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Marriage Equality USA Cheers New Jersey Supreme Court Decision; Continues to Press for Legislative Override of Governor’s Veto

Friday, October 18th, 2013

New York/San Francisco • 18 October 2013 ― Marriage Equality USA heartily congratulates same-sex couples in New Jersey who will be able to start marrying this coming Monday! The marriages follow the unanimous ruling publicized earlier today when the New Jersey Supreme Court refused to issue a stay of Judge Mary Jacobson’s Superior Court ruling requiring the state to permit and recognize such marriages beginning October 21, 2013. At the same time, MEUSA’s National Equality Action Team (NEAT) continues to work to secure a legislative implementation of the freedom to marry in the state.

In its 20-page opinion explaining why it would not grant the stay prior to the state’s appeal of Judge Jacobson’s ruling which will be heard next January, the Supreme Court wrote that the State of New Jersey has neither demonstrated that its underlying legal claim is settled nor that it has a reasonable probability of success on the merits. “The Court wrote that ‘[t]he State has presented no explanation for how it is tangibly or actually harmed by allowing same-sex couples to marry,’” explained MEUSA Legal & Policy Director John Lewis. “Rather, the Court determined that same-sex couples and their families suffer ‘immediate and concrete violations of [the] right to equal protection under the law’ and an ‘ongoing injury that … cannot be repaired … at a later time.’”

The Court did note that marriages which take place between Monday and their ruling in the state’s appeal theoretically later could be nullified should it later find in favor of the state. While today’s strongly worded opinion bolsters our conviction that the Supreme Court will uphold the lower court’s ruling and let these marriages stand, the possibility of reversal illuminates why it is imperative for marriage equality supporters in New Jersey to continue calling and urging legislators to overturn Governor Christie’s veto of the marriage equality bill the legislature already passed. A favorable Supreme Court ruling, albeit likely, is not certain, and in any case is not expected before sometime in 2014; a legislative victory still could be accomplished first, as if the veto is to be overridden, this must be accomplished by the end of 2013.

“Today’s decision provides tremendous momentum at a key moment in our movement,” said MEUSA Executive Director Brian Silva. “Meanwhile, Marriage Equality USA and our project, the National Equality Action Team (NEAT), are working every day to make the freedom to marry a reality in New Jersey, Hawaii, Illinois, and nationwide.

From Marriage Equality USA’s National Map page

Over 30% of Americans live in states with full, state-level equality, and 50% of Americans live in 22 states (or counties or cities) that recognize various forms of same- gender relationships:

15 with full marriage (CA, CT, DC, DE, IA, MA, MD, ME, MN, NH, NJ, NY, RI, VT, WA);
03 with civil union (CO, HI, IL);
04 with domestic partnership (NV, NM, OR, WI).
22 states (or counties or cities) that recognize various forms of same- gender relationships.

From Marriage Equality USA’s Current Status pages

Since 1993, every American state has taken some position on marriage equality. Each state allows — or bans — various forms of marriage via the state constitution and/or state laws. Some states have full marriage equality, some have restricted equality, and the rest ban all unions except one-man-one-woman couples. About 70 federal and state marriage-related lawsuits are underway nationwide (

In 2013, lawmakers, judges, and voters in most states, as well as federal judges and Congress, are deciding whether to allow — or ban — various levels of equality.

MEUSA and NEAT Canvass for Marriage Equality in New Jersey

Saturday, October 12th, 2013
Volunteers and staff from MEUSA pose with New Jersey United for Marriage staff before spending time canvassing

Volunteers and staff from MEUSA pose with New Jersey United for Marriage staff before spending time canvassing

Marriage Equality USA Executive Director Brian Silva and eight other volunteers spent October 5th in Summit, New Jersey, canvassing in support of New Jersey United for Marriage (NJUM) – the campaign to win marriage in that state. This action was part of the National Equality Action Team (NEAT), MEUSA’s newest initiative to draw together winning coalitions of marriage equality supporters.

See the full story on the MEUSA news blog…

Help Secure Marriage Equality Nationwide as Part of the National Equality Action Team (NEAT)

Wednesday, October 9th, 2013

Marriage Equality USA has launched a new project – the National Equality Action Team (NEAT).  According to MEUSA Program Manager Tracy Hollister, the new project was conceived by the organization’s executive director, Brian Silva. Chaired by Marriage Equality USA, NEAT is envisioned as a vehicle for national, state, local, and grassroots organizations, as well as individual organizers, to mobilize out­-of-state marriage equality supporters in states with active marriage campaigns. These actions are done in coordination with, and with the support of, the local state campaigns.

See the full story — and learn how to help out — on the MEUSA news blog.

Marriage Equality USA Launches the National Equality Action Team (NEAT)

Thursday, October 3rd, 2013

New York • 3 October 2013 ― Marriage Equality USA (MEUSA) is launching the National Equality Action Team (NEAT), a coalition of almost 50 local, state and national organizations and individual organizers mobilizing volunteers to win the freedom to marry in states with active marriage equality campaigns.

Volunteers are able to sign up on the NEAT website to join events near them and also to phone bank from virtually anywhere.

“The National Equality Action Team is unique in that it gives passionate marriage equality advocates across the country — especially those in marriage equality states who want to pay it forward — a chance to play an important role in our national movement to win the freedom to marry,” said MEUSA Program Director Tracy Hollister.

“NEAT shows what organizations and individuals can do when we come together as a coalition to empower our community to take individual action in support of all 50 states,” said Marriage Equality USA Executive Director Brian Silva. “Until everyone can marry the person they love, we all have work to do.”

“NEAT is a continuation of our work over the past year in winning campaigns in Minnesota, Maine, Maryland, Washington, Rhode Island and Delaware, where we hosted almost 150 phone banks and made approximately 100,000 calls for marriage equality,” said MEUSA Board President Jane Wishon. “Our goal is to continue this work and leverage our communities’ collective power to secure marriage equality by working side by side with our NEAT partners.”

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