GARDEN STATE EQUALITY, ET AL.

,
Plaintiffs-Respondents,
PAULA DOW, in her official
capacity as Attorney General of
New Jersey; JENNIFER VELEZ, in
her official capacity as
Commissioner of the New Jersey
Department of Human Services;
and MARY E. O'DOWD, in her
official capacity as
Commissioner of the New Jersey
Department of Health and Senior
Services,
Defendants-Appellants.
SUPERIOR COURT OF NEW JERSEY
APPELLATE DIVISION
DOCKET NO. A-0521-13
Civil Action
Sat Below:
Hon. Mary C. Jacobson, A.J.S.C.
DEFENDANTS-APPELLANTS' APPENDIX TN SUPPORT OF
EMERGENT MQTION FOR A STAY PENDING
RESOLUTION OF MERITS ON APPEAL
John J. Hot~man
Acting Attorney General of New Jersey
R.J. Hughes Justice Complex
P.O. Box 112, 25 Market Street
Trenton, New Jersey
609-633-1309
Kevin Jespersen
Assistant Attorney General
Of Counsel
Jean Reilly
Deputy Attorney General
On the Brief
TABLE OF CONTENTS FOR APPENDIX
Decision in Garden State Equality v. Dow,
Docket No. MER-L-1729-11 ................. ...................Dal
Complaint in Garden State Equality v. Dow ...................Da54
Sept. 27, 2013 Order in Garden State Equality v. Dow
granting summary judgment for Plaintiffs ...................Da95
Law Division Order denying the Defendants-Appellants'
Motion for a Stay in Garden Stag Equality v. Dow ,..........Da97
Notice of Appeal in Garden State Equak ty v. Dow ............Da99
State's Emergent Motion in Garden State Equality v. Dow
Seeking Direct Certification ...............................Da101
Cozen O'Connor, P.C. v. Tobits, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXZS
105507 (E.D. Pa. July 29, 2013) ............................Da103
Transcript of Oral Argument, Hollingsworth v. Perry,
U.S. 133 S. Ct. 2652 (2013) {No. 12-144) ..............Da115
Transcript of August 15, 2013 Oral Argument on Plaintiffs'
Motzon for Summary Judgment in
Garden State_E~_uality v. Dow ...............................Da122
Letter from Internal Revenue Service, Office of the Chief
Counsel to Robert Shair, Senior Tax Advisor, H & R Block
(Aug. 30, 2011) ............................................Da159
IRS Rev. Rul. 2013-17 ......................................Da160
Dep'~ of Defense Press Release, "DOD Announces Same Sex
Spouse Benefits" (Aug. 14, 2013) ...........................Da175
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, "Statement from
Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano"
(July 1, 2013) .............................................Da177
U.S. Office of Personnel Management, "Benefits Administration
Letter, Number: 13-203" (July 17, 2013) ....................Da179
i
U.S. Department of Labor, News Release, "New Guidance Issued by
US Labor Department on Same-Sex Marriages and Employee Benefit
Plans" (September 18, 2013) ...............................Da187
U.S. Department of Defense, "Memorandum for Secretaries of the
Military Departments, Chiefs of the Military Services"
(August 13, 2013) .........................................Da188
ii
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITIT~TTT AP~'RQVAX, OIL' THE CO'YIMI~'T~~ ON
OPINIONS
GARDEN STATE EQUALZ'~Y; DANIEL
WEISS; JOHN GRANT; MA~tSHA
SIIAPIRO; LUUIS~ ~VAI,PIN;
MAUIt~~N I~LIA.IY; CINDY
lYZ~NEGHIN; SA.XtAH KILIAN
M~N~G~I.IN; E~2 .IC BRADSI~I.W;
TEVONDA BItADSHAW; TCV~RICO
B~2 ADSHAW; I~AI~N NICHOLSON
MC~A.DD~N;IVYAFtCYE N~CHOLSON
MCI~'AI2 AEN; Z~.AS~Y IV~CI-~OLS~N
1VICI`ADD~N; MAYA NYC~IOLSON
MCF'A.DDEN; T~-10MAS DAVIASON;
I~ITI~I HEIMANN'; MA12 T~ ~~MANN
DAVIDS~N; and GRACE ~~I1~ANN
DAV~DSON,
Plai nti f f s ,
PAULA DOW, i ► ~ Ix e ~• o f f i c i al c ~p ~c i ty as
Atf i o r u e y Ge ne ~taI o f Ne ti v Je r s e y ;
J~NNII~'~R VELEZ, i n he r o f f i c i al
c Rp ac i ty as Co mmi s s i ane i • o f ti e Ne ~v
Je r s e y Ae p ~tr tni e nf o f Hu man Se r v i c e s ;
and MARY E. O'DOWA, i n he y o f f i c i al
c ap ac i t~~ as Cammi s s i o ne ~• o f the Ne w
Je r s e y D c p a r t ~ r ► e n t o f He alth and Se ni o r
Se r v i c e s ,
I? e f e ax dants .
Allo r ne y s :
SUZ'~RIOR COURT OI' NEW J~RS~Y
LAW llX'4~SZON
M~RC~R COUNTY
DOCKCT NO. L-172 9-11
CIVIL ACTION
D~GISION O1V MOTION ~+OR
SYJMMARY JUA GM~NT
Se p te mbe r • 2 7, 2 013
Lawr e nc e S. Lu s tbe r g , Es q. ( Gi bbo ,7s , P.C.) f o r p lai nti f f s ( Be njami n Yas te r , Es q., and ~'o i ~ti a D.
~'e dr ~, Es q., o f c o wls e l and o n the br i e f s ).
Hay le y J. Go ~• e nbe r g , Es q. ( Lr r nanda .Lo g an ( admi tte d~~r o hac r i c e ) ~'o r • p lai nti f f s .
Kevin R. J es p er s o n, A .l ~ , G . (J o hn J . Ho ffman, it c t i~ ~ g A t r o r r t ey G ener al o f N eiv J er s ey ) , fo r
d efend ant s (J ean P. Reil l y , D.A .G ., o n t he b r ie fl .
J ac o b s o n, A .7 .S .C .
IN TRODUC TION
PIaint iffs , a l es b ian, g ay , b is ex u al , and t r ans g end ez • ("LG IIT") x ig l it s o x ' g aniz at io n c al l ed
G ar d en S t at e ~ q u al i~ t y , s ix s ame- s ex c o u p l es , and t hen• c hil d r en, as k t his c o u r t t o ent er s u mnnar y
ju d g ment in t heir • favo r , b y ho l d ing t hat t l ae g u a~ ~ ant ees o f eq u al p r o t ec t io n c o nt ained in b o t h fhe
N e~ v J er s ey and Unit ed S t at es C o ns t it u t io ns r eq u ir e t hat c ivil mar r iag e b e ex t end ed t o s ame- s ex
c o u p l es vi N ew J er s ey . Pl aint iffs s eek a r u l ing as a mat t er o f c o ns t it u t io nal l aw, no t o n t he b as is
o f a ~ ' ac t ~ ial r ec o r d , whic h. is as o f y e# inc o mp l et e, b u t as a l eg al mat t er fo l l p wing t he Unit ed
S t at es S u p r eme. C o u r t ' s d ec is io n in Unit ed S t at es v. Wind s o r , ~ U.S . ~ , 133 S . C t . 267 5, 186 L.
Ed . 2d 808 (2013) , whic h s t r u c k d o wn t iie fed er al Defens e o f Mat 7 iag e A c t (DOMA ) . Wind s o r
} ~ , eic l t hat t he fed er al g o vei7 u nent mu s t ex t end fed ex al mar it al b enef is t o s ame- s ex c o u p l es who
ar e l awfu l l y mar r ied in s t at es t hat have g r ant ed s amc - s ex c o u p l es t he r ig ht t o c ivil mar r iag e.
S inc e N ew J er s ey o ffer s s ame- s ex c o u p l es c ivil u nio ns and no t nx ar r iag e, p l aint iffs c l aim t hat
t heir s t at u s as c ivil u nio n c o u p l es no w d ep z ives t hem o f al l t he ~ • ig ht s and b enefit s o f ma~ • r iag e
g ~ ~ ar ant eed t o t hem u nd er t he N ew J er s ey C o ns t it u t io n as int er p r et ed b y t he N ew 3er s ey S u p r eme
C o t ix • t in Lewis v. Har r is , 188 N .J . C IS (20(? 6) , and vio l at es t he fed er al C o ns t ihr t io n 1s wel l . The
d efend ant s ("t he S t at e") o p p o s e t he r el ief s o u g l r t , es s ent ial l y ar g u ing t hat any d er ivat io n c au s ed
t o N ew J er s ey c ivil u ~ u o n c o u p l es d er ives fr o m t he ac t io ns o f t he fed er al g o ver r u ~ ient and no t
fi• o m ac t io n b y t he S t at e, whic h c o nt inu es t o p r o vid e eq u al mar it al r ig ht s and b enefit s t o s ame
s ex c o u p l es t ho u g h t he C ivil Unio n p c t , N .J .S .A . 37 :1- 28 t o - 36. A t t he hear t o f t he d is p u t e
2
DA 002
b e f o r e t h i s c o u r t i s wh e t h e r t h e a ~ a t o n a l e o f Le wi s r e q u i r e s e xt e n di n g c i v i l m a r r i a ge t o s a m e- s e x
c o u pl e s i n t h e wa ke o f Wi n ds o r .
Wh e t h e r t h e r e i s a c o n s t i t u t i o n a l r i gh t t o s a m e- s e x m a ~-~ i ~ ge i s a de b a t e t h a t e l i c i t s s t r o n g
r e s po n s e s f r o m l i t i ga n t s , a t t o r n e y s a n d t h e pu b l i c . ' X ' h e de b a t e h a s a l s o ge n e r a t e d m a n y c l o s e
de c i s i o n s b y t h e c o u r t s i n c l u di n g t i i e c a s e s t h e pa n t i e s r e l y u po n h e a v i l y t o m a ke t h e i r
a r gu m e n t s . Wi n ds o r wa s a 5- 4 de c i s i o n o f t h e Un i t e d S t a t e s S t i pr e i n e Co i u-t . Wh i l e t h e Ne w
j e r s e y S u pr e m e Co u r t u n a n i m o u s l y f o u n d t h a t s a m e- s e x c o u pl e s we r e e n t i t l e d t o a l I t h e r i gh t s
a n d b e n e f i t s o f m a i ~ i a ge i n Le wi s , t h e y s pl i t 4- 3 a s t o r v h e t h e r s a m e- s e x c o u pl e s h a d a
f u n da m e n t a l r i gh t t o m a r r y u n de x t h e S t a t e Co n s t i t u t i o n , wi t h t h e m a j o i i t y f i n di n g n o s u c h
f u n da n n e n t a l r i gh t . Ev e n t h e Ne w J e r s e y S u pr e m e Co u r t ' s de c i s i o n n o t . t o h e a r a m o t i o n i n a i d o f
l i t i ga n t ' s r i gh t s i n Le wi s , f o l l o wi n g n r e po z • t Uy t h e Ci v i l Un i o n Re v i e w Co m m i s s i o n , l e d t o a 3- 3
t o t e o f t h e j u s t i c e s . Th e c l o s e n e s s o f t h e s e de c i s i o n s r e f l e c t s t h e a n a l y t i c di f f i c u l t i e s f a c e d b y
c o u r t s gr a ppl i n g wi t h t h e s e n s i t i v e Le ga l a n d s o c i e t a l i s s u e s r a i s e d b y t h e s e c a s e s .
J u s t i c e Al b i n ' s o pi n i o n i n Le wi s f o c u s e d o n de t a n gl i n g kh e c o n c e pt o f e n t i t l e m e n t t o t h e
r i gh t s e n d b e z i e f i t s o ~ a n a i xi a ge f r o m t h e r i gh t t o t h e l a b e l o f m a r r i a ge , a n d l i m i t e d t h e de c i s i o n t o
t h e h o l di n g t h a t s a m e- s e x c o u pl e s a r e e n t i t l e d t o a l l o f t h e r i gh t s a n d b e n e f i t s o f m a r r i a ge
i e ~ l y dl e s s o f wh a t t l ~ e Ne w J e z-s e y Le gi s l a t u r e de c z de d t o c a l l t h e s a m e- s e x wi i o n . S e e ~ Le wi s ,
s u ~.a , 188 N_J . a t 451. Th e di s s e n t e r s i n Le wi s , h o we v e r , t i v o u l d h a v e gr a n t e d s a m e- s e x c o u pl e s
t h e r i gh t t o m a r r y i n a ddi t i o n t o pr o v i di n g t h e r i gh t s a n d b e n e f i t s o f m a r r i a ge . No w t h i s c o u r t
~ ~ i u s t de c i de wh e t h e r t h e l a b e l o f m a r r i a ge c a n n o l o n ge r b e wi t h h e l d f i o m i s a m e- s e x c o u pl e s —a
l i b e l t h a t h a s t a ke n o n n e w s i gn i f i c An c e ~ i n l i gh t o f t h e Wi n ds o r de c i s i o n . Wl i i 3e t h e Co u r t i n
Le wi s f o c u s e d o ~ ~ e q u a l i t y o f r i gh t s a n d t l m s di d n o t a ddr e s s " t h e t r a n s f o r m a t i o n o f t h e
3
t ' 1I /~
t r a d i t i o n a l d e f i n i t i o n o f m a r r i a g e , " t h a t d e f i n i t i o n i s n o ~ v s q u a r e l y b e f o r e t h i s c o u n t . . L e w i s ,
s u p r a , 188 N _ J . a t ~ S 1.
As n o t e d i n L e w i s , r a t h e r t h a n p ~ ~ e s u m e t h e c o i r e e t I e ~ a l s t r u c t u ~ • e t o i m p l e m e n t i t s
d e c i s i o n , t h e Co u r t d e f e r r e d t o t h e N e w J e r s e y L e g i s l a t u r e t o d e t e x ~ n n i n e ~ v l i e t h e r t o a m e n d t h e
m a r r z a g e s t a t u t e t o i n c l u d e s a m e- s e x c o u p l e s o r t o c r e a t e a s e p a r a t e. s t a t u t o r y s t r u c t u r e t o a f f o r d
s a m e- s e x c o u p l e s a l l t l ~ e r i g h t s a n d b e n e f i t s o f m a r r i a g e . I d , a t 457- 58. 1' h e L e g i s l ~ h z r e c h o s e t o
c r e a t e a p a r a l l e l l e g a l s t r t i c l u r e a n d t o c a l l t h e r e l a t i o n s h i p a c i v i l u n i o n . T l ~ e w a y s i n w h i c h
s a m e- s e x u n i o n s h a v e b e e n i t n ~ l e m e n t e d t h r o u g h o u t t h e c o u n t r y h a v e b e e n v a r i e d . . I n s o m e
i n s t a n c e s , s t a t e c o u r t s i n t e r p r e t e d t h e i r c o n s t i h ~ t i o n s t o r e q u i r e s a m e- s e x m a r r i a g e . Se e
Go o d r i d g e v . De p t o f Pu b . H e a t t h , 798 N . ~ . 2d 941 ( M f l s s . 2003); Va n n i m v . B r i e n , 763 N . W. 2d
862 ( I o w a 2009); I n r e M a n • i a ~ e Ca s e s , 183 Pa d 384 ( Ca l . 2008)1; K e r r i a ~ n v Co m m ' r o f Pu b;
~ I e a l t h , 957 A. 2d 407 ( Co n n . 2008). T n o t h e r s t a t e s , s Am e - s e x z n a r t i a g e w a s e n a c t e d t h r o u g h
l e g i s l a t i v e a c t i o n . Se e An Ac t t o Pr o t e c t R e l i g i o u s Fr e e d o m a n d Pr o m o t e E q u a l i t y i n Ci v i l
M a i 7~ i a ~ e , 2009 Vt . Ac t s &R e s o l v e s 3; An Ac t Z t e l a t i v e f i o Ci v i l M a r i a a g e ~ t n d Ci v i l Un i o n s ,
2009 N . H . L a w s 60 ( c o d i f i e d i n s c a t t e r e d s e c t i o n s o f c h . 457 o f N . I . R e < < . St a t . An n . ); N . Y.
Do a n . R e l . L a w § 10- a ( Co n s ~ 1. 20I 1); Ac t R e l a t i n ~ t o Do m e s t i c R e l a t i o n s —Pe r s o n s E l i i b ~ l e t o
Z v l a t 7y , 2013 R . I . Pu b . L a w s 4; An Ac t t o Am e n d T i t l e 13 o f t l ~ e De l a w a r e Co d e R e l a t i c ~ ~ t o
Do m e s t i c R e l a t i o n s t o Pr o v i d e f o r Sa m e- Ge n d e r Ci v i l M a i x i a g e a n d t o Co n v e r t L : x i s t i n g Ci v i l
U~ u o n s t o Ci v i l I Y ~ ~ ► i x ~ ~ g e s , 79 De l . L a w s 19 ( 20X 3); . l L i Ac t R e l a t i n g ; t o 1V~ a r r i a Q e , Pi ~ o y i d i n ~ . f o r
Ci v i c M a r r i a g e B e t w e e n T w o Pe r s o n s , Yt ~ o v i d i n ~ f o r E x e m p t i o n s a n d Pr o t e c t i o n s ~ 3n s e d o n
R e l i g i o u s As s o c i a t i o n , 2013 M i n n . L a w s 74. R e c e n t l y , s a m e- s e x m a r r i a g e w a s . a p p r o v e d b y
p o p u 3a r v o t e i n t l u e e s t a t e s . Se e E r i k T ~ c k l i o l m , I n M a i n e a n d M a r y l a n d , Vi c t o r i e s , a t t h e B a l l o t
~ T h i s c a s e . v a s o v e r t u r n e d b y a p o p u l a r r e f e r c u d u m , ~ : n o ~ v n a s Pr o p o s i t i o n 8, t h a t e m e n d e d t h e Ca l i f o r n i a
Co n s t i h i t i o n t o a ( l o ~ v m a n ~ i a g e s o n l y t o o p p o s i t e - s e x c o u p l e s . H o w e v e r , Pr o p o s i t i o n 8 v a s l a t e r r u l e d
u o c o n s t i h i t i o ~ ~ a l . Se e I- l o l l n C s w o r t h v . Pe r r y , _ U PS. ^, 133 S. Ct . 2GS2, 186 L . E d . 2d 768 ( 2013).
4
Box f or Same-Sex M ar r i n ~ e, N.Y. T r t v t ~ s , Nov ember 7, 2012, at P14; Gav M ar r i ag e Ap r , ~ ov ed
_Was h. V ot er s , WASI~ lII~ IGT Oi V POST , Nov ember ~ , 2012, f lt Al2, t 1n d, i n addi t i on . t o New
J E r s ey , t wo ot her • s t at es c u r r en t ly g r an t s ame-s ex c ou ples c i v i l u n i on s t hat pr ov i de all or
s u bs t an t i ally ai l of t he ben ef i t s of man i n g e. See 750 Il. Cor n u . St at . 75/ 1 t o 7S/ 90 ( 20X 3 ) ; Colo.
Rev . St at . § 14-15-102 t o -1.1.9 ( 2013 ) . M an y of t he s t at es t hat n ow hav e s ame-s ex mar r i ag e
pr ev i an s ly pr ov i ded f oa• c i v i l u n i on s . " T hi s ]an ds c ape i n 2013 i s mar kedly di f f er en t f r an c t he ot i e
t hat exi s t ed j u s t s ev en y ear s ag o when Lewi s ~ was dec i ded.
