As we blogged on September 30th, on September 27, 2013, the Hon. Mary Jacobson, sitting in Mercer County, declared the New Jersey Civil Union law unconstitutional in the case of Garden State Equality v. Dow. As expected, that was not the end of the case.
First, the State filed an appeal of the Order.
Next, the State sought a stay of the decision claiming irreperable harm and further claiming that New Jersey courts typically granted stays when presented with cases or first impression and ones of great public importance. Judge Jacobson denied the request for a stay. In her statement of reasons, the judge rejected the claim of irreparable harm. Moreover, as to granting stays in cases of public importance, Judge Jacobsen noted that none of the cases cited in support of that proposition implicated a person’s civil rights.
Thereafter, the State sought a stay with the Appellate Division and aslo requested that the Supreme Court relax the rules and take direct certification of the case. Plaintiffs did not oppose direct Certification but do oppose the stay.
On October 11, 2013, the Supreme Court entered an Order granting direct Certification. The Order further provided that the court would take jurisdiction of the pending stay motion. Further, the order set forth a briefing schedule and set the matter down for oral argument during the January 6-7, 2014 session. ‘
We would expect that the stay motion will be decided shortly since the briefs seeking the stay were to be filed on October 11th and the opposition to be filed by tomorrow (October 15th.) This is especially so since Judge Jacobsen’s Order was to go into effect on October 21st. If the stay is granted, then same sex couples will have to wait until the final adjudication of the matter before they can marry – assuming Judge Jacobsen’s decision is ultimately upheld.
Eric Solotoff is the editor of the New Jersey Family Legal Blog and the Co-Chair of the Family Law Practice Group of Fox Rothschild LLP. Certified by the Supreme Court of New Jersey as a Matrimonial Lawyer and a Fellow of the American Academy of Matrimonial Attorneys, Eric is resident in Fox Rothschild’s Roseland and Morristown, New Jersey offices, though he practices throughout New Jersey. You can reach Eric at (973)994-7501, or firstname.lastname@example.org.