US: New Jersey judge to hear potentially groundbreaking case on implications of DOMA strike-down
A New Jersey court case will this week hear oral arguments in a test of the implications of the Supreme Court ruling which struck down key sections of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), to find out what it means for that states.
The ruling would only affect laws in the state of New Jersey, but is being closely watched because of potentially broader implications, reports the Associated Press.
On 26 June, the US Supreme Court announced that it had found DOMA unconstitutional. It had previously defined marriage as between one man and one woman, and the Supreme Court decision paved the way for over 1,100 benefits, previously not afforded to same-sex couples.
The hearing will take place on Thursday in Superior Court in Trenton, and is based on a lawsuit from 2011, when six couples argued that the state’s civil union law did not fulfil a ruling in the state Supreme Court from 2006, which said that gay couples had the right to the same legal protections as straight married couples.
It is unclear how the judge will rule, and an appeal against her decision is possible in a higher court.
He has voiced his opposition to equal marriage, and has more than once said that he thinks the issue should go to referendum. The Governor used his veto on a bill which could have legalised equal marriage last year, blocking its passage.
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