M an y c as es i n v olv i n g t l~ e r i g ht t o s ame-s e: c mai ~ ~ i ag e hav e ~ • ai s ed t hor n y pr oc edu r al
i s s u es , pai ~ t i c u lai ly as t o s t an di n g an d~ j u s t i c i abi li t y . See H olli n ~ s woi ~ t h v . Per ~ v , ~ U.S. ~ , 13 3
S. Ct . 2652, 186 L. E d, 2d 768 ( 2013 ) ( holdi n g t hat pr opos i t i on bac ker s di d n ot hav e s t an di n g t o
def en d Cali f or n i a' s an t i-s ame-s ex u i ai xi ~ g e r ef er en di u n ) ; Wi n ds or • , s u pr a, _U PS;_, 13 3 5. Ct ,
2675, 186 L. E d. 2d 808 ( holdi n g t hat t he Bi par t i s an Leg al Adv oc ac y G~ • ou p had s t an di n g t o
def en d DOM A) . T hi s c as e i s n o exc ept i on —t he c oi u ~ mu s t be s u r e t hat t hi s c as e i s j u s t i c i able
an d pr oper ly bef or e t he c ou r t bef or e i t c an mi le on t he mer i t s of plai n t i f f s ' mot i on . In addi t i on t o
j u s t i c i Abi li t y c on c er n s , t he Wi n ds or Coi ~ i ~ t als o ac i dz • es s ed di f f i c u lt z s s u es o# ' f eder ali s m. ~ -Ier e t oo,
t lu eads of f eder ali s m ar e wov en t lu ou g hou t t hi s mot i on , wher e plai n t i f f s ar e as ki n g a s t at e c ou r t
t o f i n d t hat a s t at e s t at u t or y s t r u c t u r e as n ow i lleg al u n der t he s t at e c o~ ~ s t i hr t i on as a r es u lt of
ac t i on s t aken at t he f eder al Iev el.
T he c ou n t i s als o f ac ed wi t h Bon n e ~ • at her c ompli c ~ t f ed s t at e ac t i on c on c er n s . Plai n t i f f s
ar g u e t hat t hew i s c lear s t at e ac t i on , m~ i n t ai i u n g t hat t he St at e c r eat ed a label di s t i n c k f r om
mai ~ • i ag e, ac i d t hat t hi s label i s t he c ac i s e of s i g n i f i c an t depr i v at i on s t o plai n t i f f s . T he St at e, on
t he ot her han d, as s er t s t hat t he on ly ac t i on i t was r eq u i r ed t o t ake u n der Lewi s was t o en ac t a
s t at u t e ext en di n g t he f u ll pan oply of r i g ht s an d ben ef i t s of c i v i l mar r i ag e f o s ame-s ex par t n er s i n
5
DA005
an area—domestic rel ations—w h e~ • e t} ~ e state h as p ri: ta~ acy and discretion to decide w h at rig h ts to
make av ail ab l e and w h at l ab el to g iv e to th ose rig h ts. T l ~ e S tate arg u es th at th e C iv il Union Act
rnet th e mandate of Lew is and fu l fil l s tiie S tate' s ob l ig ations u nder th e eq u al p rotection
~ u ai~ antees of th e New J ersey and federal C onstitu tions. I n reg l y d to th e state Action arg u ments
in p articu l ar, many of th e issu es th at arise in th is case are not onl y comp l ex, b u t al so u niq u e. As
a resu l t, th ere is a deax• th of h el p fu l p recedent to g u ide th e cou rt in making its decision. I t is into
th is tang ted th icket th at th is cou rt mu st v enfu re to resol v e tl ~ e issu es raised b y p l aintiffs' motion.
PRO C ~ DURAL H. I S T OI ZX
T h is matter comes b efore th e cou t• t b y w ay of a motion i' or su mmary ju dg ment fil ed b y
p l aintiffs, Garden S tate E q u al ity and six same- sex cou p l es and th eir ch il dren, ag ainst th e
defendants, kh e Attorney General of New J ersey , th e C ommissioner of th e. New 3 ersey
Dep at- tment of Hu man S erv ices, and t3 ~ e C oirinu ssionez • of il ie New J ersey Dep ai~ nent of Heal th
and S enioa• S erv ices.2 ' ~ ` 1 ie defendants . Are resp onsib l e for imp l ementing , administering , and
enforcing th e st~ tu to~ • y sch eme th at, its th e p l aintiffs' v iew , u nconstitu tional l y denies p l aintiffs
th e rig h t to marriag e. T h e defendants w ere su ed in th eir official cap acities, and th erefore simp l y
stand as an al tex eg o of fh e S tate. As su ch , th e cou rt w il l refer• to tl ~ e defendants col l ectiv el y as
" tI ie S tate: '
X. Lev is v . I iarris
Pl aintiffs fil ed th is case to ob tain a decl aratory ju dg ment th at th e excl u sion of same- sex
cou p l es from cz v il marriag e v iol ates Articl e I , Parag t-t~ p h 1 of tt~ e New J ersey C onstitu tion and
z At I l se time th is l aw su it v as initiated, Pau l a Do~ v . v as th e ~ l ttoru ey General of New J ersey . How ev er, th e cou rt
Notes th at as of th is w riting , J oh n J . Hof&nan is th e Acting Attorney Gecteral for th e S tate oFNew J ersey . J eimifcr
Vel ez remains th e C omm issioner of th e New J ersey Dep artment of kl u man S erv ices, and Mary F. O' Doiv d is th e
C onu nissioner of il ~ e New J ersey Dep aiiu ient of Heal th and S enior S erv ices.
6
I ' l l •
t h e F o u r t e e n t h ~icn e n dme n t o f t h e U n it e d S t a t e s C o n s t it u t io n . 7 n 2006, t h e S u pr e me C o u r t o f
Ne w J e r s e y , in Le wis v . H ~i~is , s i~pz • a , 188 N_ _ . _ J , a t 463, k ~e l d t h a t :
To co mpl y wit h t h e e q u a l pr o t e ct io n g u a r a n t e e o f A r t icl e 1, P a r a ~• a ph 1 o f t h e
Ne w J e r s e y C o n s t it u t io n , t h e S t a t c mu s t pr o v ide t o s ~ ► m e - s e x co u pl e s , o n e q u a l
t e r ms , t l ~e fiil l r ig h t s a n d b e n e fit s e n jo y e d b y h e t e r o s e x u a l co u pl e s . Th e S t a t e ca n
fu l fil l t h a t co n s t it u t io n a l r e q u ir e me n t in o n e o f t wo wa y s . 7 t ca u e it h e r a me n d t h e
r n a ir ia g e s t a t u t e s t o in cl u de s a me- s e x co u pl e s o x • e n a ct a pa r a l l e l s t a h ~t o r y
s t r u ch l r e b y a n o t h e r n a me , in wh ich s a me- s e x co u pl e s wo u l d n o t o n l y e n jo y t h e
r ig h t s a n d b e n e fit s , b u t a l s o b e a r t h e b u r de n s a n d o b l ig a t io n s o f civ il ma r r ia g e , I f
t h e S t a t e pr o ce e ds t iv it h a pa r a l l e l s ch e me , it ca n n o t ma k e e ix t ~y in t o s a me- s e x civ il
u n io n a n y mo r e difficu l t t h a n it is fo r l a e t e io s e x u a l co u pl e s t o e n t e r t h e s t a t e o f
ma r r ia g e . I t n ia y , h o we v e r • , r e g u l a t e t h a t s ch e me s imil a ~~l y t o ma r r ia g e a n d, F o r
in s t a n ce , r e s t r ict civ il u n io n s b a s e d o n a g e . a n d co ~~s a n g u in it y a n ci pr o h ib it
po l y g a mo u s r e l a t io n s h ips .
Th e C o u r t ' s r u l in g ma de cl e a r t h a t s a me- s e x co u pl e s mu s t b e a ffo r de d t h e s a me r ig h t s a n d
b e n e fit s e x ijo y e d b y o ppo s it e- s e x co u pl e s in civ il ma r r ia g e u n de r Ne w J e r s e y t a w, R a # h e r t h a n
ma n da t e s a me- s e x ma r r ia g e , t h e C o u r t de fe r r e d t o t h e Le g is l a t u r e t o de cide wh e t h e r t o o pe n t h e
in s t it u t io n o f civ il ma ix ia g e t o s e in e - s e s co u pl e s o r t o de v is e a pa r a l l e l s t a t u t o r y s ch e me t h a t
wo u l d pr o v ide t h e s a me r ig h t s a n d b e n e fit s t o s e in e- s e x co u pl e s t h a t we r e a ffo r de d t o
h e t e r o s e x u a l ~co u pl e s in civ il ma i7 • ia g e , l b z d.
I n r e s po n s e t o t h e Le wis de cis io n , t h e Ne w J e r s e y Le g is l a t u r e e n a ct e d t h e C iv il U n io n
A ct ( " t h e A ct " ) . Th a t A ct cr e a t e d a pa r a l l e l s y s t e m o f civ il u n io n s fo r s a me- s e x co u pl e s . By
l a w, co u pics in civ il u n io n s a r e e n t it l e d t o a l l o f t h e z • ig h t s , b e n e fit s , a n d r e s po n s ib il it ie s o f
ma r r ia g e . S e e N. J . S . A . 37 : 1- 33. H o we v e r , t h e A ct de n ie d s a me- s e x co u pl e s t h e de s ig n a t io n o f
" in a t 7 ~ia g e " fo g • t h e ir r e l a t io n s h ips . N. J ' . S . A . 37 : 1- 24. A s a pa r t o f t h e A ct , t h e Le g is l a t u r e
cz • e a t e d t h e C z v il U n io n R e v ie w C o mmis s io n , wh ich wa s ch a r g e d t iv it h s t u dy in g t h e e ffe ct iv e n e s s
o f civ il t mio t ~s fo r • s e in e- s e x co u pl e s a n d t o e v a h t a t e t h e A ct ' s s u cce s s . S e e N. J . S . A . 37 : 1- 36.
7
DA 007
O ~ i Marcli 18, 2010, the Lewi s p lai n ti f f s f i led a moti on i n ai d of li ti g an t' s ri g hts wi th the
S u p recx i e Cou n t, asserti n g that the Ci v i l Un i on Act f ai led to f u lf i ll tl~ e Cou rt' s man d ate an d
req u esk i n g that the Cou rt comp el the Leg i slatu re to op en the i n sti tu ti on of ci v i l marri ag e to same-
sex cou p les. In that moti on , those p lai n ti f f s z eli ecl u p on the Ci v z l Un i on Rev i ew Commi ssi on ' s
f i n al rep ort, whi ch had f ou n d that sep arate categ ori z ati on i n ci v i l u n i on s of same-sex cou p les
u i v i tes an ti en cou rag Es u n eq u al treatmen t. S ee Lewi s v . H arri s. 202 N l7 . 340, 3~ 1 (2010)
(herei n af ter "Lewi s II"} , O n J ' n Iy 26, 2010, the Cot~ i t, i n a 3-3 d eci si on , d en i ed p l~ i n ti f ~ s' rn oti on
to en f orce li ti g an t' s ri g hts, wi thou t p rej u d i ce. T l~ e ef f ect of the d en i al ti v as to req u i re p lai n ti f f s to
f i le an acti on i n the S u p eri or Cou rt f or the d ev elop men t of a tri al-li k e record . Id . at S al ("T lae
n e: ct step shou ld be the d ev elop men t of a record on whi ch those i mp ortan t i ssu es can be resolv ed
q u i ck ly .") (Lon g , J ., d i ssen tn i g ).
II. Gard en S tate Eq u ali ty v ._Dow
O rz J u n e 29, 2011, p lai n ti f f s i n thi s case f i led af ou r-cou n t comp lai n t wi th thi s cou rt.
S ev eral of the cou p les were also p lai n ti f f s i n Lewi s, althou g i a the li ti g an ts i n tlae two cases are
n ot i d en ti cal. Iz ~ the comp lai n t, p lai n ti f f s alleg e that New J ersey "shu n ts lesbi an an d g ay cou p les
u i to the n Uv el an d i c~ ~ ex • i or statu s of ` ci v i l u n i on ' whi le reserv i n g ci v i l marri ag e on ly f ox •
H eterosex u al cou p les." Accox • d i n g to p lai n ti f f s, the d en i al of access to the leg al statu s of
"marri ag e" cau ses p lai n ti f f s con crete harms an d resu lts i n the p ersi sten t an d wi d esp read lack of
recog n i ti on o~ thei r ri g hts i i z ci v i c an d corn tn erci al d eali z i g s. IV lu ch of tlx e comp lai n t d etai ls the
way s i n whi ch the v ari ou s p lai n ti f f s hav e Ueen treated d i f f eren tly as p artn ers i n ci v i l on i on s thai x
they wou ld hav e been ti • cated i f they were man-i ed sp ou ses, an d the comp lai n t d escri bes the
v ari ou s soci al, ci v i c an ct p sy cholog i cal hat' ms they hav e ex p eri en ced as a resu lt, T hese are
f actu al alleg ati on s that wou ld li k ely i eg ai re a tz i al-ti k e i ec; ord to p rov e. In ad d i ti on , p arag rap h
s
r~ ~ ~ :
45 of t h e complaint s pe cific1 1 1 y alle g e s t h at , " [ x ] e le g at in~ s t x me - s e x couple s t o civ il unions
h ind e r s t h e ir ab ilit y t o s e e k mai7 • iag e - b as e d b e ne fit s t iv lie n S e ct ion 3 of t h e De fe ns e of Mar r iag e
Act ... is nn long e r ope r at iv e ." I t is t h is par ag r aph , e ffe ch ~ at e d b y t h e Unit e d S t at e s S upr e me
C our t ' s inv alid at ion of DONI A in Wind s or , t h at is s pe cifically at is s ue in t h is mot ion, wh ich
ad d r e s s e s wh e t h e r , as a mat t e r of law and not fact , t h e d e mis e of DOMA r e q uir e s t h e S t at e t o
allow s Ame - s e x couple s t o m~ r iy .
P laint iffs ' complaint as s e nt s four cons t it ut ional claims : count . one as s e r t s a d e nial of e q ual
pr ot e ct ion und e r Ar t icle I , par ag r aph 1 of t h e Ne w J e r s e y C ons t it ut ion; coiwt t wo as s e nt s a d e nial
o~ t h e fiind Ame nt al r ig h t t o mar r y und e r Ar t icle I , P ar ag r aph 1 of t h e Ne w J e r s e y C ons t it ut ion;
count t lue e as s e r t s a d e nial of e q ual pr ot e ct ion und e r t h e F our t e e nt h Ame nd me nt t o t h e Unit e d
S t at e s C ons t it ut ion, in v iolat ion of ~ 2 U.S .C .t 1 . § 1 983; and count fot u• as s e r F s a d e nial of
s ub s t ant iv e d ue pr oce s s und e r • t h e F our t e e nt h Ame nd me nt t o t h e Unit e d S t at e s C ons t it nt iou, in
v iolat ion of 42 U.S .C .A. § 1 983. Th e r e lie f s oug h t und e A• all count s t iv as t h e s ame . P 1 lint iffs
as ke d t h e cour t t o ~ • e q uir e t h at t h e d e fe nd ant s pe r mit s ame- s e x couple s t o max 7 y in Ne w J e r s e y .
On Aug us t 1 0, 201 1 , t h e S t at e file d a mot ion t o d is mis s t h e complaint .. Th e ~ I onor ab le
Lind a R. F e inb e r g , A.J .S .C . ( r e t .) , h e ar d or al. ar g ume nt ot ~ Nov e mb e r ~ 1 , 201 1 . 0~ ~ Nov e mb e r 29,
201 1 , J ud g e F e inb e r g e nt e r e d an or d e r d e ny ing t h e S t at e ' s mot ion t o d is mis s co« z it one and
g r ant ing t h e mot ion t o d is mis s count s t wo, t lu• e e and four . Ot t De ce mb e r 1 9, 201 1 , plaint iffs
file d a mot ion for • r e cons id e r at ion s e e king t o r e ins t at e count t lu• e e of t h e complaint , wh ich r y as
g r ant e d on Mar ch 7 , 201 2. Uv e z • t h e las t y e a ► • and a I ~ a3f, t h e pa~ • t ie s h av e b e e n in t h e mid s t of
fact ual clis c~ v e r y and h av e b e e n pr e par ing t o pr oce e d t o e x pe r t d is cov e r y . Tr ial was ant icipat e d
t o r e s olv e fact ual d is put e s conce r ning t h e t r e at me nt of plaint iffs und e r t h e C iv il U~ iian l e t .
9
1 ' 1 1 •
I I I . United S tites v. Winds or
Meanwhile, on Jnne 26, 2013, the United S tates S upreme Court invalidated S ec tion 3 of
the federal Defens e of Maixiage Ac t ("170MA") in Winds or, s upT&, _ U. S . _, 133 S . Ct. 2G75,
186 L. Ed. 2d 808. S ec tion 3 had limited the definition of "marriage" iii federal law to "a I egal
union between one anan and one woman as hus band and wife," and limited the word "s pous e" in
federal s tatutes to mean "a pers on of the oppos ite s ex who is a hus band o~ • a wife. " S ee 1
U. S . C. A. § 7; Wiz ids oz ' , s u ra, ~ U. S , at T, 133 S . Ct. at 2683, 186 ~ ,. Ed. 2d at 816. Tn
c hallenging DOMA, Edifih Winds or as s exted that s he had married her notiv dec eas ed s po~ ~ s e,
Thea S pyer, in Canada. That matxiage was rec ogniz ed by the laws of their lion~ e S tate of New
Y o~ tk , whic h als o now allows s ame-s ex marriage. S pyer died in l~ ebruary of 2009 and willed her
es tate to Winds or. Bec aus e DOMA dic l not permit federal z ec ognition of marriages o~ s ame-s ex
c ouples , Winds or was denied ~ n~ arital exemption to the federal es tate tax, and was req uired to
pay es tate taxes in exc es s of $300,000. Winds or brought s uit for a refund and c haliengea the
c ons titutionality of DOMA. Winds or, s u ra, _ U. S . at _, 133 S . Ct. at 2683--84 , X86 L. Ed. 2d
at 81G-17. 1' he S upreme Count found that s ec tion 3 of DOMA violated the due proc es s and
eq ual protec tion guarantees of the F ifth Amendment to the Uni#ed S tates Cons tihiiioi~ , The
Court c onc luded that, "[ t] he federal s tatute is invalid, for no legitiz n~ te purpos e overc omes the
purpos e and ef~ ' ec t to dis parage end to inj ure thos e whom the S tate, by its marriage laws , s ought
to protec t in pers o~ ~ hood az ~ c l digs iity. " I d,, ~ U. S . ai . __, 133 S . Ct. at 2696, 1 &6 L. Ed. 2d at
830. As a res ult, federal agenc ies were rec ~ ui~ • ed to treat married s ame-s ex c ouples in tl~ e s ame
manner as they treat mai7ied oppos ite-s ex c ouples in tl~ e adminis tration of federal ~ rogrlms .
] 0
DA010
0
ZV. Motion for Sutumaiy Judgmeixt
P l aintiffs b aougl it th is motion for s ummary judgment on Jul y 3, 2Q13, arguing il ~ at th e
Winds or dec is ion c h anged th e l egal I ands ea~ e tiv itl i res p ec t to th is c as e and req uires New Jers ey
to afford s ame- s ex c oup l es th e righ t to z nax• ~ y, F irs t, p l aintiffs argue fl xat Winds or renuires th e
federal gov ernment fo p rov ide eq ual marital b enefits to s ame- s ex ac id h eteros exual c oup l es
wh os e tnar~ • iages are rec ogniz ed under s tate l aw. Bec aus e New Jers ey does not al l ow s ame- s ax
c oup l es to marry, p l aintiffs argue, c ommitted s ame- s ex c oup l es are not b eing " afforded on eq ual
teirns th e s ame rz gl rts and b enefits enjoyed b y married op p os ite- s ex c oup l es " as req uired b y
LCtiViS V. Hfl TTiS, s up ra, 188 N ^J. at 457. As s uc h , p l l intiffs argue th at th ey are entitl ed to
s ummary judgment as to c ount one of th e c omp l aint. Th ey as k th is c ourt to c omp el th e State to
al l ow s ame- s ex c oup l es to entez into c iv il marriages in New Jers ey.
I n addition, p l aintiffs argue th at th e federal c ons titutional anal ys is emp l oyed b y th e
Winds or Coui• t dic tates th at s umanary judgment b e granted in fav or of p l aintiffs on c ount tl uee of
th e c omp l aint, wh ic h al l eges a F ourteenth Amendment eq ual p rotec tion v iol ation.. P l aintiffs
argue th at New Jers ey' s Civ il Union Ac t, l ike DOMA, rel egates p l aintiffs to s ec ond- tier
rel ations h ip s , with dis ac l v ~ ntages and a s tigma th at attac h es to th is inferior s tatus , res ul ting in a
v iol ation of th e eq ual p rotec tion c l aus e of tl ~ e P ourteentl ~ t~ l mendment. P l aintiffs al s o argue th at
b ec aus e of th eir inab il ity to ac c es s federal b enefits after th e W3~ ids or dec is ion, th e State' s
dec is ion to c x-eate p aral l el m~ ix~ iage at~ d c iv il union s truc tures no l oner h as a z • ational b as is .
