Following the historic U.S. Supreme Court decision striking down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF) has joined the ACLU of New Jersey and several civil rights groups in filing an amicus brief in support of marriage equality in Garden State Equality, et al. v. Dow, et al. The brief was filed in NJ Superior Court in Mercer County on behalf of several organizations that represent a diverse cross-section of New Jersey residents.
“By supporting marriage equality, we are standing up for the equal treatment under law of all Americans,” said Ken Kimerling, AALDEF legal director. “New Jersey’s discriminatory civil union law treats gay and lesbian couples as a separate and lesser class of people. By violating the Constitution, this law threatens the civil rights of all Americans.”
The amicus brief was filed in support of Lambda Legal’s motion for summary judgment on behalf of six same-sex couples and Garden State Equality last week. The motion is the latest development in Lambda Legal’s lawsuit, dating back to 2011, which argues that New Jersey’s civil union law violates the New Jersey Constitution and the Fourteenth Amendment of the federal Constitution by failing to provide equal rights and benefits to same-sex couples as those of heterosexual married couples.
In addition to AALDEF, the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, the Hispanic Bar Association, the Garden State Bar Association, the National Organization of Women for New Jersey, and Legal Momentum joined on the amicus brief submitted by the ACLU of New Jersey and acting Rutgers Law dean Ronald K. Chen.
In June, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down DOMA and ruled that the ban on federal benefits for same-sex couples is unconstitutional. Nonetheless, as New Jersey denies same-sex couples the right to marriage, those couples continue to be denied those federal rights and benefits.
“In light of these recent Supreme Court victories, the fight for full marriage equality in all states must continue,” said Margaret Fung, AALDEF executive director.
Download the brief >