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Gay Couples to File Marriage Lawsuit in New Jersey

Gay Couples to File Marriage Lawsuit in New Jersey

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Seven gay and lesbian couples plan to file a lawsuit in New Jersey state court Wednesday arguing that the civil union law fails to provide the same legal protections as marriage.

The couples will file suit along with Garden State Equality and Lambda Legal in Trenton Wednesday morning. Their move comes less than one week after neighboring New York passed a marriage equality law that will take effect July 24, and it represents the latest step in a long legal and legislative battle.

According to the Associated Press, which withheld details of the lawsuit, "One man says he was denied being able to make urgent medical decisions for his partner. Another saw his partner and children's health insurance canceled by a skeptical auditor. One woman had to jump through legal hoops to adopt the baby of her civil union."

New Jersey governor Chris Christie, a Republican, opposes marriage equality, and he reiterated this week that he would veto any bill presented him by the Democratic-controlled legislature. An effort to pass a marriage equality law stalled in the in legislature in 2010 right before Christie took office. This month Senate president Stephen Sweeney, a Democrat, apologized for abstaining on the marriage equality vote and called it a political calculation.

Civil unions became law in New Jersey after the top court ordered lawmakers to extend equal legal rights and protections to same-sex couples in late 2006. Advocates attempted to have the state Supreme Court take up their original case, but that request was denied, resulting in the latest lawsuit.

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