Th e St1te argues th at th e p l aintiffs ' motion is not rip e for adjudic atio~ i b ec aus e th e extent
to wh ic h c iv il union p artners in New Je~ ~ s ey wil l h av e ac c es s to federal b enefits is c ui~ ~ entl y
unknown. Tl ~ e State' s s ub s tantiv e argument is th at c iv il union p artners in New Jers ey are
al ready entitl ed to federal b enefits as a res ul t of th e Wi~ ids or dec is ion. Th us , th e State as s ents
11
DA011
t h a t i t l i a s t a k e n n o a c t i on t o v i ol a t e I . c w i s ' s ma n da t e a n d t h e Ne w j e r s e y C on s t i t u t i on . I n s t e a d,
t h e S t a t e ' s a r gu me n t goe s , t h e r e a s on t h e p l a i n t i f f s a r e i n j u r e d i s b e c a i ~ s c of c e r t a i n f e de r a l
a ge n c i e s ' i n c oi ~ • e c t a p p l i c a t i on s of Wi n ds or t h a t e x c l u de c i v i l u n i oa ~ p a r t n e r s f i b m b e n e f i t s n ow
e n j oy e d Uy s a me- s e x ma r r i e d c ou p l e s . Th e S t a t e a l s o a r gu e s t h a t t h e r e h 1s b e e n n o " s t l t e
a c t i on "- - - a k e y e l e me n t i n e s f i a b l i s h i n g a n e q u a l p z ot e c t i on v i ol a t i on — a n t i t h a t e v e n i f t h e r e h a s
b e e n s t a t e a c t i on , ~ I e w J e r s e y i z a s a r a t i on a l b a s i s f or t h e di s t i n c t i on b e t w e e n c i v i l u n i on s a n d
ma r r i a ge s f or s a me- s e x c ou p l e s , F i n a l l y , t h e S t a t e a r gu e s t h a t t h e c ou r t s h ou l d e x e r c i s e c a u t i on
b e f or e gr a n t i n g s u mma r y j u d~ n e n t , a s t h i s c a s e l e a s f a r - r e a c h i n g c on s e q u e n c e s , i n v ol v e s
s i g r ► i f i c a n f p ol i c y c on s i de r a t i on s , e n d, a t t h e v e r y l e a s t , r e q u i r e s mor e f a c t a a l di s c ov e r y u n de r
Le w i s I Y .
Th e c ou r t h e a r d or a l a z gu me n t on t h e mot i on f or s u mma r y j u dgme n t on Au gu s t 15 , 2013.
On Au gu s t 28, 2013, r e s p oz x di n g t o t h e c ou r t ' s i n v i t a t i on a t oz a l a r gu me n t , p l a i n t i f f s s u U~ n i t t e d a
s t ~ p p l e me n t a t b r i e f i n s u p p or t of t h e i r mot i on f oz • s Lu n ma r y j u dgme n t . Th e y a r gu e f i r s t t h a t mor e
a n d mor e f e de r a l a ge n c i e s a r e i mp l e me n t i n g Wi n ds or b y gr a n t i n g b e n e f i t s a n d r e s ~ ~ n s i b i l i t i e s t o
l e ga l l y ma r r i e d s a me- s e x c ou p l e s , w h i l e l i mi t i n g t h e e x t e n s i on of b e n e f i t s t o on l y t h os e c ou p l e s
a n d e x c l u di ~ x g c i v i l u n i on c ou ~ ~ l e s . 1n r e s p on s e t o a r gu me n t s c on c e r n i n g GAr de n S t a t e E q u a l i t y ' s
l a c k of s t a n di n g du e t o t h e a b s e n c e of a c on c r e t e i n j u r y , p l a i n t i f f s a l s o p r ov i de d c e a • t i f i c a t i on s
f r om f ou r Ga r de n S t a t e e q u a l i t y me mb e r s . Tw o o~ t h e c e r t i f i c a t i on s w e r e s i gn e d b y f e c l e r f l l
e mp l oy e e s w i t h c i v i l t ► n i o n p a r t n e r s t i v h o c l a i m t o b e l i ~ r me d b y t h e de c i s i on of t h e Of f i c e of
~ ' e r s on n e i Ma n a ge me n t t o e x c l u de c i v i l u n i on p a r t n e r s f r om e a n p l oy e e b e n e f i t s , a n c t t h e oc h e r
t w o w e r e s i gn e d b ~ c i v i c u n i on p a r t n e r s i n s a me- s e x z ~ e l ~ t i on s l ~ i p s w i t h n on- c i t i z e n s , w h o c l a i m
t o b e h a r me d b y t h e r e c e n t de c i s i on of t h e Un i t e d S t a t e s De p a r t me n t of S t a t e n ot t o a l l ot i v t h e m t o
s p on s or t h e m• c i v i l t mi on p a r t n e r s f or i mmi gr a t i on p u r p os e s . P l a i n t i f f s f i i r t h e r a r gu e t h a t i t i s
DA012
a p p r o p r i a t e f o a ~ t h i s c o u r t i o d e c i d e t h e i s s u e s b e f o r e i t , a c i d t h a t t l ~ e c o u r t wo u l d n o t b e a c t i n g
p r e m a t u r e l y i n e n t e r t a i n i n g p l a i n t i f f s ' c l a i m s .
Th e S t a t e a l s o s u b m i t t e d a s u p p l e m e n t a l l ~ ~ • i e f o n Au g u s t 28, 2013, r e i t e r a t i n g i t s
o p p o s i t i o n t o t h e m o t i o n f o r s u m m a r y ju d g m e n t . I t f i r s t a r g u e s i n f a v o r o f d e f e r r i n g a c t i o n t o ~
l a t e • d a t e , a s t h e r e a x e s e v e r l l b i l l s t h a t h a v e b e e n p r o p o s e d i n Co n g r e s s t o e x t e n d f e d e r a l
b e n e f i t s t o c o u p l e s i n c i v i l u n i o n s . Th e S t a t e ' s s u p p l e m e n t a l b r i e f a l s o a r g u e s t h a t p r i n c i p l e s o f
f e d e r a l i s m a n d s e p a r a t i o n o f p o we r s p r e c l u d e t h i s c o u r t f r o m g ~ • a n t i n g t h e r e m e d y r e q u e s t e d b y
t h e p l a i n t i f f s . An d t h e S t a t e a r g u e s t h a t m a t e r i a l f a c t s c o n c e r n i i x g h o w f e d e r a l a g e n c i e s wi l l
d e t e r m i n e t h e a p p l i c a t i o n o f v e n e f i t s a f t e r Wi n d s o r r e m a i l i u n kn o wn , a n d t h a t t h e r e f o r e r i p e n e s s
a n d s t a n c l i i ~ g c o n c e ~ • n s s h o u l d p r e v e n t t h e c o u r t f i o m r ~ ~ l i n g a t t h i s t i m e . Bo t h s i d e s h a v e f i l e d
a d d i t i o n a l l e t t e r s wi t h t h e c o u r t r e g a r d i n g n e w p o s t-Wi n d s o r p r o n o u n c e m e n t s f r o m f e d e r a l .
a g e n c i e s a n d t h e r e c e n t i n r i o d u c t i o n o f b i l l s i n Co n f e s s r e q u i r i n g f e d e r a l a g e n c i e s t o t r e a t c i v i l
u n i o n c o u p l e s i n t h e s a m e m a n n e r a s s a m e-s e x m o n i e d c o u p l e s .
V. P a x ' t i c i p a t i o u 1u y Am i c u s
,
On 7 u l y l 1, 2013, a g r o u p o f c i v i l r i g h t s o ~ • ~ a n i z a t i o n s f i l e d a m o t i o n f o r l e a v e t o a p p e a r
a s Am i c u s Cu r i a e , i n c l u d i n g wi t h t h e i r m o t i o n a p r o p o s e d b r i e f s i ~ p p o r t i i i g p l ~ ► i n t i f f s ' m o t i o n f o r
s u m m a r y ju d g m e n t . t h o s e o x g a n i z a t i ~ n s i n c l u d e t h e Am e r i c a n Ci v i l L i b e r t i e s Un i o n o f Ne w
J e r s e y , t h e Am e r i c a n-Ar a b An t i -b i s c c i m i n a t i o n Co m m i t t e e , t h e As i a n . Am e r i c a n L e g a l De f e n s e
e n d Ed u c a t i o n Fu n d , t 1~ e Ga r d e n S t a t e Ba r f ~ s s o c i a t i o n , t h e H z s p a n i c Ba r As s o c i a t i o n o f Ne w
J e r s e y , L e g a l Mo m e a ~ t u m , a n d t h e Na t i o n a l Or g a n i z a t i o n f o g • Wo i ~ i e n o f Ne w J e r s e y ( c o l l e c t i v e l y
"a m i d "). On J u l y 19 , 2013, t h e S t a t e i n f o r m e d t h e c o u r t t h a t i t wo u l d n o t b e o p p o s i n g t h e f i l i n g
o f t l ~ e a m i c u s m o t i o n , a n d t h e S t a t e f i l e d a r e p l y t o t h e a m i c u s b r i e f o n Au g u s t 9 , 2013.
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In t h e i r b r i e f , Ami ci ar gue t h at Ne w J e r s e y co unt s h ave , i n t h e p as t , r e co gni z e d t h e i r
aut h o r i t y and r e s p o ns i b i l i t y t o co r x • e ct l e gi s l at i ve act i o n t h at f ai l s t o co mp l y wi t h 1 p r e vi o us l y
ar t i cul at e d cans t i h r t i o nal r ~ l and at e . S e " e ~ e • ~ • , Ro b i ns o n v. C ah i l l , 69 N. J . 133 (1975); Ab b o t t v.
Bur ke , 149 N UJ . 145 (1997); Oakwo o d v. T t i vp . o f Mad i s o n, 72 N_ J . 481 {1977). Ami ci f i ~ i ~ t l i e r
p o i nt t o s e ve r al cas e s i n wl vch co ur t s h ave mo ni t o r e d t h e s ucce s s o f l e gi s l at i ve act i o ns t o
p r o vi d e f i i nct i o nal e q ual i t y t h r o ugh t h e us e o f p ar al l e l s y s t e ms , and d i s car d e d t h o s e s t r uct ur e s i n
f avo r o f a uni t ar y s y s t e m wh e n i t was d e i no ns t r at e ct t h at t h o s e p ar al l e l s t r uct ur e s d i d no t co mp ar e
t o t h e d o mi nant s y s t e m. Fo r e x amp l e , Ai ni ci p o i nt t o t h e V i r gi ni a Mi l i t ar y Ins t i i ut e (V MY} cas e , .
i n wh i ch t h e Fo ur t h C i r cui t h ad i ni t i al l y f o und t h at s i ngl e-ge nd e r e d ucat i o n at V MI co ul d b e
j us t i f i e d b y i t s i ns t i t ut i o nal mi s s i o n, at ~ d al l o we d V MI t o cr e at e F~ s e p ar at e s ch o o l f o r wo me n.
. Uni t e d S t at e s v. V ~ ;~ i ni a, 44 F. 3d 1229 (4t l i C i r . 1995), r e v' d S l 8 U. S . 515 {1996). T h e F~ ni t e d
S t at e s S up r e me C o unt s ub s e q ue nt l y f o und t h at s ch e me unco ns t i t ut i o nal , b e caus e . t h e wo me n' s
s ch o o l was no t t h e e q ual o f V MI. Uni t e d S t at e s v. V i r gi ni a, 518 U. S . 515, 116 S . C t . 2264, 135
L. Ed . 2d 735 (1996}. Ami ci al s o ar gue t h at t h e Le gi s l at ur e l e as no t ad e q uat e l y e x p l ai ne d wh y i t
ch o s e t o cr e at e a s e p ar at e s t af i t o i y s t c-~ ~ ct ur e f o r s ame-s e x co up l e s , and t h at me r e r e l i ance o n t h e
e x i s t e nce o f a h i s t o r y o f e x cl us i o n o f an af f e ct e d mi no r i t y gr o up cai mo t p t o vd e a val i d r e as o n
f o r co nt i nui ng t h at e x cl i ~ s i nn.
V I. ' ~ ' 1ae I+ e d e r al Re s p o ns e t o Wi nd s o r
DOMA h ad r e s t r i ct e d t h e f e d e r al go ve x nme z ~ t f r o m r e co gni z i ng l e gal s ame,s e x mar r i age s
aut h o r i z e d b y
s t at e l aw, s o i t s i nval i d at i o n b y t h e YJ l ut e ci S t at e s S up r e me C o unt h as caus e d
f e d e r al age nci e s t o x • e -e val ~ i at e t l ~ e e x t e nt t o wh i ch s ame-s e x co up l e s ar e e l i gi b l e f o r f e d e r al
b e ne f i t s . T h e ke y ch o i ce p ~ • e s e nt e d t o t h e s e age nci e s h as b e e n wh e t h e r t o e x t e nd b e ne f i t s t o al l
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l e g a l sa me- se x unions x • e c og niz e d by t h e st a t e s, or onl y t o e x t e nd be ne f it s t o sa me- se x c ot ip l e s
t h a t a re l e g a l l y ma rrie d .
Sinc e Wind sor, t h e c h a r t re nd h a s be e n f or a g e nc ie s t o l imit t h e e x t e nsion of be ne f it s t o
D il l y t h ose sa me- se x c oup l e s in l e g a l l y re c og niz e d ma rria g e s. For e x a mp l e , t h e O f f ic e of
Pe rsonne l Ma na g e me nt h a s not e d t h a t it d oe s not int e nd t o e : ~ t e nd c ove z a g e f or h e a l t h be ne f it s t o
c ivil union p a rt ne rs of c ivil ia n f e d e ra l e mp l oye s. Se e Fe d e z a l Emp l oye e He a l t h B e ne f it
Prog ra z n~ C a t x ie r L e t t e r° No. 2013- 20, f rom Joh n O ' T 3rie n, D ire c t or of He a l t h c a re a nd I nsura nc e ,
O PM t o Al l G a iz ie rs ( Jul y 3, 2013), a va il a bl e a t h t t p : / / w w w . a p ~ n. g ov/ h e a l t h c a i~ e -
insux a nc e / l ie a l t ~ ic a re / c a rrie rs/ 2013/ 2013- 20. p d f . I n a d d it ion, t h e St a t e D e p a rt me nt r~ ~ i11 onl y
re c og niz e a c t ua l ma rria g e s w h e n d e t e rmining sp ousa l e l ig ibil it y f or immig ra t ion p ~ up ose s. Se e
U. S. D e p t of St a t e , "U. S. Visa s f or Sa me- Se x Sp ouse s: rAQs f or Post - D e f e a ~ se of Ma rria g e
Ac t , " h t t p : l / h a vc l . st a t e . g ov/ vssa / f ivi/ f rvi_ 6 036 . h t z nl ( "At t h is t ime , onl y a ~ • e l a t ionsh ip l e g a l l y
c onsid e re d t o be a ma iY • ia g e in t h e j urisd ic t ion inh e re it t ook p l a c e e st a bl ish e s e l ig ibil it y a s a
sp ouse f or immig ra t ion p urp ose s. "). . And t h e Fe c l e ia l I , I e c t ion C c ~ imnission ( "FEC ° ' ) h a s d e c id e d
t h a t , f or t h e p urp ose s of c a mp a ig n f ina nc e l a w , "sa me- se x c oup l e s ma rrie d und e r St a t e l a w a re
` sp ouse s' f or t h e p urp ose of j FEC ] re g ul a t ions. " FEG Ad visory O p inion 2013- 06 , a t 3 ( Jul y 25,
2013).
rol l nw ing t h e brie f ing in t h is ma t t e r but p rior t o ora l a rg ume nt , l t ivo more f e d e ra l
a g e nc ie s, t h e D e p a rt me nt of D e f e nse ; a nd t h e Wa g e a nd Hour D ivision of t h e D e p a rt me nt of
L a b o ► • , st a t e d t h a t t h e y w oul d e x t e nd be ne f it s onl y t o l e g a l l y ma rrie d sa me- se x e oup ~ e s. Se e
Pre ss Re l e a se , A~ it e ric a n Forc e s Pre ss Se rvic e , l l O D Announc e s Sa me- Se x Sp ouse B e ne f it s,
( Aug . 14, 2013), a va il a bl e a t l it t p : / / w ~ vw . d e f e nse . g ovl ne w s/ ne w sa rt ic l e . a sp x ? id - 1206 21 ( "[ I ii
c onsul t a t ion w it h t h e D e p a rt me nt of Just ic e a nd ot h e r e x e c ut ive bra nc h a g e nc ie s, . t h e D e f e nse
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Department w i l l make s po u s al and f ami l y b enef i ts av ai l ab l e . . . reg ardl es s o f s ex u al o ri entati o n,
as l o tag as s erv i c e memb er•- s po ns o rs pro v i de a v al i d marri ag e c erti f i c ate. " } ; Wag e and Ho u r
Di v i s i o n, U. S. Department o f Lab o r, " Fac t Sheet #28r: Q u al i f y i ng Reas o ns f o r Leav e u nder the
Fami l y and Medi c al Leav e Ac P' (2013) (def i ni ng s po u s e f o r the pu rpo s es o f the FMLA as " a
hu s b and o r w i f e as def i ned o r rec o g ni z ed u nder s tate l aw f o r pu rpo s es o f marri ag e i n the s tate
rv here the empl o y ee res i des , i nc l u di ng `c o mmo n l arv ' marri ag e and w ane- s ex z nai 7 i ag e. " ).
Af ter o ral arg u ment, s ev eral mo re ag enc i es f o l l o w ed s u i t. The O f f i c e o f Go v ernment
ethi c s (O GrE) i s s u ed a Leg al Adv i s o ry o n Au g u s t X 9 , 2013, pu tti ng f ederal empl o y ees o n no ti c e
that the ethi c s s tatu tes that appl y to f ederal empl o y ees w i l l no w appl y to s ame- s ex s po u s es and
s ame- s ex nl ac ri ag es . See " Uni ted States O f f i c e o f Go v ex-nment Ethi c s Memo randu m LA- 13- 10:
Ef f ec t o f the Su preme C o u rt's Dec i s i o n i n Unr~ed States ~~. Y Y i nds o r o n the Ex ec u ti v e Branc h
Ethi c s P~~o g ram" (Au g . 19 , 2013), av ai l ab l e at http:/ / w ~v w . o g e. g o v / O GE- Adv i s o ri es / Leg al -
Adv i s o ri es l LA- 13- 10- - Et`f ec t- o f - the- Su preme- C o u rt- s - Dec i s i o n- i n- Uni ked- States - v - - Wi nds o r-
o n- the- Ex ec u ti v e- Branc h- Ethi c s - 1'ro g ran~/ . 'I 'l i at di rec ti v e s pec i ~'i c al l y no ted that, " [the tei ti i ~s
`nnai x i ag e, ' `s po u s e, ' and `rel ati v e' ~s u s ed i i i the f ederal ethi c s pro v i s i o ns w i l l c o nti nu e to b e
i nterpreted no t to i nc l u de a f ederal empl o y ee i n a c i v i l u ni o n, do mes ti c partners hi p, o r o ther
l eg al l y rec o g ni z ed rel ati o ns hi p o ther than ~ mar~•i ag e, " and that the O GE had s pec i f i c al l y
c o ns u l ted w i th the Uni ted States Department o f J u s ti c e i i i w x i ti ng the Leg al Adv i s o ry . I d. 1t 2.
O n Au g u s t 29 , 2013, the I nternal Rev enu e Serv i c e (I RS) i s s u ed a ru l i ng c o nf i rmi ng that
s ame- s ee ni ai Y i ed c o u pl es w i l t b e treated the s ame as o ppo s i te- s ex mai 7 •i ed c o u pl es f o r f ederal
tax pu rpo s es , b u t that c i v i l u ni o ~a c o u pl es w i l l . b e treated di f f erentl y :
There are mo re Phan tw o hu ndred C o de pro v i s i o ns and Treas u ry reg u l ati o al s
rel ati ng to the i nter~i al z ev enu e l aw s that i nc l u de the terms " s po u s e, " " marri ag e"
(and de~~i v ati v es thereo f , s u c h as " i nar~•i es " and " mar~•i ed" ), " hu s b and and w i f e, "
" hu s b and, " and " w i f e. " . , . Po i • Federal taa pu i ~~as es , tti e term " mai 7 •i ag e" do es
1G
DA016
not i nc l u d e r e g i s te r e d d oa ne s ti c p a r tne r s h i p s , c i v i l u ni oi a s , or oth e r s i ~ n i l a ► f p i 7 na l
r e l a ti ons h i p s r e c og ni z e d u nd e r s ta te l a w th a t a r e not d e nomi na te d a s a ma r r i a g e
u nd e r th a t s ta te ' s l a w.
