gibbons, DelDeo, Dolan, Griffinger & Vecchione, one of New Jersey’s largest and most prestigious law firms, are cooperating attorneys for Lambda Legal in this case. ### For Lambda Legal's original press release, available on their website, CLICK HERE