New Jersey's effective prohibition on gay marriages is facing a court challenge from an advocacy group in the state. The group, already suing the state, submitted a court filing on Wednesday in the wake of the Supreme Court's decision on the Defense of Marriage Act. They join Michigan — ranked numbers 1 and 2 on our list of states that might approve gay marriage after DOMA — and a handful of other states rapidly mounting challenges to existing state marriage laws.
The Supreme Court stopped short of granting gay marriage rights, essentially leaving the definition of marriage to the states. But the court upped the stakes in the state-by-state fight when they effectively provided federal benefits to LGBT couples who are already, or will become, legally married. In New Jersey, Lambda Legal is in the middle of a lawsuit challenging the state, which technically has no law on the books either way on gay marriage. The state does have provisions for legal same-sex unions, but the equality of those to a marriage in the state is a huge point of contention. The DOMA decision is cited as the specific reason the group will now ask for a judge to rule in court on the state's position on gay marriage, with a hearing tentatively set for August 15th. Meanwhile, New Jersey governor Chris Christie, who has said that he believes marriage is between a man and a woman, tentatively supports a November referendum on the issue, even as Democrats in the state's legislature attempt to overturn his a veto on a same-sex marriage bill.