[Re v . Ru l . 2013-17 , a t 4, 12] .
On th e s a me c l a y , th e C e nte r s f or Me d i c a r e &Me d i c a i d S e r v i c e s (C MS } r e a c h e d th e s a me
c onc l u s i on. C MS i s s u E d a me mor a nd u m d i r e c ti ng Me d i c a ~ • e Ad v a nta g e or g a ni z a ti ons to c ov e r
s e r v i c e s i n s k i l l e d mu s i ng f a c i l i ti e s f or " v a l i d l y ma ~ • ~ • i e d " s a me-s e x s p ou s e s , to th e s a me e x te nt
tl ~ Z t s e i ti i c e s wou l d be r e q u i r e d f or op p os i te-s e x s p ou s e s . Me mor a nd u m f r om D a ni e l l e R. Moon,
D i r e c tor of C MS , " i mp a c t of U ni te d S ta te s v . Wi nd s or • on S k i l l e d Noi s i ng r a c i l i ty B e ne f i ts f or
Me d i c a r e Ad v a nta g e E nr ol l e e s , " Au g u s t 29, 2013, a v a i l a bl e a t h ttp : / / www.c na s .g ov / Me d i c a x e / H e
a l t l ~ ' l a n s l H e a l t h P l a n s G e n I r ► f o / D o w n l o a d s / S N F B e ne f i ts Pos t Wi nd s or .p d f . C MS d e te i l ni ne d
th a t th e te r n " s p ou s e " onl y " i ttc l u d e s i nd i v i d u a l s of tl ~ e s a me s e x wh o a r e l a wf u l l y ma i i ~ d
u nd e r th e l a w of a s ta te , te i -e i tor y , or f or e i g n j i ~ r i s d i c ti on.i3
Anc t on S e p te mbe r 18, 2013, th e D e p ~ z ~ tni e nt of La bor i s s u e d ne w g u i d e l i ne s c onc e r ni ng
tl ~ e a g e nc y ' s d e f i ni ti ons of " s p ou s e " a nd " ma r z i a g e " f or th e p u r p os e s of th e E a r ne d Re ti z e me nt
Inc ome S e c u r i ty Ac t of 197 4 (" E RIS A" ), ~ ' u b. L. 93-406, 88 S ta t. 829 (197 4). S e e U .S .
D e p a r tme nt of La bor , " Gu i d a nc e to E mp l oy e e B e ne f i t Pl a ns a n th e D e f i ni ti on of ` S p ou s e ' a nd
` Ma r r i a g e ' u nd e r B RIS A a nd th e S u p r e me C ou r t' s D e c i s i on i n U ni te d S ta te s v . Wi nd s or , "
h ttp : / / www.d ol .g ov / e bs a / ne ws r oom/ tr 13-04.h tm1 (S e p te mbe r 18, 2013}. Th e g u i d tu i c e
s p c c i ~ c a l l y s ta te s th a t th e te r ns " d o not i nc l u d e i nd i v i d u a l s i n a f or ma l r e l a ti ons h i p r e c og ni z e d
by a s ta te th a t i s ~ ~ ot c i e i i omi na te d a ma r r i a g e u nd e r s ta te l a w, s u c h a s a d ome s ti c p a r tne r s h i p or
3 Th e IRS a nd C MS ni l i ng s l e a v e op e n th e p os s i bi l i ty th a t a Ne +v J e r s e y e onp l e c ou l d ma ny i n a s ta te th a t a l l oti ~ s
s a me-s e x ma r r i a g e s , a c i d th e n r e tu r n to Ne ~ v J e r s e y a nd be e l i g i bl e f or f e d e r a l be ne f i ts . Th i s i s k ~ i oti v n a s th e " p l a c e
of c e l e br a ti on" r u l e . Re v . Ru l . 2013-17 , a t 9; C MS Me mor a nd u m, a t 2. H owe v e r , oth e r f e d e r a l a g e nc i e s h a v e not
a d op te d th i s r u l e , a nd i ns te a d ba s e be ne f i ts d e c i s i ons on th e l a ws of th e c ou p l e ' s c u r r e nt d omi c i l e . S e e , e .~ ., 38
U .S .C . § 103(c ) (v e te r a ns ' be ne f i ts ); 17 U .S .C . § l 01 (c op y r i g h ts ); 29 C .P.R. § 825.122 (FMLA).
17
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c i v i l u n i o n . " I d . Thi s g u i d a n c e l e a s a b r o a d sc o p e , b e c z t ~ se mo st p r i v a t e se c t o r e mp l o ye e
b e n e f i t s p l a n s a r e g o v e r n e d b y ERI SA. Se e U. S. De p a r t me n t o f La b o r , " He a l t h B e n e f i t s,
Re t i r e me n t St a n c i a i d s, a n d Wo r ke r s' Co mp e n sa t i o n : Emp l o ye e B e n e f i t P l a n s, "
l i t t p :/ / w t i v t i v . d o l . g o v / c o mp l i a n c e / g u i d e / e r i sa . ht m ( l a st v i si t e d Se p t e mb e r 20, 201 3 ) .
To b e su r e , t ho u g h t he t r e n d se e ms t o b e i n f a v o r o f e x t e n d i n g b e n e f i t s o n l y t o l e g a l l y
ma ~ r Ae d sa me- se x c o u p l e s, ma n y a g e n c i e s ha v e n o t ye t a n n o u n c e d d e f i n i t i v e p l a n s f o g ho w t o
i t n p l e me n t t he Wi n d so r d e c i si o n . An d t he De p a r t me n t o f De f e n se ( Do D) , d e sp i t e i t s e a i l i e r
c o n f i r ma t i o n i n 1 p r e ss r e l e a se t ha t b e n e f t s w o u l d b e a v a i l a b l e t o v a l i d l y ma t Ti e c l sa me ~ se x
c o u p l e s, ha s si n c e su g g e st e d t ha t i n t he f i ~ t u e e , b e ~ i e f i t s ma y b e e x t e n d e d t ~ sa me- se x c i v i l u n i o n
c o u p l e s ~ s w e l l . Se e P r o p o se d Co l l e c t i o n ; Co mme n t Re q u e st , 7R Fe d . Re y. 54, 63 3 ( Se p t . S,
241 3 ) ( Do D su g g e st i n g t ha t z t n e e d s t o c o l l e c t i n f o i ~ n a t i o n o n sa me- se x d o me st i c p a r t n e r shi p s
b e c a u se " [ b ] e n e f i t s sha l l b e e x t e n d e d t o sa me- se x d o me st i c p a r t n e r s . . . o n c e t he Do D c i v i l i a n
a n d hi s/ he r • sa me- se x d o me st i c p a i ~ t n e r ha v e si g n e d a d e c l a r a t i o n a t t e st i n g t o t he e x i st e n c e o f t he i r
c o mmi t t e d r e l a t i o n shi p " ) ; se e a l so Ve t Ce n t e r Se r v i c e s, 78 Fe d . Re y. 57, 067 ( Se p t . 1 7, 201 3 ) ( t o
b e c o d i f i e d a t 3 8 C. F. R. p t . 1 7) ( d e f i z u t i o n o f " f a mi l y me mb e r " f o g • p u r p o se s o f c o u n se l i n g
se r v i c e s a t Ve t Ce n t e r s " w o Y i l d e n c o mp a ss d o me st i c p a r t n e r s, sp o u se s, c hi l d r e n , a n d p a r e n t s" ) .
Fi n a l l y, se v e r a l p i e c e s o f l e g i sl a t i o n l a v e b e e n p r o p o se d i n t he Un i t e d St a t e s Ho u se o f
Re p ~ • e se n t a t i v e s a i me d a t r e q u i r i n g f e d e r a l a g e n c i e s t o e x t e n d b e n e f i t s t o sa me- se x c i v i l t mi o n
c o u p l e s a s w e l l a s t o sa me- se x ma r r i e d c o u p l e s. Fe d e r a l B e n e f i t s F l g i a l i t x Ac t , H. R. 283 4, 1 1 3 t h
Co n g . , 15` Se ss. ( 201 3 ) ; I I . R, 3 050, ] 1 3 t h Co »g . ( l s ' Se ss. 201 3 ) ; Ac t t o P r o v i d e Ce r t a i n B e n e f i t s
t o Do me st i c P a r t n e r s o f Fe d e r a l Emp l o ye e s, I - i . R. 3 ~ 3 5, 1 1 3 t h Co n g . ( 201 3 ) ; P r e ss Re l e a se ,
Se n a t o r Ta mn r y B a l d w i n , U. S. Se n a t o r s T~ n u n y I 3 a l d w i n a n d Su sa n Co l l i n s J n t r o d u e e B i p a r t i sa n
Le g i sl a t i o n t o P r o v i d e ~ a i me ss t o Do me st i c Y a z ~ t n e r s ( Se p t . l 9 , 201 3 ) , a v a i l a b l e a t
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i n t r o d u c e - b i p a r t i s a n,l e g i s l a t i o n ~ t o,p r o v i d e - f a i i 7 l e s s - t o - d o m e s t i c - p a z t n e i • s ,~
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I f ~ c o u r t f i n d s t h a t "o n a p a r t y m u s t p r e v a i l ~ s a m a t t e r o f l a w ," t h e c o u r t "s h o u l d n o t
h e s i t a t e t o g ~ • a n t s u i r u n a i y ju d ~ n e n t . " B z i l l v . Gu a r d i a n L i f e I n s . Co , o f Am . , 142 N. J 520, 540
0995). Un l i ke m o s t m o t i o n s f o r s u m m a r y ju d g m e n t , t h i s m o t i o n i s a ki n t o a f a c i a l c h a l l e n g e o f
Ne ~ v J e r s e y ' s r e f u s a l t o e x t e a i d n n a r r i a g e t o s a m e- s e x c o u p l e s e n d d o e s n o t r e q u i r e a
d e t e ~ ' m i n a t i o n o f w h e t h e r t h e z • e i s a g e m i i n e i s s u e o f m a t e r i e l f a c t t h a t r e n u i r e s s u b m i s s i o n t o t h e
t ~ • i e r o f f a c t . P l a i n t i f f s c o n t e n d t h a t Ne w J e r s e y ' s e x c l u s i o n o f s a m e- s e x c o u p l e s f i o ~ n c i v i l
m a r r i a g e d e ~ x i v e s s a m e- s e x c o u p l e s i n Ne w J e r s e y o f f e d e r a l r i ~ l i t s a c c o r d e d t o s a m e- s e x
t n a z 7 i e d c o u p l e s , a n d t h u s v i o l a t e s t h e Co n s t i t u t i o n s o f Ne w J e i s e y a n d t h e Un i t e d S t a t e s . As
s u c h , p l a i n t i f f s a s k Th i s c o u r t t o r u l e o n a l e g a l i s s u e t h a t t h e y c l a i m c a t s Ue d e c i d e d t i v t h o u t ~
h e a r i n g t o r e s o l v e d i s p u t e d f a c t s . Mo r e o v e r , t h e S t a t e h a s r a i s e d L e g a l i s s u e s r e g a r d i n g
. jt u i s d i c t i o n a n d ju s t i c i a b i l i t y a n t i r e q u e s t s r u l i n g s o n t h e s e i s s u e s w i t h o u t a t r i a l- t y p e h e a r i n g .
I I . e x e r c i s e o i ' Ca u t i o n
i 7 i i s c o u r t m u s t t r e a d l i g h t l y w h e n d e c i t d i n g w h e t h e r t o i n v a l i d a t e a s t a t u t o r } ~ s c h e m e
i n v o l v i n g f i r- r e a c h i n g c o n s e q u e n c e s a n d p o l i c y c o n s i d e r a t i o n s . Wh e n "i s s u e s w i t h f a ~ x e a c h i n g
[ s i c ] e f f e c t s a r e i n v o l v e d , a Co c u • t s h o u l d e x e r c i s e c a u t i o n i r e ~ z • a n t i n g s t u ~ i i n a ~ . y ju d g m e n t . " S e e
Mi l l i s o n v . E. I , Du P o n t d e Ne m ~ i ~ ~ • s & Co . , 101 N,,_ J . 161, 199 (1984} (Ha n d l e r , J . d ' a s s e n t i n g )
(c i t i n g J a c ks o n v . Mu h l e n b e i g I - 7 o s p i t a l , S 3 N_ 7 . 13$ (1969)). J a c ks o n w a s a p e r s o n a l i n ju r y .
' ' Th i s c o u r t , t h o u g h u n a b l e t o p r e d i c t t h e l i kc l i h o o < 1 t h a t p e n d i n g o r p r o p o s e d l e g i s l a t i o n t v i U e v e n h ~ a l i y b e c o 3u e
l a ~ v , n o t e s t h a t t h e p r e s s r e l e ~ i s e a n n o u n c u i g t h e Di l l s p o n s o r e d b y S e n a t o r B a l d w i n s t a t e s t h a t s l o e f i r s t c o- s p o n s o r e d
t h e b i l l i n t h e l o u s e o f Re p r e s e n t a t i v e s i n 1999, a n d h a d w o r ke d o n t h e b i l l b e t w e e n 2007 a n d 2012, w i t h o u t i t s
p a s s i n g .
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l a t i v s u i t i n whi ch t he t r i a l co u n t ha d g r a n t e d p a r t i a l s u mma r y ju dg me n t o ~ i a v e r y me a g e r f a ct u a l
r e co r d. The Co u n t r e v e r s e d t he g r a n t o f s u mma r y ju dg n n e n t a n d r e ma n de d f o r t r i a l , n o t i n g t ha t
t l x e r u l i n g "wo u l d r e a ch f a r be yo n d t he p a i t z cu l a r ca s e . " I d, a t 112 ( ci t a t i o n o mi t t e d) . The S t a t e
f u r t he r • ci t e s t o s e v e r a l o t he r ca s e s r e ma n de d t o t he t r i a l co u r t by t he A p p e l l a t e D i v i s i o n f o r
f i ~ r t he r ~ a ch~ a l de v e l o p me n t whe r e t he i s s u e s i n v o l v e d s i g n i f i ca n t a n d/ o r • n o v e l . p o l i cy
co n s i de r a t i o n s . S e e Edwa r ds v . McB~ • e e n , 369 N. J. S u p e r . 41 S ( A p p . D i v . 2004) ; L u s a r di v .
Cu r t i s P o i n t ~ ' r o n e r t y Own e r s A s s n , 138 N. J. S u p e r . 44 ( A p p . D i v . 1975) ; Be n n e t t v . T. & F.
D i s t r i bu t i o n Co . , 117 N. J. S u p e r . 439 ( A p p . D i v . 1971) , ce r t i f , de n i e d GO N ;J. 350 ( 1972) . Thi s
co u r t i s mi n df u l o f t he s i g n i f i ca n t s o ci a l a n d p o l i t i ca l ba ckg r o u n d o f t hi s ca s e . . A s n o t e d i n
I . , e wi s , t hi s co u r t ' s r o l e i s n e ce s s a r i l y l i mi t e d t o co n s t i t u t i o n a l a dju di ca t i o n , r a t he r t hf l n e n t e r i n g
t he "s wi f t a n d t r e a che r o u s e u t Y e n t s o f s o ci a l p o l i cy. " L e t i v i s , s i l r a , 188 N `J, a t 460.
Mo r e o v e r , co u r t s s ha l l n o t "de cl a r e v o i d l e g i s l a t i o n u n l e s s i t s r e ~ i i g n v i cy t o t he
Co n s t i t u t i o n i s cl e a r l ~ e yo r ~ ci a r e a s o n a bl e do u bt . " I n r e Ma t t e r o f P . L . 2001, 186 N UJ. 368, 392.
( 2006) ( i n t e r n a l ci t a t i o n s o mi t t e d) . T~ z e bu r de ~ i f a l l s o n t he ~ a i ~ t y cha l l e n g i n g t he l e g i s l a t i o n "t o
de mo n s t r a t e cl e a r l y t ha t i t v i o l a t e s a co n s t i t u t i o n a l p r o v i s i o n . " L e wi s , s u p r a . 188 N~ 7. a t 459
( ci t i n g C~ v i ~ l i a v . Ro ya l To u r s o f A m. , 17$ N_ J. 46Q, 477 ( 2004) ) . The L e g i s l a t u r e l e a s br o a d
di s cr e t i o n i n cl e t e x ~ n i r u n g t he "p e r i me t e r s o f a cl a s s i f i ca t i o n . " T3r o wi i v . N. J. D e p t o f Tr e a s u r y,
356 N. J. S u p e r . 71, 80 ( A p p . D i v . 2002) ( ci t i n g Ha r v e y v . Es s e x Co u n t y. Bd. o ~ ~ ' r e e ho l de r s , 30
N TJ. 381, 390 ( 1959) ) . I t i s n o t t he co u z • t ' s t a s k t o we i g h t he "e f f i ca cy o r wi s do m" o f t he
cha l l e n g e d l e g i s l a t i o n . I bi d. ( ci t i n g S t a t e ~ ~ a ~ m Mu t . A u t o . I n s . Co . v . S t a t e , 124 N UJ. 32, ~ 5
( 1991) ) . I n o z ' de r t o p r e v a i l o n t he i r mo t i o n f o r s u mma r y ju dg me n t , p l a i n t i f f s mu s t s ho w t ha t
Ne w Je r s e y' s f a i l u r e t o p ~ • o v i de s a me -s e Y co u p l e s wi t h t he l a be l o f ci v i l ma r r i a g e , "u n mi s t a ka bl y
. z • ~ m[ s ] a f o u l o f t l ~ e Co n s t i t u t i o n . " L e wi s , s t ~ z ^ a , 188 N, _ . J. a t 459 ( r e f u s i n g t o ho l d t ha t
20
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" i d e n t i c a l sc he me s c a l l e d by d i f f e r e n t n a me s woul d c r e a t e a d i st i n c t i on t h~ i t woul d . of f e n d A r t i c l e
I , Pa r a gr a ph 1 , " be c a use t he c oun t " wi l l n ot pr e sur n e t ha t a d i f f e r e n c e i n n l r ~ x e A l on e i s of
c on st i t ut i on a l ma gn i t ud e " ).
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I . ' X' I - I ~ PLA I N' ~ I Z+' ~ S' CLA YMS A RC I 2 . ~ P~ FOR 1 2 E' VI EI V BY THI S COURT.
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J ul y 2 a , 2 01 3. I n a d d i t i on , o1 i J un e 2 6, 2 01 3, t he d a y of t he Wi n d sor d e c i si on , Pr e si d e n t Oba ma
d i r e c t e d t he A t t or n e y Ge n e r a l t o wor k wi t h ot he r Ca bi n e t me mbe r s t o " r e vi e w a l l r e l e va n t
f e d e r a l st a hr t e s t o e n sur e t hi s d e c i si on , i n c l ud i n g i t s i r n j ~ l i c a t i on s f or ke d e r a l be n e f i t s a n d
obl i ga t i on s, i s i mpl e me n t e d swi f t l y a n d smoot hl y. " Pr e ss Re l e a se , Of f i c e of t he Wl ut e House
Pr e ss Se c r e t a r y, St a t e me n t by t he P~ • e si d e n t on t he Supa e n i e Cour t Rul i n g on t he De f e n se of
Ma r r i a ge A c t (J un e 2 6, 2 01 3), a va i l a bl e a t ht t p: / / www. whi t e house . gov/ d or n a - st a t e me n t . De spi t e
t hi s d i r e c t i ve , i t i s possi bl e t ha t some f e d e r a l a ge n c i e s ma y t a ke a c on si d e r a bl e a mot mt o~ t i me t o
c ha n ge f or ms, i mpl e me n t pz • oc e d ur e s, t r l i n pe r son n e l , a n d i n c or por a t e sa me- se x c oupl e s i n t o
t he i r a d mi n i st r a t i ve pr ogr a ms. Pol i c y a n d r e gul a t i on c ha n ge s n a y a l so be n e c e ssa i ~ ~ t o
a c c ommod a t e t he Wi n d soz ° r ui i t ~ g- - a pr oc e ss t ha t c ool e r t a ke mon t hs or ye a r s. Be c a use of t hi s
c i x • c umst a n c e , t he St a t e a r gue s t ha t t he r e i s n ot ye t a c l e a r posi t i on f r om t he f e d e r a l gove r n me n t
a s t o whe t he z • f e d e r a l be n e f i t s wi l l be e x t e n d e d t o c i vi l un i on c oupl e s. A s a r e sul t , t he St a t e
a r bue s t ha t t hi s mot i on i s n ot ye t r i d e f or d e c i si on by t k~ e c our t a n d mi st be d e ~ i i e d .
