Monday, July 26, 2010

N.J. Supreme Court declines gay marriage case filed by six same-sex couples |

N.J. Supreme Court declines gay marriage case filed by six same-sex couples | "- Sent using Google Toolbar"

TRENTON — In a split decision, the New Jersey Supreme Court has declined to hear a case from six same-sex couples seeking the right to marry, saying the case needs to wind its way through the lower courts first.

“This matter cannot be decided without the development of an appropriate trial-like record,” wrote Chief Justice Stuart Rabner, who added that “We reach no conclusion on the merits of the plaintiffs’ allegations regarding the constitutionality of the Civil Union Act.”

The couples filed the case in the aftermath of the failure of same-sex legislation in the state Senate, arguing that the state’s 2006 civil union law had failed to grant them the full rights and benefits of heterosexual married couples that the court mandated the Legislature provide them with four years ago. Since the Legislature failed to pass same-sex marriage, the couples wanted the court to intervene.

They will now have to file a new complaint in Superior Court, which will then have to climb the rungs to reach the state Supreme Court.

The decision was 3-3, with Rabner, Robert Rivera-Soto and Helen Hoens ruling to deny the couples’ motion. Three justices dissented: Virginia Long, Jaynee LaVecchia and Barry Albin.

Long wrote that the court should have heard oral arguments from the plaintiffs as well as opponents of same-sex marriage.

“At the very least, oral argument would have helped to guide us on the best procedural course for creating such a record,” Long wrote in her dissent.

No comments: