Yesterday a federal judge heard arguments in a marriage equality case in New Jersey. Jacob Combs at Equality on Trial reports:
On the constitutional issues at the center of the case, although she presented both lawyers with pointed and extensive questioning as to their positions, Judge Jacobson appeared inclined to side with Lambda Legal’s argument, pointing out that she is bound by the New Jersey Supreme Court’s decision in Lewis mandating that same-sex couples be treated equally to different-sex couples.
In plain language, Judge Jacobson told [New Jersey Assistant Attorney General Kevin ]Jespersen that the recent decisions of several federal agencies not to consider couples in civil unions eligible for federal benefits pointed to the fact that they are not being treated equally, and asked the attorney how the state Supreme Court could possibly find such treatment constitutional in light of the Lewis decision.
Yet at the same time, she expressed concern for moving too quickly on the issue. ”I’m very concerned about whether this is the right time to bring this case,” Judge Jacobson told Lustberg, “when I know the [New Jersey] Supreme Court wanted a factual records, and the facts in terms of what federal agencies are doing are in flux.”
Check out Jacob’s full analysis at the link above – it’s fascinating. But the case could take years to resolve if the state appeals a positive ruling… so we may be back to the referendum option.