Ri pe n e ss i s a j ust i c i a bi l i t y d oc t r i n e d e si gn e d t o a voi d pr e ma t ur e a d j ud i c a t i on of a bst r a c t
d i sa gr e e me n t s. A bbot t La bs. v. Gl yd n e r , 387 U. S. 1 36, 1 4 8— ~ 1 9 , 87 S. Ct . 1 507, 1 51 5, 1 8 L. Ed .
2 d 681 , G9 1 (1 9 67), Coi l r t s shoul d n ot i n t e r f e r e wi t h a n a ge n c y' s a d mi n i st r a t i ve d e c i si on s un t i l
t he d e c i si on ha s be e n i mpl e mc n t e c l a n d i t s e f f e c t s f e l t i u a c on c r e t e wa y by t he c ha l l e n gi n g
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p a t t i e s . I b i d . ; s e e a l s o - 966 Vi d e o , I ~ i c . v . Ma no r & T~ v p . Ca a nm. o f Ha zl e t Twp . , 299 N . J . Sum
5 0 1 . , 5 1 5 - 1 6 ( ~ . a w. Di v . 1 95 ). Unl i ke i n fe d e ra l c o urt s , i n N e w J e rs e y , "a ny c o nc e rn a b o ut
p a s s i ng jud g me nt o n a n a b s t ra c t i njury i s t e mp e re d b y t h e fa c t t h a t [N e w 3 e rs e y c o urt s ] [a i e J no t
l i mi t e d t o t h e c a s e o r c o nt ro v e rs y re qui re me nt i mp o s e d o n t h e fe d e ra l c o t u~ s b y wa y o f A rt i c l e
l l I o f t h e F e d e ra l Co ns t i t ut i o n. " Co mm. t o R e c a l l R o Ue rt Me ne nd e z fro m t h e O ffi c e o f U. S.
Se na t e v , We l l s , 20 4 N _J . 79, 1 0 2 ( 20 1 0 ) ( c i t i ng I n re E l p nl i c a t i o n o f Bo a rd wa l k R e ~ e nc v Co rp .
fo r Ca s i no Li c e ns e , 90 N _J . 3 61 , 3 67, a ~ p e ~ l d i s mi s s e d 45 9 U. S. 1 0 8] ( 1 982)). N e w J e rs e y s t a t e
c o urt s t h us h a v e mo re fre e d o m t o d e c i d e c a s e s t h a n t h e i r fe d e ra l c o unt e i p ~ rt s , wi ~ i c h a c e I i mi t e d
b y c o ns t i t ut i o na l l y b a s e d ri p e ne s s p ri nc i p l e s .
To d e t e rmi ne i f a c a s e i s ri p e fo r jud i c i a l re v i e w, t h e c o i l rt mi s t e v a l ua t e : 1 ) t h e fi t ne s s o f
t h e i s s ue s fo r jud i c i a l d e c i s i o n, a nd 2) t h e h a rd s h i p t o t h e p a rt i e s c a us e d b y wi t h h o l d i ng c a t t rt
c o ns i d e ra t i o n. K. Ho v a ni a n Co s , o f N . Ce nt ra l J e rs e y I nc . v . N . J . De p t o f ~ nv t l . P ro t . , 3 79 N _7.
So p e r• 1 , 9 ( A p p . Di v . ); c e rt i f. d e ni e d 1 85 N _J . 3 90 ( 20 0 5 ). A s t o wh e t h e i t e n i s s ue i s fi t fo r
jud i c i A l re v i e w, c o urt s mus t fi rs t d e t e i y i i i ne "wh e t h e r re v i e t i v wo ul d re qui re a d d i t i o na l fa c t ua l
d e v e l o p me nt . " Td . a t 1 0 . A c a s e i s ~ t fo r re v i e w i f t h e "i s s ue s i n d i s p ut e a re p t ue l y l e g a l , a nd
t h us , a p p ro p ri a t e fo r. jud i c i a l z•e s o l ut i o n wi t h o ut d e v e l o p i ng a d d i t i o na l fa c t s . " Co n~ x n. ` Z ' o R e c a l l
R o b e rt Me ne x a d e z, s u ra , 20 4 N ,J , a t 99. A d e c l a ra t o ry jud g me nt c l a i m i s no t ~ •i p e fo r
a d jud i c a t i o n i f t l ~ e fa c t s i l l us t ra t e t h a t t h e ri g h t s o r s t a t us o f t h e p a rt i e s a re "fi rt uze , c o n t i r ► g e n t ,
a nd unc e rt a i n. " I nd e p . R e a l t y Co . ,v ~ l ` wp . o f N . Be e n, 3 76 N . J . Sup e r. 295 , 3 0 2 ( A p p . Di v .
20 0 5 ). Wi t h ~ •e s p e c t t o t h e "h a rd s h i p " p ro m o f t h e ri p e ne s s a na l y s i s , c o urt s e a u a s s ume
juri s d i c t i o n o v e r a c l a i m o nl y i f t h e re i s a "re a l a nd i mme d i a t e " d uc a t o f e nfo rc e me nt o r h a rm
t h a t wo ul d a ffe c t t h e p l a i nt i ff. K. Ho v a ni zn Co s . , s n~ a , 3 79 N . J . Sum a t 1 0 ( c i t i ng 966 Vzd e o ,
I nc . , s up ra , 299 N . J . Sup e r. a t 5 1 5 —] 6).
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T l i e S t a t e , r e l y i n g on f e d e r a l r i p e n e s s d e c i s i on s , a r g u e s t h a t t h i s mot i on i s n ot y e t ~l f or
j t ► d i c i a l d e c i s i on , a s ma n y of t h e F e d e r a l ~d i n i n i s t r a t i v e p r on ou n c e me n t s a p p l y i n g t h e Wi n d s or
d e c i s i on a r e n ot f i n a l a n d l a v e n ot " s u f f i c i e n t l y c r y s t a l l i z e d : ' S e e La ke P i l ot s As s n , I n c . v .
Un i t e d S t a t e s Coa s t Gu a r d , 257 F . S u n n • 2d 148, 1 GO (D. D. C. 2003), p e a l d i s mi s s e d 359 F . 3d
624 (D, C. Ci r . 2004) (c i t a t i on omi t t e d ). ' ~' ! ~e S t a t e a l s o a r g u e s t h a t p l a i n t i f f s c a n n ot s h ow t h a t
wi t h h ol d i n g c ou n t c on s i d e r a t i on wi l l c a u s e a s e r i ou s e n ou g h h a r d s h i p t o me r i t c ou r t r e v i e w. S e e
N a t ' l P a r k H os p i t a l i t y As s n v . D~' t of i n t e r i or , 538 U. S . . 803, $08, 123 S . Ct . 2026, 2030, 155
L. Ed . 2d 1017, 1024-25 (2003); At n . P e t c ol e u i n I n s t . v . En v t l . P r ot . Ag e n c y , 683 F . 3d 382 (D. C,
Ci r . 2012); Col we l l v . De f t of H e a l t h _ a n e l I 3u ma n S e r v s . , 558 I ~3d 1112 (9t h Cu . 2Q09). La s t l y ,
t l ~e S t a t e a r g u e s t h a t r i p e n e s s i s of p a r t i c u l a r c on c e r n h e r e be c a u s e t h i s c a s e i n v ol v e s t h e
c on s t i t u t i on a l i t y of N e w J e r s e y ' s s t a t u t ox y c i v i l ma i Yi a g e a n t i c i v i l u n i on s c h e me . S e e I n r e
As s n of 7. ' r i a l I , a wv e x s of Am. , 228 N . J , S u p e x •. 1 S 0, 18 4 (Ap p . Di v . ), . c e r t i f . d e n i e d 113 N , ~J . 660
(1988) (" De e p l y e mbe d d e d i n ou r j u r i s p r u d e n c e : s t h e s e t t l e d p r i n c i p l e a g a i n s t r e s ol v i n g d i s p u t e s
i n a d v a n c e of c on s t i t u t i on a l n e c e s s i t } T , ' > ),
T h e S t a t e p oi n t s t o s e v e r a l f e d e r a l c a s e s f i n d i n g a l a c k of r i p e n e s s i n t t ~e c on t e x t of
a g e n c y a e t i oa i . I n N a t ' l P a r k I T os Qi t a l i t YAs s ' n , s u p r a , 538 U PS . a t 810, 123 S . _ Ct . a t 2031, 155
I a . Ed . 2d a t 1026, t l ~e Un i t e d S t a t e s S u p r e me Cou ~•t h e l d t l ~a t a p e r c e i v e d c on f l i c t be t we e n a
r e g u l l t i on i s s u e d by t h e N a t i on a l I ' n r k S e r v i c e a n d t h e Con t r a c t Di s p u t e s Ac t of 1978 wa s n ot
r i p e f or r e v i e w wi t h ou t a t r u e c on f l i c t a s a p p l i e d t o c on c e s s i oa ~ c on t r a c t s wi t h t h e N a t i on a l P a r k
S e r v i c e . (" [ C] on c e s s i on e r s s u f f e r n o p r a c t i c a l h a r m a s a r e s u l t of [ t h e r e g u l a t i on } . Al l t h e
r e g u l a t i on d oe s i s a n n ou n c e t h e p os i t i on I ~T P S wi l l t a ke wi t h r e s p e c t t o d i s p u t e s a r i s i n g ou t ~f
c on c e s s i on c on t r a c t s . " ). I bi d . S i mi l a r l y , i n a r e c e n t D. C. Ci r c u i t c a s e , Am. P e t r ol e u m, s u m,
683 F . 3d a t 384, t h e EP A i s s u e d a n ot i c e of p r op os e d z •u l e ma ki n g p r i or • t o or a l a r g u me n t t h a t
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would have s i g n i f i c an t ly amen ded t he c hallen g ed x ule. The c oun t held t hat bec aus e pos t pon i n g
revi ew c ould c on s erve j udi c i al res ourc es , t he mat t er was n o lon g er ri pe. I d. at 386. The c ourt
f i n • t her held t hlt " dec li n i n g j uri s di c t i on over a di s put e whi le t here i s s t i ll t i me f or t he c hA llen g i n g
part y t o `c on vi n c e t he ag en c y t o alt er a t en t at i ve pos i t i on ' provi des t he ag en c y `an opport un i t y t o
c orrec t i t s own rz i i s t ak es an d t o apply i t s ex pez • t i s e, ' pot en t i ally eli mi n at i n g t he n eed f or (aua
c os t s o~ j udi c i al revi ew, " I n d f urt her would avoi d " i n ef f i c i en t an d un n ec es s ary `pi ec emeal
revi ew. " ' I d. at 387 (quot i n g Pub. C i t i z en Healt h Res earc h Group v. FDA , 740 k . 2d 21, 30- - 31
(D. C . C i r. 19 84) ) .
The S t at e reli es on t hes e an d ot her c as es . t o ~ u g ► a e t hat t hi s mot i on i s uru~i pe an d c an n ot be
c on s i dered un t i l all ag en c y ac t i on s c on c ei n i n ~ how Wi n ds or t i vi ll be appli ed are s uf f i c i en t ly f uror.
S ee Tex as v. Un i t ed S t at es , 523 U. S . 29 6, 300, 118 S . C t . 1257, . 1259 - 60, 140 L. Ed. 2d 406,
X10- 11 (19 9 6) (af f i i ~n i n g t he di s t ri c t c ourt ' s di s mi s s al o~ a c laun as ~urui pe t hat c hallen g ed. t he
A t t orn ey Gen eral' s f i n di n g t hat c ei ~t ~i n s an c t i on s un der t he Tex as Educ at i on al C ode won l~t
s qui re p~• e- c learan c e un der S ec t i on 5 of t he Vot i n g Ri g ht s A c E) ; I n dep, Realt y C o. , s uA ra, 376
N. J. S L1pE1• . at 302 (holdi n g t hat a c ourt c ould n ot en t er a dec llraf ot y j t i dg i n en t as t o t he
a~~pl c abi li t y of z on i n g reg ulat i on s ~vh. ez ~e an own er had n ot y et appli ed f or t he pex an i t s ac i d
va~' i an c es n eeded t o bui ld, as t he f ac t s were " f i i t t ~re, c on t i n g en t , ac i d uc i c ert ai n " ) ; C olwell, s upra,
558 F. 3d at 1129 (z ef us i n g on g roun ds of p~~uden t i al ri pen es s t o he~~~ plai n t i f f s ' c lai ms " wi t hout
k n owi n g t he man n er i n whi c h HHS wi ll apply " i t s poli c y ) ; K. ~- I ovan i an C os . , s upz a, 379 N UJ.
S u er. at 9 (di s mi s s i n g a c as e as un ri pe where t he lan d us e mat t er was n ot f ully res olved at t he
admi n i s t rat i ve ag en c y level) .
Whet her t hi s mot i on i s : [ ' i t f ar revi ew depen ds i n s ome way s on how t he i s s ue i s f ramed
az i d how t hat f rami n g af f ec t s t he remedy avai lable t o t he plai n t i f f s . T3ot 1~ plai n t i f f s ai 2d t l~e S t at e
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agree t h at post -Windsoz• and pursuant t o t h e Lewis dec ision, same-sex c ouples in New J easey
sh ould be ent it led t o t lae f u1 1 spec t ~ ~ mz of f ederal benef it s and responsibilit zes provided t o marx ied
c ouples. Given t h at , t h ere are at least i~ vo pot ent ial remedies, Th e f irst is t h e x emedy plaint if f s
urge: f or t h e S t at e of Ne~ v J ersey t o allow same-sex c ouples t o get married. . Th e sec ond is t h e
~ •emedy t h e S t at e present s as t h e c ore of it s opposit ion: t h at t h e f edeial agenc ies must rec ognize
t h at New J ersey c ivil unions are eq uivalent t o marriage anc t t l~ eref are provide t h e same spec t rum
of U enef it s t o New J ersey same-sex c ouples in c ivil unions t liat t h c ~ must provide, post-Windsor,
t o same-sex manned c ouples. For t l~ e S t at e, it is only if t h at remedy bec omes unavailable f or
plaint if f s t h at t h e issues p~ •esent ed i1 i t h is mot ion would bec ome ripe f or review.5
Th e c ourt is persuaded t h at t h e plain# i f s' c lf lims are ripe f or adj udic at ion. First , t h e
plaint if f s' c laims are f it f or j udic zal review bec ause, at least in relat ion t o t h eir New J ersey
c onst it ut ional c laim, t h ey present . legal q uest iozis t h at req uire no f urt h er• f ac h ~ al development . By
t lae t ei~ sns of t h e C ivil U nion Ac t , same-sex part ners in New J ersey are not eac h ot h er' s spouses,
and are not mat 7 •ied; rat h er, t lx ey are part ners in a c ivil union. As disc ussed above, t h ough many
f ederal agenc ies h ave not y et announc ed def init ive plans f og• h ow t o impl~ inent t h e Windsor
dec ision, several agenc ies h ave ah •eady det ein~ ined h ow t h ey t ivill implement t h e c h ange iu law
ef f ec t uat ed by Windsor. Th e Of f ic e of Personnel Management , t h e S t at e pepart ment , X nt erual
Revenue S ervic e, llepart ment of Laboz~ , end t lic C ent ers f or Medic are and Niedic aid h ave alt
det ei~ ~ nined t h at benef it s will be of f ered only t o legally mai7 ied same-sex c ouples, and not t o c ivil
union c ouples. As a x •esult , plaint if f s are c in•renlly ineligible f or benef it s as a result of zvles and
5 I t sh ould be not ed t h at f h e S t at e' s ripeness argument does noF apply t o plaint if f s' f ederal c laims. I ndeed,
plaint if f s' f ederal eq ual prot ec t ion c laim does not nec essarily t urd on wh et h er t l~ e f ederal govermnent will provide
same-sex c ouples U enef it s. Rat lac r, die plaint if f s pose ~ rat h er simple q uest ion: wh et h er Ne~ v J ersey ' s parallel
st ruc t ures of c ivil unions f or same-see c ouples a«d ~ namage f or opposit e-sea c ouples h ave a ~ ' at ioual basis; t h at is,
are U iey rat ionally relat ed t o a legit imat e governrueut int erest ? Th e S t at e does not make any spec if ic ripeness
argument s ~ s t o ~ vh y plaint if f s' f ederal c laim is unripe, ot h er t h an t o point t o t h e need f or more f ac t ua(development .
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p o l i c i e s a l r e a d y i n p l a c e . T l i u s , t h i s c a s e i s d i s t i n g u i s h a b l e fi o m Am. Pe t r o l e u m, s u p r a , 683 F . 3d
a t 387, wh e r e t h e p l a i n t i ffs c h a l l e n g e d a p r o p o s e d 1 1 ~ 1 e b e fo r e i t wa s e n a c t e d . T h e i s s u e o f
wh e t h e r t h e S t a t e mu s t a c t t o c h a n g e i t s s t a t u t o r y s t r i i c t u i e fo r c i v i l u n i o n s a n d ma r r i a g e s i s
p u r e l y n l e g a l o n e t h a t d e p e n d s u p o n t h e i n t e z a c t i o n o f t h e Wi n d s o r d e c i s i o n wi t h t h e ma n d a t e s
e s t a b l i s h e d b y t h e Ne ~ v J e r s e y S u p r e me Co u r t i n Le wi s .
T o b e s u r e , ma n y fe d e r a l a g e n c i e s h a v e n o t y e t a n n o u n c e d h o w t h e y wi l l a p p l y Wi n d s o r
a n d wh e t h e r t h e y wi l l p r o v i d e Ne w J e r s e y c o u p l e s i n c i v i l u n i o n s wi t h fe d e r a l ma r r i a g e b e n e fi t s .
Pe r h a p s s o me wi l l . S e e e . . , Pr o p o s e d Co l l e c t i o n ; Co mme n t Re qu e s t , s u p z a , 78 l i e d , 1 2 e ~ .
54, 633; Ve t Ce n t e l • S e r v i c e s , s u p r a , 78 F e d . Re Q. 57, 067. b u t t t ~ e fa c t t h a t fe d e r a l a g e ~ z c y
i ► n p l e m e n t a t i o n o f Wi n d s o r • i s i n fl u x d o e s n o t me a n t h a t t h i s c o u r t mu s t d e fe r i t s d e c i s i o n . At
l e a s t s i x fe d e r a l a g e n c i e s h a v e e x p l i c i t l y s t a t e d t h a t t h e y wz l l p r o v i d e ma r r i a g e b e n e fi t s o n l y t o
l e g a l l y ma i x i e d s a me-s e x c o u p l e s . Co n s e qu e n t l y , ~ • e g a r c i l e s s o f fu t u r e fl u c t u a t i o n s i n t h e l a w,
p l a i n t i ffs a r e t o d a y n o t e l i g i b l e fo r b e n e fi t s a s a r e s u l t o f t h e i r `~ C1 Vl I 1 1 I1 t 0Il " s t a t u s ma n d a t e d b y
Ne w J e r s e y l a w. In p a r t i c u l a r , t h e Ae p a i ~ t me n t o f La b o r p ~ o n o u ~ l c e d t h a t t h e p r o v i s i o n s o f t h e
fa mi l y a n d Me d i c a l Le a v e Ac t (I'MLA), 2 9 U. S . C. § 2 601 t o ~ 2 654, wi l l a p p l y o n l y t o s p o u s e s
i n s Ame -s e x ma i r i a g e s . ~ T h e r e fo r e , i f a n y o f t h e p l a i n t i ffs g o t s i c k p r i o r t o a c h a n g e i n t h i s
p o l i c y , t h e i r p a r t n e r 's e mp l o y e • c o u l d r e fi ~ s e t o a l l o w t h e c i v i l u n i o n p a r t n e r t o t ~ l c e l e a v e t o c l r e
fo r t h e i l l p a r t n e r u n d e r t h e F MLA. Ce r t a i ~ ~ l y , t h e e x i s t e n c e o ~ 't h i s qu a n d a r y fo r p l a i n t i ffs i s r e a l
a z ~ d r e qu i r e s n o fu r t h e r fa c t u a l d e v e l o p me n t .
Mo r e o v e r • , t h e c o n c l u s i o n t h a t t h e p i ~ i n t i ffs h a v e p r e s e n t e d a l e g a l qu e s t i o n fi t fo r z • e v i e w
i s b o l s t e r e d b y t h e o v e r a l l u n c e r t a i n t y c r e a t e d b y p i e c e me a l p r o ~ ~ o t u i c e me n t s fr o m v a r i o u s
fe d o r a } a g e ~ i c i e s a n d t h e ~ ~ o t e n t i a l fo i • a l a c k o f u i u fo r mi t y a s t o e l i g i b i l i t y fo r • ma r i t a l b e ~ i e fi t s .
6 T l i e PMLA c o v e r s " e l i g i b l e e r a p l o y e c s , " wh i c h i n c l u d e s a l l e mp l o y e e s , e x c e p t fo r t h o s e e mp l o y e d e i t h e r b y c e r t a i n
fc c t c r a l a g e n c i e s o r b y b u s i n e s s e s wi t h l e s s t h a n fi ft y e mp l o y e e s wi t h i n s e v e n t y -fi v e mi l e s o fa wo r k s i t e . 2 9 U~ S . C. §
2 GI i .
2 6
r ~ ~
Such un ce r t a i n t y i t s e l f ha s co n cr e t e e f f e ct s o n p l a i n t i f f s i n t e r ci ~ ~ o f cu~ ~ ~ e n t d e ci s i o n-ma ki n g a n d
p l a n n i n g f o g' f uhl ~ ' e e v e n t ua l i t i e s . In e s s e n ce , p l a i n t i f f s ' f e d e r l l b e n e f i t s a r e s ub j e ct t o b e n e f i t-b y -
b e n e f i t r e gul a t i o n b y t i v ha t e v e r f e d e r a l a ge n cy i s i n cha r ge o f a d mi n i s t e r i z i g t he b e n e f i t p r o gr a m.
' 1 ' l ~ i s l e ga l p r e d i ca me n t wa s cr e a t e d b y t he Wi n d s o r d e ci s i o ~ l a n d r e q ui r e s n o f ur t he r f a ct ua l
co n s i d e r a t i o n . As s uch, t he co ur t ' s a d j ud i ca t i o n o f t t z e mo t i o n wo ul d n o t b e n e f i t f i o m " f i i r t he r
f a ct ua l d e v e l o p me n t o f t he i s s ue s p r e s e n t e d , " a n d i s f i t f o r r e v i e w n o w. Ohi o F o r e s t x • y As s n v .
Si e r ~ • a Cl ub , 523 T J . S. 726, 733, 1 ~ 8 S. Ct . 1 665, 1 670, 1 40 L. Ed . 2d 921 , 929 (1 998).
T he St a t e hi s n o t i f i e d t he co ur t o f p r o p o s e d l e gi s l a t i o n t ha t wo ul d e : ct e n d f e d e r a l ma r i t a l
b e n e f i t s t o ci v i l un i o n co up l e s , a n d a r gue s t ha t r e v i e w s ho ul d b e d e n i e d i n t hi s ca s e b e ca us e t he
p r o p o s e d l e gi s l a t i o n i s p r o o f t ha t t he l a w i s " i n f l ux . " Se e , e . g. , ke cl e r a l B e n e f i t s I: q ua l i t y Act ,
H. R. 2834, 1 1 3t h Co n g. , 1 s t Se s s . (201 3). ho we v e r , t o a cce p t t he St a t e ' s a r gume n t wo ul d r e n d e r
e v e r y co n s t i t ut i o n a l cha l l e a 3ge t o a n y l a w un t e n a b l e ; t he d e f e n d a n t s wo ul d s i mp l y d e f l e ct a n y
cha l l e n ge s b y a s s e z • t i n g t ha t t he cha l ] e i a ge d l a w ma y b e r e me d i e d t hr o ugh l e gi s l a t i o n a t s o me
p o i n t i n t he f ut ur e . Such a p o s i t i o n ~ v o ul d b e f a t a l t o a n y e n f o r ce me n t o f co n s t i t ut i o n a l
~ z • o t e ct i o n s t l uo ugh # Er e j ud i ci a l s y s t e m a n d ca n n o t b e co un t e n a n ce d . Cf . B a r t l e t t v . B o we n , 81 6
F . 2d 695, 707 (D. C. Ci r . 1 987) (" T l i e d e l i ca t e b a l a n ce z mp l i ci t i n t t ~ e d o ct r i n e o f s e p a r n t i a n o f
p o we r s wo ul d b e d e s t r o y e d i f Co a i gr e s s we r e a l l o we d n o t o n l y t o l e gi s l a t e , b ut a l s o t o j ud ge t he
co n s t i t t i t i o ~ ~ a l i t y o f i t s o wn a ct i o n s . " ). F o r a n e x a mp l e o f t hi s p r i n ci p l e , s e e In r e Co z u• o v , 98 N ^J .
321 (1 985). T l i e z e , t he Ne w J e r s e y Sup r e me Co un t r e s o l v e d d i f f i cul t i s s ue s co ~ x ce mi n g t he
t e r mi n a t i o n o f l i f e s up p n z-t a n d t he co n s t i t ut i o n a l r i ~ l r t t o r e f us e me d i ca l t r e a t me n t , e v e n t ho ugh
t he r e t i v e r e l e gi s l a t i v e a t t e mp t s t o a d d r e s s t ho s e i s s ue s p e n d i n g i n t he Le gi s l a t ur e a t t he t i me . Id .
a t 3Q4, n . 2. T hus , t he e x i s t e n ce o ~ p e n d i n g l e gi s l a t i o n t ha t ma y a d d r e s s p l a i n t i f f s ' co n ce r n s d o e s
n a t r e q ui Y • e p o s t p o n e me n t o f j ud i ci a l ~ • e v i e w.
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P l ~ i l i t i f f s have al s o s ~ t i s # i ec t t he ` har d s hi p ' p r o ng o f t he t es t f o r z • i p enes s . As c o u p l es i n
c i vi l u ni o ns , p l ai nt i f f s ar e c u i 7 ent l y i nel i gi b l e f o r at l eas t s o me o f t he f ed es • ~ l anar i t al r i ght s and
b enef i t s t hat m~ nr i ed o p p o s i t e- s ex c o u p l es p o s s es s . I ~ , as p l ai nt i f f s c l ai m, t hi s i mp ac t c o ns t i t u t es
a vi o l at i o n o f t he New J er s ey C o ns t i t u t i o n, t hen ( hei r c w7 ~ ent c i r c u ms t anc es r c ; s u l k i n an
"i mmed i at e and s i gni f i c ant " har d s hi p af f ec t i ng t hei r c o ns t i t u t i o nal r i ght s . See, e. ~ . , El r o d v.
Bu r ns , 427 U,S. 347 , 37 3, 96 S. C t . 267 3, 2090, 49 L. Ed . 547 , 565 ( 197 6) ( ho l d i ng t hat t he l o s s
o f F i r s t Amend ment f r eed o ms , even f o r a s ho r t p ex • i o d o f t i me, "~ u i c J i 7 es t i o nab l y eo ns t i hr t es
i z r e~ ar ab l e i nj u y . "); Davi s v. Net i v J er s ey Dent . o f La~ v and P u b . Saf et y , Di v. o f St at c P o l i c e,
327 N. J . Su p er . 59, 69 ( Law Di v. 1999) ( qu o t i ng El z o d , s u p r a, 427 U. S. at 37 3, 96 S. C t . at 2690,.
49 L. Ed . at 5b S). See al s o Ho me Bu i l d er s Leagu e o f S. J er s ey , I nc . v. Eves ham, 17 4 N. J . Si l p er ,
2S2 ( Law Di v. 1980), wher e p l ai nt i f f s ~ • ~ i s ed a c o ns t i t u t i o nal c hal l enge t o o r d i nanc es and t he
c o u r t had t o d ec i d e whet her t o ex p and t he t i me f o r ~ • evi ew "i n t he i nt er es t s o f j u s t i c e: ' The c o u r t
d i d as s u me j t u i s d i c t z o n, ex p l ai ni ng t hat , "[ n] o t o nl y i s t her e a s u b s t ant i al c o ns t i t u t i o nal qu es t i o n
al l eged . . . b u t , as t i me go es o n, i f no x es t r ai nt o f t he o r d i nanc e r equ i r ement s i s i mp o s ed , i t c o u l d
c au s e c o nt i nu i ng hal m t o p l ai nt i f f s and o t her s s i mi l ar l y s i t u at ed . " I d . at 257 . Si mi l ar l y , i n t i vs
c as e, i f t l ~ e d eni al o f mar r i age t o s ame- s ex c o u p l es r o w vi o l at es t he New J er s ey C o ns t i t u t i o n—as
p l ai nt i f f s c o nt end —t hen ever y d ay t he p l ai nt i f f s ' c l ai ms evad e j u c t i c x a~ r evi ew, c o nt i nu i ng 1~ a~ 7 n
i s c au s ed t o t hem. I b i d .
Mo r eo ver , i t i s i ~ n: c ez • t ai n ~ vt x eai , i f no t no w, t he p l ai nt i f f s ' c l ai ms c o u l d b e r i p e f o r r e~ ~ i ew.
As t he Wi nd s o r C o u nt no t ed , DOMA l ead Tf f eet ec i ap p r o x i mat el y a t ho u s and f ed er al s t at u t es and
~ ~ egu l at i o ns . Wi nd s o r , s t t p x ~ a, __ U. S. at _, 133 S. C t , at 2683, 186 L. Ed . 2d at 816. I t i s
u i i k no w~ i when eac h o f t t ~ e f ed er al agenc i es c har ged wi t h i mp l ement i ng t ho s e l aws and r u l es wi l l
d ec i d e t he manner i n whi c h t hey wi l l c o mp l y t i vi t t i Wi nd s o r , and ever y d ay t hat t he u nd ec i d ed
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f e d e r a l a g e n c i e s d e l a y t h e i r d e c i s i o n , p l a i n t i f f s t i v S l l r e ma i n u n c e r t a i n a s t o wh e t h e r t h e n s t a t u s
r e n d e r s t h e r m i n e l i g i b l e f o r c e r t a i n f e d e r a l b e n e f i t s . In a d d i t i o n , wh i l e wa i t i n g f o r a g e n c i e s t o
c l a r i f y t h e i r • p o s i t i o n s r e g a r d i n g c i v i l u n i o n c o u p l e s , p l a i n t i f f s wi l l r e ma i n i n e l i g i b l e f o r ma r i t a l
b e n e f i t s f zo m t h e f e d e r a l a g e n c i e s t h a t h a v e a l r e a d y d e c i d e d t o e xc l u d e t h e m f r o m c o v e r a g e .
An d t h e r e i s n n j u d i c i a l l y ma n a g e a b l e s t a n d a r d t o d e t e r mi n e wh e n e xa c t l y "e n o u g h " a g e n c i e s
l e a v e i mp l e me n t e d Wi n d s o r t o j u s t i f y j u d i c i a l r e v i e w. Le a v i n g r e v i e t i v f o r s a me i n d e t e r mi n a t e
t i me t i v h e n a l l f e d e r a l a g e n c i e s h a v e a c t e d wo u l d c o n s t i h i t e a c l e a r h a r d s h i p f o r p l a u i t i f f s i f , a s
t h e y c l a i m, t h e i r : c u r r e n t i n a b i l i t y t o o b t a i n f e d e r a l l n a r i t ~ l b e n e f i t s a ~ n o i ~ n t s t o a d e p r i v a t i o n o f
c o n s t i h i t i o n a l ma g n i t u d e . S e e ~ 1 ~ • o d , s u p r a , 427 U. S . a t 373, 96 S . C t , a t 2690, 49 L. Ed . a t 565.
As t h e N e t i v J e r s e y S u ~ r e n l e C o u r t r e c e n t l } l c o n f r n i e d , "t h i s C o u r t i s ` n o t l i mi t e d t o t h e
' c a s e o r c o n t r o v e r s y ' r e g i 7i r e . me n t i mp o s e d o n t h e f e d e r a l c o u r t s b y wa y o f Ar t i c l e III o f t i n e
~ e d e i a l C o n s t i t u t i o n . "' C o l n m. t o Re c a l l Ro b e r t Me n e n d e z, s u r a 20~ N _3. a t 1 02-03 ( q u o t i n g
In r e Ap p l i c a t i o n o f Bo a r d wa l k Re g e a ~ e Y C o xp . , s i r r a 90 N _J . a t 367); s e e a l s o In ~ • e As s ' n o f
"I' i i a l La wt i e r s o f Am. , s u p r a , 228 N . 3. S u p e r : a t 1 8 4 ( N e w J e r s e y c o u r t s h a v e "t a ke n a mu c h
. mo r e l i b e r a l a p p r o a c h o ~ i t h e i s s u e s o f . . . j u s t i c i a b i l i t y Th a n h a v e t h e f e d e r a l c a s e s . "). In C o mm. .
' I' o Re c a l l Ro b e r t Me n e n d e z, s u p r a , 204 N UJ . a t 1 03 , t h e C o u r t f o u n d t h a t r e ~ ~ i e w wa s f a v o r e d
Ue c a u s e t h e c o ~ i s t i t u t i o n a l i t y o f t h e c h a l l e n g e d l a w wa s a n i s s u e o f "r 3a a j o r p u b l i c i mp o r t a n c e "
( q u o t i n g C i t y o f f 1 . t ~ . C i t y v . Ll e zza , 80 N . J . 255, 26G ( 1 979)} . It c a n h a zd l y b e q u e s t i o n e d t h a t
t h e c ~ ► s e b e f o r e t h i s c o i ~ x~ t a l s o p r e s e n t s a n i s s u e o f ma j o r p u b l i c i mp o r t a n c e . P l a i n t i f f s ' c l ~ a l l e u g e
t o t h e i r e xc l u s i o n f r o m c i v i l n ~ a ~ x• i ~ g e r a i s e s s i g n i f i c a n t c o n s t i t u t i o n a l q u e s t i o n s t h a t a f f e c t t h e
i n d i v i d u a l r i g h t s o f t h o u s a n d s o f p e o p l e i n N e w J e r s e y .
Th e Le wi s C o u r t wa s c l e a r i n i f s ma n d a t e t h a t "o u r S t a t e C o n s t i t u t i o n g u a r a ~ i t e e s t h a t
e v e r y s t a t u t o r y r i g h t a n d b e n e f i t c o n f e r r e d t o h e t e r o s e xu a l c o u p l e s t l u a u g h c i v i l ma r r i a g e mu s t
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be made av ai l abl e t o co mmi t t ed s an ~ e~ s ex co u p l es . " Lewi s , s u p r a, 188. N _ _ ,J , at 462. Whet her ,
u n der Let i v i s , t he char ge i n f eds r aI l aw br o u ght abo u t by ~ V i r ~ cl s o r r eq u i r es t he S t at e o f N e~ v
J er s ey t o al l o w s ame- s ex co u p l es t o mar r y i s a q u es t i o n t hat i s n aw f i t ~ ' o r r ev i ew by t hi s co u r t .
~ I . PLAI N TI r 1~ S HAV E S TAN DYN G TO BRI N G THI S ACTr ON .
The S t at e has al s o q u es t i o n ed, br i ef l y i n t hei r o p p o s i t i o n ai d agai n at o r al a~ • gu men t ,
whet her an y o f t he p l ai n t i f f s hav e s t an di n g t o br i n g t hi s mo t i o n , as n o n e o f t he p l ai n t i f f s hav e
been di r ect l y den i ed a f eder al ben ef i t , n o r ar e t hey f eder al emp l o yees , member s o f t he mi l i t ar y,
n o z • p ex s o n s ap p l yi n g f o r en t r y i n t o t he Un i t ed S t at es .
The co n cep t o f s t an di n g r ef er s t o a p ar t y' s en t i t l emen t t o mai n t ai n an act i o n bef o r e t he
co u r t . N . J . Ci t i z en Act i o n v . Ri v i er a Mo t el Co r p . , 296 N ,J . S u p er . 402, 409 (Ap p . Di v . 1996) ,
cer t i f . i g • an t ed, 152 N . J . ] . 13 (1997) , ap p eal di s mi s s ed ~ s mo o t , l S 2 I ~ JJ , 3 61 (1998) (ci t i n g N _ J .
S t at e Chamber • o f Co mmer ce v . N . J . EI ect i o n Law En f o r cemen t Co mm' n , 82 N ^7. 57, G7 (198Q ) ) ;
I n r e Ado p t i o n o f Baby T. , 160 N UJ . 3 3 2 (1999} . I n o r der t o demo » s t r at e s t an di n g, a p l ai n t i f f
7n n s t hav e a " s u f f i ci en t s t ak e i n t he o u t co me o f t he l i t i gat i o n , a r eal ad~ ~ ez • s en es s wi t h r es p ect t o
i h. e s u bj ect mat t er , an d t her e mu s t be a s u bs t an t i al l i k el i ho o d t hat t l ~ e p l ai n t i f f wi l l s u f f er har m i n
t he ev en t o f an u n f av o r abl e deci s i o n . " N . J . Ci t i z en l ~ . ct i o n , s u er a, 296 N . J . S u p er . o f 409- 10
(ci t i ~ ~ g N . J . S t at e Chamber o f Co ~ r u n er ce, s t i ~ a, 82 N . J . at 67) . N ew J er s ey co u r t s t i k e a br o ad
an d l i ber al ap p r o ach t o t he i s s u e o f s t an di n g. N . J . Ci t i z en Act i o n , s t ~ ~ a, 296 N . J , S u p er • o f 41 S .
Ap p l yi n g t hes e p r i n ci p l es t o as s o ci at i o n s , co u r t s hav e co n cl u ded t hat " an as s o ci at i o n has
s t an di n g t o s u e as t he s o l e p ar t y p l ai n t i f f when i t has ~ r eal s t ak e i n t he o u t co n n e o f t he l i t i gat i o n ,
t hez-e i s a r eal adv er s en es s i n t he p z • o ceedi n g, an d t he co mp l ai n t ` i s co n f i n ed s t r i ct l y t o mat t er s o f
co mmo n i n t er es t an d do es n o t i n cl u de an y i n di v i du al gr i ev an ce whi ch mi ght p er hap s be deal t
wi t h mo r e ap p r o p r i at el y i n a p ~ • o ceedi n g bet ween t he i n di v i du al [member ] an t i t l ~ e [def en dan t ] . " '
3 0
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N . 7 _ C i t i z e n Act i on , su r a , 296 N . J . Supe r . a t 416 (quot i n g C r e sce n t Pk. ' t e n a n t s Assn v . R e a l t v
~ ~ gt ~ i t i e s C OIp•, 58 N UJ . 98, 109 (197 1) ) . Mor e ov e r , i f a i x i n d i v i d ua l pl a i n t i f f ha s st a n d i n g, t he
or ga n i z a t i on a l pl a i n t i f f of whi ch t he i n d i v i d ua l i s a me mbe r a l so l a gs st a n d i n g. Pe oa l e For Ope n
Gov ' t v . R obe z •t s, 397 N . J . Supe r . 502, 515 (App. Di v . 2d Q8) .
T l i e cour t i s sa t i sf i e d t ha t t he pl a i n t i f f s ha v e st a n d i n g t o pr oce e d wi t h t hi s a ct i on . As t he
a r gume n t s of f he pa r t i e s d e mon st r a t e , t he r e i s a r e a l a d v e ~ ~ se n e ss a s i s t he subj e ct ma t t e r i n
ci i spi l t e . 1' l ~ i n t i f f s a l so. l e a v e cl e n i on st r l t e d a sa f f i ci e n t st a ke i n t he out come of t hi s mot i on i n
t e i 7 n s of t he i r se e ki n g e l i gi bi l i t y f a y f e d e r a l be n e f i t s. Mor e ov e r , pl a i n t i f f s' i n t e r e st s a x e n ot
ov e r l y ge n e r a l . R ~ t he x •, bot h t he i n d i v i d ua l pl a i n t i f f s a n d t he me mbe r shi p of Ga r d e n St a t e
E qua l i t y a r e cl a i mi n g a cl e a r a n d pr e se n t ha r m t ha t wi l l con t i n ue i n d e f i n i t e l y i n t o t he f i r t ui e . As
d i scusse d a bov e i n t he con t e x t of r i pe n e ss, pl a i n t i f f s a r e cur r e n t l y n ot . e l i gi bl e # o r e ce i v e ce k~ t a i n
f e d e r a l be n e f i t s a s a r e sul t of N e w J e r se y ' s ma r r i a ge a n d ci v i l ui uon st ~- uct a r e . In a d d i t i on ,
Ga r d e n St a t e E qua l i t y ha s pr ov i d e d t he coi ut wi t h ~ t f f i d ~ v i t s f i •o~ n f our of i t s me mbe r s a t t e st i n g
t ha t t he y a r e cui 7 e n t l y ha r me d by t he i r i n a bi l i t y t o obt a i n f e d e r a l be n e f i t s. T he se ce r t i f i ca t i on s
r e mov e a l l d oubt a s t o t he st a n d i n g of Ga ~ •d e n St a t e E qua l i t y . As a r e sul t of t he se con si d e r a t i on s,
a n d gi v e n N e w 3e r se y ' s pol i cy of l i be r a l st a n d i n g r e qui r e me n t s, t he cour t i s sa t i sf i e d t ha t bot h
t he a ~ a me d i ud i v i ci v a ~ pl a i n t i f f s In d Ga r ci e ~ i St a t e E qua l i t y ha v e suf f i ci e n t st a n d i n g t o br i n g t hi s
a ct i o~ x .
Di scussui g j ust i ci a bi l i t y , t he N e w J e r se y Supr e me C our t r e ce ~ ~ t l y r e i t e r a t e d t ha t :
Our " l i be r a l t 111e s of st a n d i n g" a c•e a n i ma t e d by a v e n e r a t e d pr i n ci pl e : Ii i t he
ov e r a l l we ha v e gi v e n d ue we i ght t o t he i ~ i t e r e st s of i n d i v i d ua l j ust i ce , a l on g wi t h
t he publ i c i n t e r e st , a l wa y s be a r i n g i n mi n d t ha t t hi •ou~ l i out out • l a w we ha v e be e n
swe e pi n gl y r e j e ct i n g pr oce d ur a l f r ust r a t i on s i n f a v or of j ust a n d e x pe d i t i ous
d e t e r mi n a t i on s on t he ul t i ma t e me r i t s. mi d t ha t p~ •i n ci pl e i s pr e mi se d on a cor e
con ce pt of N e w J e r se y j ur i spr ud e n ce , t ha t i s, t ha t our r ul e s of pr oce d ur e we r e n ot
d e si gn e d t o cr e a t e t i n i n j ust i ce a n d a d d e d coi ~ ~ ~ ~ l i ca t i on s but , on t he con t r a r y , t i v e r e
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d e v i s e d . and promulgate d f or th e purpos e of promoti ng re as onab le uni f ormi ty i n
th e e x pe d i ti ons and e v e n ad mi ti i s ttati on of j us ti c e .
Je n E le c . , T nc . v . C outi ty of E s s e x , 197 N. 7; 627, 645 (2009) (i nte rnal c i tati ons
and q uotati ons omi tte d )),
T h e c ourt i s s ati s f i e d th at th e plai nti f f s ' moti on i s j us ti c i ab le , gi v e n th e c le ar and pre s e nt h alm
af f e c E i ng ~ ~ lai nti f f s . T l1e c ourt w i ll th e re f ore turn to th e me z • i ts of plai nti f f s ' c lai ms .
I I I . kLAZNT I I ' rS ~ I r1. V E ALL~ G~ A SUr~ I C I ~ NT ST AT I ; AC T I ON T O
SUPPORT T HE C OGNT ZAT 3YLI T Y OF T ~ I Zt E QUAL PT ZOT E C T I ON
C LAYMS UNDE R ' ~ H~ UNI T E D S' [' AT E S ANll NE W J~ RS~ Y
C ONST I T UT I ONS.
T h e State ' s s tronge s t argume nt on th e c ons ti h ~ ti onal c lai ms i s th at any h arm i mpos e d on
plai nti f f s h as b e e n. i mpos e d b y th e f e d e ral gov e rz une nt and not b y th e State . T l~ e q ue s ti on h e re
th e n i s , i n li gh t of Wi nd s or' s . mand ate th at tk~ e f e d e z ~ al gov e i 7v ne nt e x te nd b e ne f ts to law f i ~ lly
marri e d s ame- s e x c ouple s , c an th e Ac ti ons b y s e v e ral f e d e ral age nc i e s re f i ts i ng to gra~ i t th os e
s Ame ri gh ts to c i v i l uni on partne rs re nd e r th e State li ab le # b z • tl~ e x • e s ulti ng h ai ni ? T o ans w e r th i s
q ue s ti on re q ui re s th e c ourt to w ad e i nto. a th orny th i c ke t w i th no c le ar pre c e d e nti al gui d e .
T h i s c ow-t, s pe aki ng th rough Juc tge Fe i nb e rg, le as als ~ e ad y ad d re s s e d th e q ue s ti on of s tate
ac ti on i n th e c onte x t of moti ons to d i s mi s s th e c omplai nt. Plai nti f f s h ad c lai me d th at th e i r c i v i l
uni on s tatus af f e c te d th e i r ab i li ty to ob tai n e q ual tz ~ e atme nt f rom pri v ate parti e s s uc h as h os pi tals
and i ns uranc e c ompani e s . T h e State mov e d to d i s mi s s , argui ng th at th e plai nti f f s h ad f ai le d to
s tate an e q ual pz ' ote c ti on c lai m und e r e i th e z • th e Ne w Je i : s e y or Uni te d State s C ons ti h i ti ons
b e c aus e th e State I ~ ~ d c ompli e d w i th th e mand ate s of Le w i s and h ad not e ngage d i n any i lle gal
s tate ac ti ons . Bz i e f i n Support of De f e nd ants Moti on to Di s tni s s t} ~ e C ornplaui t at 11- 12, 18- 20,
Gard e n State E c ~ uali ty v . Do1v , No. ME ;R- I ~ 1729- 11 (Law Di v . Aug. I 0, 2011). Jud ge re i nb e z • g
note d th at s tate ac ti o~ ~ c ould b e s h ow n b y alle gi ng a d e pri v ati on "c aus e d b y th e e x e rc i s e o~ ' s orne
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r i g h t or p z i v i l e g e c r e a t e d by t h e s t a t e or by a r u l e of c ond u c t i mp os e d by t h e s t a t e or by a p e r s on
for wh om t h e s t a t e i s z e s p ons i bl e . " T r a ns c r i p t of O r a l . Ar g u me nt a t 18-19, G a r c i e c x S t a t e E q u a l i t y
v . Dow, No. ME R-L-1729-11 (Nov . 4, 2011). S h e c ont i nu e d , s a yi ng t h a t , " i f you bu i l d a n
i nfi a s t ~ • u c t u r e i n wh i c h t h e r e s u l t i s a d e ~ l i a l of t ~ e ne fi i s , c h a t ' s s t a t e a c t i on. " r a . a t 19; .s e e a l s o
G a r d e n S t a t e E c ~ t i a l i t y v . Dow, No. 11~ E R-L-1729-11, 2012 N. J. S u p e r • . Unp u b. LE XIS 360 a t X29
(La w Di v . Fe b, 21, 2012) (~ v r i t t e ~ . op i i u or i by Jt t d g e Fe i nbe r g g r v i t i ng p l a i nt i ffs ' mot i on t o
r e c ons i d e r a nd r e i ns t a t i ng ~ Ia i nt i fE ' s ' fe d e r a l e q u a l p r ot e c t i on c l a i m, h ol d i ng t h a t " [ p ] ~ a i nt i ffs
a l l e g e t h e C i v i l Uni on Ac t a nd i t s e nfor c e me nt by c e t ~ t a i n s t a t e offi c i a l s , wh o a r e na me d t h e
S t a t e , v i ol a t e s t l ~ e E q u a l P z • ot e c t i on C l a u s e of t h e Fou r t e e nt h Ame nd me nt . At t h i s j u nc t u r e , t l ~ . e
c oni c i s s a t i s ~ e c i t h e r e i s s u ffi c i e nt s t a t e a c t i on t o p e i 7ni t t h e c l a i m ~ i nc l e r t h e T ' e d e r a l E q u a l
P r ot e c t i on C l a u s e t o p r oc e e d . " ). T l i e c ou r t i s now fa c e d wi t h t h e s l i g h t l y d i ffe r e nt q u e s t i on of
h ow t h e fe d e r a l g ov e ~ r u ne nt , r a t h e r t h a n p r i v a t e p a r t i e s , d e a l s wi s h t h e s t a t e-c r e a t e d i nfr a s t r u c t u r e
of c i v i l u ni ons . G i v e n t h i s d i s t i nc t i on, t h e c ou r t a g r e e s wi t h t h e S t a t e t h a t Ju d g e Fe i nbe r g ' s
p a ~ e v i ou s p r onou nc e me nt s a s t o s t a t e a c t i on a r e not t h e Ja w of t l ~ e c a s e for p r e s e nt p u r p os e s .
Howe v e r , t h e c ou r t for d s Ju d g e Fe i nbe ~ • g ' s a na l ys i s p e r s u a s i v e a s t o wh e t h e r t h e s t a t e ' s c i e a t i on
of a l a be l for s a me-s e x u ni ons ot h e r t h a n ma i Yi a g e i s i n a ~ x d of i t s e l f e nou g h t o c r e a t e s k a t e a c t i on
wh e r e t h a t l a be l h a s c onc r e t e e ffe c t s i n r e g a r d t o t h e e l i g i bi l i t y of Ne w Je r s e y c i v i l u ni on p a r t ne r s
for fe d e r a l be ne fi t s .
In t h e S t a t e ' s v i e w, W i nc (s a r d oe s not • e n c l e ► • Ne ~ ~ v Je r s e y' s p a r a l l e l ma r r i a g e a nd c i v i l
u ni on s h u c t u r e s i nv a l i d . Ind e e d , t h e S t a t e a r g u e s t h a t i t h a s not t a k e n a c a y i l l e g a l a c t i on s i nc e
Le wi s t h a t r e q u i r e s a r e me d y. Ra t h e r , t h e S t a t e i nt e r p r e t s W i nd s or t o c ond e mn onl y fe d e r a l
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a c t i o a ~ t h a t do es no t r ec o g ni z e c i v i l i m i o i ~ s a s eq u i v a l ent t o m a r r i a g e. A key p r i nc i p l e o f J u st i c e
K er u i edy' s Wi ndso r o p i ni o n i s t h a t " t t ~ e F eder a l Go v ec - nni ent , . . h a s defe~- ~ ed t o st a t ~ ~ l a ~ v p o l i c y
dec i si o ns w i t h r esp ec t t o do m est i c ~ • el a t i o ns. " Wi ndso r , su p r a , _ U. S. a t _, X33 S. C # . ~ t 2691,
186 L. Ed; 2d a t 825. Bec a u se t h e feder a l g o v er nm ent i nc o r ~ o z a t es st a t e l a w defi ni i i o ns o f
i t a a x x i a g e, t h e St a t e c o nt ends, feder a l a g enc i es m u st defer t o New J er sey' s C i v i l Uni o » . Ac t . Th a t
l a w r eq u i r es t h a t w h er ev er " i u a ny l a w , r u l e, z ~ e~ t ~ l a t i o n, j u di c i a l o r a dm i ni st r a t i v e p r o c eedi ng o r
o t h er w i se, z efer enc e i s m a t t e t o ` I t 121' a ' l a g e~ ' ` I ~ u sb a nd, ' ` w i fe, ' ` sp o u se, ' ` fa m i l y, ' ` i nu nedi a t e
fa m i l y, ' ` dep endent , ' ` nex t o f ki n, ' ` w i do w , ' ` w i do w er , ' ` w i do w ed' o r a no t h er w o r d w l ~ i eh i n a
sp ec i fi c c o nt ex t deno t es a m a r i t a l o r sp o u sa l x • el nt i o nsh i p , t h e sa m e sh a l l i nc l u de a c i v i l u ni o n. "
N. 7. S. A, 37: 1- 33. Th e St a t e a r g u es t h a t si nc e do m est i c r el a t i o ns " h a s l o ng b een r eg a r ded a s a
v i r t u a l l y ex c l u si v e p r o v i nc e o f t h e St a t es, " t h e feder a l g o v ei ~ u nent m u st defer t o New J er sey' s
defi ni t i o ns i n t l ~ . e r ea l m o f do m est i c r e l a t i o x ► s i n det c i 7ni ni ng w h et h er i nc l i v i da a l s a r e m a r r i ed fo r
t h e p u t p a ses o f feder a l m a i 7i a g e b enefi t s. See Wi ndso r • , su p r a , _ U. S. a t ^, 133 S. C t , a t 2691,
186 L. Ed. 2d a t 825. I ndeed, J u st i c e K ea ~ nedy' s Wi ndso r o p i ni o n m a kes c l ea r t h a t t h e feder a l
g g v ez ni nent c a c u i o t deny b enefi t s t o i ndi v i du a l s u p o n w 1i ~ m a st a t e h a s c o nfer r ed m a r r i a g e
r i g h t s, " a di g ni t y a nd st a t u s o f i nu nense i m p o z • t . " I d. , _ U. S, a t ~ , 133 S. C t . a t 2692, 18G L,
Ed. 2d a t 826 (" Wh a t t h e St a t e o f New Yo r k t r ea t s a s a l i ke t h e feder a l l a w deem s u nl i ke b y a l a w
desi g ned t o i nj u r e t h e sa m e c l a ss t l ~ e St a t e seeks t o p r o t ec t . " ) . ' Th e St a t e i el i es o n t h i s l a ng u a g e
t o a r g u e t h a t b ec a u se New 3er sey deem s c i v i l u ni o ns t o b e eq u i v a l ent t o m a r r i a g e, t h e feder a l
g o v er nm ent nz a y no t t r ea t t h e t w o st z • u c h u • es a s di st i nc t , a nd m u st p ~ • o v i de m a i- ~ • i ng e b enefi t s t o
New J er sey c o u p l es i n c i v i l u ni o ns, I I ec a u se p r o v i di ng feder a l b eneft s i s so l el y t h e
r esp o nsi b i l i t y o f t h e feder a l ~ o v er i m ~ ent , t h e St a t e c o nt ends t h a t t h e dep r i v a t i o n o f su c h b enefi t s
~ Th e c o u r t no t es t h a t t h e Lev i s dec i si o n a ddr essed o nl y c l a i m s i i ~ ~ der Ar t i c l e 1, P a r ~ g r a ~ ~ l i 1 o f t h e Ne~ v J er sey
C o v s~ i t u t i o n, a nd di d no t a ddr ess a r t y feder a l c o nst i t u t i o na l c l a i m s. As su c h , Lev i s c a n v nl y b e r ea d p er su a si v el y
a nd no t p r ec ec t ent i a l l y fo r a feder a l eq u a l p r o t ec t i o n a na l ysi s.
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cannot be viewed as s tate action. As a r es u l t, th e S tate ar g u es th at p l aintif f s ' cl aim s ar e not
l eg al l y cog niz abl e. I n es s ence, th e S tate ar g u es th at p l aintif f s ar e s eek ing r el ief f r om th e wr ong
def endant.
Th e S tate r el ies on p r ecedents ar is ing ou t of s tate s p ending cr u s e obl ig ations th at h ave
h el d th at ~ vl ~ er e th e "onu s of com p l iance" with individu al r ig h ts is on th e f eder al g over nm ent,
r attier th an on th e s tates im p l em enting th e p r og r am , th er e is no cau s e of action u nder 42 U. S . C. §
1983 ag ains t th at s tate. S ee, e. ~ . , Al h is toti v. Maine Com m ' r of Hu m an S er vices , 7 F. 3d 258,
263 ( 1s t Cir . 1993) ( h ol ding th aC if a f eder al f iinding s tatu te p l aces th e onu s o~ eom p l iance tivith
its p r ovis ions on th e f eder al g over nm ent, and th er e is no ciix ect obl ig ation im p os ed u p on th e
s tates , th er e is no cog niz abl e § 1983 cl aim ag ains t tl ~ e s tates ). I n th e cas e bef or e th is cou r t, by
contr as t, it is New J er s ey ' s def initions o~ m at7• iag e, z ~ ot th e r ig h ts inh er ent in ~ f eder al s tatu te, .
th at ar e at is s u e. As noted in th e ' Winds or op inion, f h e "def inition and r eg u l ation of m ar r iag e . . .
h as been t~ • eated as being with in th e au tl x or ity and z eal m of th e s ep ar ate S tates . " Winds or , s u r a
^_U PS . at _, 133 S . Ct. at 2689-90, 18G L. Ed. 2c1 at 823.
Pl aintif f s obj ect to th e ar g u m ent th at tiae S tate h as not eng ag ed in any action, ar g u ing th at
th e S tate' s action is in cr es ting a s tr aciu r e in wl u ch op p os ite-s ex r el ations h ip s and s am e-s ex r
z • e] ations l u p s ar e g iven dis tinct l abel s , l abel s th at now m atter in th e contex t of f eder al benef its .
Accor ding to p l aintif f s , th e Winds oa• decis ion to ex tend f eder al be~ z ef its to s am e-s ex m ar r ied
cou p l es tx ~ ans f oim ed wh at was , l eg al l y , a l eg itim ate l eg is l ative ch oice u nder Levis into
im p er m is s ibl e s tate action u nder th e T. ewis m andate th at s am e-s ex cou p l es be af f oz ded th e s am e
m ~ ~ • iag e benef its as l aeter os ex u al cou p l es . Pl aintif f s p oint th e cou r t to a l ine of cas es in wh ich
cou its h ave h el d th at tivh et• e f eder al of f icial s ' ap p iicati~ n of n s tate intes tacy l aw r es u l ted in an
u ncons titu tioz ~ a] de~ iial of benef its , th e u nder l y ing u nco~ is titu tional s tate l aw m u s t h e icival idated.
35
DA035
See, e. t ~ . , CoY v . Schweiker, 684 F . 2 d 31Q ( 5 t h Cir. 19 82 ) ; I-Iand le~ Scl~ weiker, 69 7 F . 2 d 9 9 9 ,
1003 ( 11t h Cir. 19 83) ( hold z ig Alabama's int est acy lary u nconst it u t ional as ap p lied t o p laint if f ,
as z t creat ed ~ n " iit ~ const it ~ it ionz l insu rmou nt able bai7• ier" t o Social Secu rit y benef it s) ; D aniels v .
Su lliv an, 9 79 F . 2 d 15 16, 15 2 0 ( I 1 t h Cir, 19 9 2 ) ( hold ing t hat ap p licat ion of G eoig ia's int est acy
scheme was u nconst it u t ional as ap p lied t o p laint if f } , In t hese cases, howev er, t he st at e laws were
u nconst it u t ional on t heir own, eit lx er f acially oc as ap p lied t o a sp ecif ic p laint if f . By cont rast , in
t his case, t he cou nt mu st d ecid e whet her a st af e st at u t o2 y scheme is u nconst ihit ional only becau se
of t he manz iex • in which it is ap p lied and incorp orat ed by t he f ed eral g ov ernment .$
It is ax iomat ic t t z at au et ~ u al p rot ect ion claian u nd er bot h t he U nit ed St at es and New
J ersey Const ih~ t io~ ~ s req u ires st at e act ion. Seel e. ~ . . Iv loose Lod g e X 10. I07 v . Irv is, 407 U . S.
Ib3, 172 , 9 2 S. Ct . 19 65 , 19 71, 32 L. Ed . 2 c1 G 2 7, 637 ( 19 72 ) ( cit ing The Civ il R ig ht s Cases, 109
U . S. 3, 3 S. Ct . 18, 2 7 L. Ed . 835 ( 1883) ) ; D ou g G rant v . G reat e Ba~ Casino Coif , 2 32 F . 3d
173, 189 ( 3d Cir. 2 000) , cex -t . d enied 5 32 U . S. 1038 {2 001) ( bold ing t hat p laint if f had no f ed eral
or New J ersey eq u al p rot ect ion claim ag ainst casinos becau se t hey were not st at e act ors) , Mu ch
of t he Su ~ reine Cu rl's j u risp ru ct eiace reg ard ing st at e act ion rev olv es arou nd st at e inv olv ement in
at herwlse p riv at e cond u ct . See Moose Lod ~ c, su p ra, 407 U . S. ~ t 173, 9 2 S. Ct . at 19 71, 32 L.
13d . at 637 ( " Ou r hold ing s ind icat e t hat where t he imp et u s f or d iscriminat ion is p riv at e, t he St at e
~ i~ u si hav e sig nif ieand y inv olv ed it self ' wit h. . inv id iou s d iscriminat ion. " ) ( cit at ion omit t ed ) . In
Moose ~ . od ~ c, t he Cou rl held t hat There was nn st at e act ion f or t he p u rp oses of t he F ou rt eent h
Amend ment where t he St at e of P ennsy lv ania issu ed a ] ic~ t ~ or license t o a p riv at e clu b t hat ref u sed
t o serv e an Af rican American g u est of one of it s members. The Cou rt wrot e t hat , " [ t ] here is no
8 P laint if f s hav e also p oint ed t o In re Est at e c~ f K olacy , 332 N. J . Su . p er. 39 3 ( Ch. D iv . 2 003) , 'There, t he cou rt held
t hat it had j u risd ict ion t o d ecid e a st at e law int est acy issu e t hat af f 'ect cd ~ v liet l~ er t he p laint it ~ '~ v ou ld be ent it led t o
Social Secu rit y benef it s. This case shows t hat Ne~ v J ersey cou rt s hav e j u risd ict ion t o d ecid e cases Qiat may hav e t he
incid ent al conseq u ence of d et ermining elig ibilit y f or f ed eral benef it s.
3G
D A036
s u g g e s t i o n i n t h i s r e c o r d t h a t Pe n n s ylva n i a la w, e i t } i e r a s wr i t t e n o r a s a p p 3 i e d , d i s c z ~ i m i n a t e s
a g a i n s t m i n o r i t y g r o u p s e i t } x e z • i n t h e e • x i g li t t o a p p ly f o r c lu b li c e n s e s t h e m s e lve s o ~ • i n t h e i r r i g h t
t o p u r c h a s e a n d b e s e r ve d li q u o r i n p la c e s o f p u b li c a c c o m m o d a t i o n ." I d . a t 1 7 5 - ~ - 7 6 .
N e i t h e r p a ~ • t y h a s p o i n t e d t h e c o u z • t t o a n ~ n a lo g o i ~ s s i t u a t i o n wh e z ~ e i t i s t h e m a n n e r i n
wh i c h t h e f e d e r a l g o ve r n m e n t a p p li e s a s t lt e s t a t u t o r y s c h e m e t h a t m a ke s t h e s t a t e ' s a c t i o n s
u n c o n s t i h i t i o n a l. N o r le a s t la c c o u i ~ i b e e n a b le t o f i n d s u c h ~ c a s e . ~ - ~ .o we ve r , t h e r e a li t y o f t h e
d e p r i va t i o n s f a c e d b y p la i n t i f f s i s t h a t t h e S t a t e h a s i n d e e d p la ye d a r o le i n p la i n t i f f s ' a lle g e d
c o n s t i t u t i o n a l h a lm s . By s t a t u t o r i ly c r e a t i n g t wo d i s t i n c t la b e ls —m a i 7 i a g e f o r o p p o s i t e - s e ; c
c o u p le s a n d c i vi l u n i o n s f o r s a m e- s e x c o u p le s —N a w J e r s e y c i vi l u n i o n p a r t n e r s a r e e x c lu d e d
f r o m c e r t a i n f e d e r a l b e n e f i t s t h a t le g a lly n a a n • i e d s a m e- s e x c o u p le s a r e a b le t o e n j o y.
Co n s e q u e n t ly, i t i s n o t t h e f e d e x • a l g o ve n m i e n t a c t i n g a lo n e t h a t d e p r i ve s p la i n t i f f s o f f e d e r a l
m a r r i a g e b e n e f i t s —i t i s t h e f e d e r a l g o ve r n m e n t i n c o x p o ► • a t i n g a s t a t e d o m e s t i c r e la t i o n s s t r u c t u r e
t o m a ke i t s d e t e r m i n a t i o n s , e n d i t i s t h a t s t a t e s t i-~ lc t u r e t h a t p la i n t i f f s c h a lle n g e i n t h i s m o t i o n .
T l1 a t s h-u c i u r e m a y z ~ o t h a ve b e e n i lle g a l a t t h e t i m e i t wa s c r e a t e d —i n d e e d , t h e p a r a lle l
i n ~ r r i a ~ e / c z vi l u n i o n s t a t u t o r y s c h e m e wa s s p e c i F i c a lly s ln c t i o ~ i e d i n a d va n c e b y Le wi s —b u t i t
wa s c e r t a i n ly a n "a c t i o n " o f t h e S t a t e .
By a s s e r t i n g t h a t Du ly t h e f e d e r a l g o ve ~ • i u n e n t , a n d n a t t h e S la t e ; h a s e n g a g e d i n "a c t i o n "
t h a t c a n b e c h a lle n g e d b y t h e p la i n t i f f s , t l~ e S t a t e i m p li e s t h a t s i n c e t h e p a r a lle l c i vi l m a r r i a g e a n d
c i vi l u n i o n s t i u c lu r e wa s c o n s t i h lt i o n a l a t t h e t a m e t h e Ci vi l Un i o n Ac t wa s p a s s e d , i t s p a s s a g e
d o e s n o t c o x a s t i t u t e "s t a t e a c t i o n " f o r t h e p u r p o s e s o f p la i n t i f f s ' c h a lle n g e . T li e S t a t e h a s n o t
r e li e d o n a n y c a s e I a w s u p p o r t i n g s u c h a p x ' e m i s e . I n f a c t , i t d e f i e s c o m m o n s e n s e t o s u g g e s t t h a t
t h e p a s s a g e o f a s t a h r t e b y t h e N e w J e r s e y Le g i s la t u r e i s n o t s t a t e a c t i o n . S e e Pa r ks v. M x • . ~ ' o x • d ,
5 5 6 F .2d l3 2 (3 d Ci r . 1 97 7 ) ("Ce r t a i n ly t h e c r e a t i o n o f la w i s s t a t e a c t i .o n .... T h e e n ~ c t i x ~ e u t o f
3 7
DA03 7
a s t at u t e ...mu s t be r e c o g n i z e d as s t at e ac t i o ~ ~ i n i c s p u r e s t f o r m." ) . I n d e e d , f o r t h e p u r p o s e s o f
e s t abl i s h i n g s t at e ac t i o n f o r an e q u al p r o t e c t o z ~ an al y s i s , t h e r e i s n o n e e d t o r e ac h t h e
c o n s t i t u t i o n al i t y o f t h e c h al l e n g e d s t at u t o r y s c h e me —t h e ac t o f c r e at i n g t h at s t ah i t o r y s c h e me i s
s u f f i c i e n t t o c o n s t i t u t e s t at e ac t i o n . Se e L i ~ ~ ; ar v . Ed mo n d s o n O i l Co ., 457 U.S. 922, 941, 102 S.
Ct . 2744, 2756, 73 I , . F .d . 2d 482, X98 (1982) (" Wh i l e p r i v at e mi s u s e o f a s t at e s t at u t e d o e s n o t
d e s c r i be c o n d u c t t l ~ at c an be at t r i bu t e d t o t h e St at e , t h e p r o c e d u r al s c h e me c r e at e d by t l ~ e s t at u t e
o bv i o u s l y i s t h e p r o d u c t o f s t at e ac t i o n ." ) . A n c i c e r t ai n l y t i v h e n t h e St at e c r e at e s a s t at u t o r y
s t t l ~ c t u r e ' t l ~ at r e l i e s o n ~ p ar t i c u l ar ap p l i c at i o n o f f e d e r al l a~ v t o x e n ~ ai n c o n s t i t u t i o n al , ac h an g e i n
t h at f e d e ~ • al l aw c ai an o t abs o l v e t h e St at e f r o m al l r e s p o n s i bi l i t y f o r r e s u l t i n g c o n s t i t ~ r t i o n al
v i o l at i o n s . Th e c o u r t t h u s r e j e c t s t h e St at e ' s ar g u me n t , an d h o l d s t h at t h e St at e e n g ag e d i n s t at e
ac t i o n wh e n i t c r e at e d a s t at u t o r y s t r u c t u r e t h at , d u e t o a c h an g e i n f e d e r al l aw, n o w
d i s ad v an t ag e s c i v i l u n i o n p ar t t x e r s i n Ne w J e r s e y . Y t i s t h at ac t i o n —c z e at i n g t t s t at u t o r y s c h e me
t h at d o e s n o t o f f e r s ame- s e x c o u p l e s t h e r i g h t t o c i v i l mar r i ag e —t h at h as be e n . c h al l e n g e d by
p l ai n t i f f s , an d i t wi l l be an al y z e d f o r i t s v al i d i t y u n d e r e q u al p r o t e c t i o n p r i n c i p l e s be l o w.
Be f o r e i e ac ~ v n g t h at an al y s i s , h o we v e x , t h e St at e make s f u r t h e r ar g u me n t s t h at x n e i ~ i t
at t e n t i o n . Tl ~ e St at e p o i n t s i o s e ar c h an d s e i z u r e l aw c as e s , ar g u i n g t h at t h i s c o u r t h as n o
j u r i s c t i c t ~ o ai t o t e g n i r e f e d e r al o f f i c i al s t o ac t i n c o n f o i 7n i t y wi t h t h e Ne w J e r s e y Co n s t i t u t i o n . I n
t h e r e al m o f s e ~ c c h an d s e i z ~ 3r e l aw, ~ [ h e Ne t i v J e ~ • s e y Su p r e me Co u n t h as h e l d t h at " f e d e r l l
o f f i c e r s ac t i n g l awf u l l y an d i n c o n f o r mi t y t o f e d e r al au t h o r i t y ar e u n c o t as t r ai n e d by t h e St at e
Co n s t i t u t i o n ." St at e v . K n i g h t , 1~ 5 N J . 233, 259 (1I 9b) (c i t at i o ~ x o mi t t e d ) ; s e e al s o St at e v .
Mo n i c a 1 ] 4 N UJ . 329, 345 (1989) (" Wi t h ~ • e g ar d t o l aw- e n f o r c e me n t ac t i v i t i e s , a s t at e
c o n s t i h ~ t i o n o r d i n ar i l y g o v e r n s o n l y t h e c o n d u c t o f t h e s t at e ' s o wn ag e n t s o r o t h e r s ac t i n g i u x d e r
c o l o r o f s t z t e l aw." ) . Mo n i c a s e t f o r t h t h e p r i n c i p l e t h at e v i d e n c e o bt ai n e d by f e d e F • al ag e n t s
38
~ ' /
a c t i n g on t h e i r own , i n c ompli a n c e wi t h t h e Un i t e d S t a t e s C on s t i t u t i on , i s a dmi s s i ble a g a i n s t a
de fe n da n t e ve n i f i t wa s ot ~ t ~ i n e d i n vi ola t i on of t l~ e Ne w J e r s e y C on s t i t u t i on . Mon i c a , s u r a ,
114 N UJ . a t 347-50. T li e S t a t e a r g u e s t h a t t h i s li mi t i n g pr i n c i ple i s r oot e d bot h i n t h e S u p~ •e ma c y
C la u s e of t l~ e fe de r a l c on s t i t u t i on a n d i n pr i n c i ple s of fe de x •a li s m a n d mu s t e x t e n d be y on d s e a r c h
a n d s e i z u r e . S e e , e . ~ . , Mc C u llot ~ Q 1~ v. _Ma r y la n d, 17 U. S . 316, 417, 4 L. Ed. 579, 604 (1819)
(h oldi n g t h a t t h e S t a t e of Ma r y la n d c ou ld n ot s pe c i fi c a lly t a r g e t t h e Ba n k of t i i e Un i t e d S t a t e s for
t a x a t i on ). T h e S t a t e , h owe ve r , wh e n qu e s t i on e d a t or a l a r g u me n t , c ou ld . n ot poi n t t o a n y c a s e s
ou t s i de of t h e s e a r c h a n d s e i z u r e c on t e x t t o s u ppox-t i t s a n a ly s i s . Mo~ •e ove z •, i n t h e c a s e of s e a r c h
a n d s e i z u r e la w, t h e Ne w J e r s e y S u pr e me C ou r t h a s a ls o fi e ld t h a t e vi de n c e s e i z e d by fe de z a l
offi c i a ls i n vi ola t i on of t h e Ne w J e ~ •s e y C ~ n s t i h i t i on wi ll r e ma i ki i n a dmi s s i ble i f t h os e fe de r a l
offi c i a ls we r e a c t i n g "u n de r c olor of s t a t e la w or a s a g e n t s of s t a t e la w-e n for c e me n t a u t h or i t i e s . "
Mon i c a , s t i p~ •a , 114 N ^J . a t 356. T h u s , wh e i x t h e S t a t e i s i n volve d, t h e r e i s s t a t e a c t i on .
T h e S t a t e fi u t h e r a r g u e s t h a t Le wi s i t s e lf di s a r ~ owe d t h e n ot i on t h a t t h e S t a t e
c on s t i t u t i on a l r i g h t i de n t i # i e d by t h a t C ou r t e x t e n de d t o fe de r a l a c t i on or s t a t u t e s . S e e Le r ~ vi s ,
s u x a , 188 N TJ . ~ t 4G0 n . 25 ("We n ot e t h a t wh a t we h a ve don e a n < i ~ ~ r l~ a t e ve r t h e le g i s la t u r e ma y
do wi ll n ot a lt e r fe de r a l la w, wh i c h on ly c oz fe i s ma r r i a g e r i g i r t s a n d pr i vi le g e s t o oppos i t e-s e x
ma r r i e d c ou ple s . "). In t h a t foot n ot e , t h e Le wi s C ou i-~ s pe c i fi c a lly c i t e d S e c t i on 3 of DQ MA.
T li x s c ou r t z e a ds t h i s s t a t e me r x t di ffc r c n t ly i la a n t h e S t a t e . T h e ~ ,e wi s C ou r t va s n ot i n g t h e
li mi t a t i on s a n d c on t e x t of i t s de c i s i on , r a t h e r t h a n e ; c pli c i t ly li mi t i n g i t s de c i s i on t o wh e t h e r
s a me-s e x c ou ple s we r e e n t i t le d t o s t a t e be n e fi t s . fln y t h i n g t h e Ne w J e r s e y S u pr e me C ou r t di d i n
2006 c ou ld n ot c h a n g e fe de r a l la w i n r e g a t ~ d t o s a me-s e x c ou ple s . Nor i s t h e r e a n y ot h e r
la n g u a g e i n Le vi s t h a t li mi t s t h e opi n i on t o Ne w J e r s e y r i g h t s a n d be n c ~ t s . Id. a t 457 ("We n ow
h old t h a t u n de r t h e e qu a l px •Ut e c t i on g u a r a n t e e of t h e Nc w J e r s e y C on s t i t u t i on ] , c ou ~ mi t fe d
39
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sane- sex c o u p l es mu st be af f o r d ed o n eq u al ter ms tl ~ e same r i g h ts and benef i ts enjo yed by
~ nar i • i ed o p p o si te- sex c o u ~ ~ es. " ) .
J u sti c e Kei u l ed y stated q u i te c l ear l y i n th e 1 1 st sentenc e o f Wi nd so r th at " [ t] h i s o p i ni o n
and i f s h o l d i ng ar e c o nf i ned to th o se l ar ~ v f u l mar r i ag es. " ~ V i nd so r , si _ i p r a, _ U. S. at _ , 1 33 S.
C t. at 2696, 1 86 L. Ed . 2d at 830. A " [ s] tate' s d ec i si o z i to g i v e T h i s c l ass o f p er so ns th e r i g h t to
mai 7 • y c o nf ei 7 • ed u p o n th em ~ t d i mi ty and stah i s o f i r r u nense i mp o r t[ , ] " a s t ~ ► t c ~ s to wl u c h f h e
f ed er al g o v er nment mu st g i v e d ef er enc e. I _ c i „ ~ U, S. at _ , l 33 S. C t. at 27 05, 1 86 L. Ed . 2d at
$26. P l ai ~ ati f f s d o no t al l eg e h er e th at th e State anu st f o r c e th e f ed er al ~ o v c r nment to p r o v i d e
benef i ts to c o u p l es i n c i v i l ani o ns. Rath er , th ey al l eg e th at th e v i o l ati o n o f th ei r c o nsti tu ti o nal
r i g h ts d er i v es f r o m a state ac ti o n, th at o f c r eati ng sep ar ate systems o f mai 7 i ag e and c i v i l u ni o ns,
d ep end ent u p o n sex u al o r i entati o n. T h i s c o u r t h o l d s th at c r eati o n o f a statu s th at af f ec ts wh eth er
s3z ne- sex c o u p l es c an ac c ess f ed er al benef i ts c o nsti tu tes ac ti o n o i i th e p ar t o f th e State. T h e
d etr i i i i ents p l ai nti f f s ex p er i enc e c an be ti ac ec l d i r ec tl y to a state ac ti o n—th at o f enac ti ng th e C i v i l
Uni o n A. c t r ath er th i n al l o wi ng same- sex r nai Y i ag e. As su c h , th e c o u r t f i nd s su f f i c i ent state
ac ti o n to make p l ai nti f f s' c au ses o f Ac ti o n l eg al l y c o g ni z aUl e u nd er bo th th e Uni ted . States and
New J er sey C o nsti h ~ ti o ~ ~ s,
1 V . T N T T XE WA, ~ ~ OF T HE WI NDSOT Z DEC I SI ON, P LAI NT T T +' r S I I A. V ~
SHOWN ` 1 ' XI AT C I V I L UNI ON ~ ' ART NEI t, S I N NSW J ~ ~ S~ X ARE ~ 3~ I NG
D~ NI ~ l l EQUAL AC C ESS ' T ' O FEDERAL I 3 +' NET I T S, T I 3US I 2~ QUI RI NG
T ~ 7 A' I ' T I I r I . 2. I GHT ' 1 ' O MARRY ] 3L EX' T r ND~ D ' ~ ` U SAME- SAX C OT J P LES
UNA;~ R ' C HL EQUAL P ROT ~ C ' ~ ' I ON GUARANT EE OT ~ ' Z~ ~ NSW J L+' I 2S~ Y
C ONST I ` 1 ' U' ~ ' I ON.
E \ ► -ti c l e I , P ax • ag r ap h 1 o f th e New J er sey C o nsti tu ti o n ~ ~ z o v i d es th at, " [ a] l l p er so ns z r e by
natu r e f r ee and i nd ep end ent, and h av e c er tai n natu r al and u nal i enabl e r i g h ts, amo ng wh i c h ar e
th o se o f enjo yi ng and d ef end i ng l i f e and l i ber ty, o f ac q u i r i ng , p o ssessi ng , and p r o tec ti ng
p r o p ea~ ty, and o f p u c sai ng ~ ► n d o btai ni ng saf ety and h ap p i ness. " Al th o u g h Ar ti c l e I , P ar ag r ap h 1
40
~ ' 1 ~ 1
does not ex p r essl y c onta i n th e ter m "equa l p r otec ti on, " New J er sey c our ts "h a ve c onstr ued th e
ex p a nsi ve l a n~ua ~e of th a t p r ovi si on a s g ua r a nteei ng [ th a t] fi r nc l a menta l r i g h t. " C a vi g l i a v.
Rona l Tour s of A r n. , sup r a , 178 N UJ . a t 472 ( c i ti ng Ur eenb ea • ~ v. I~i mmel x na n, 99 N. 7: 552, 568
( 1985)). A ~i a na l y si s of th e r i g h t to equa l tr ea tment u n d e ► • th e New J er sey C onsti tuti on di ffer s
sl i g h tl y fr om th e feder a l ttuee- ti er ed equa l p r otec ti on a na l y si s. Gx eenb er ~, sup r a , 99 N_J . a t 569.
Th e C OUI't must b a l a nc e: ( 1) th e na tur e of th e a ffec ted r i g h t; ( 2) th e ex tent to ~vl ti c h th e
g over nmenta l r estr i c ti on i ntr udes up on i t; a nd ( 3) th e p ub l i c need for th e r estr i c ti on. Lewi s,
sti p z a , 188 N_J . a t 444 ( c i ti ng . Gr eenb er g , sun~• a , 99 N UJ . a t SG7). Wh er e a sta h i te i s c h a l l eng ed
b ec a use i t "does not a p p l y evenh a ndedl y to si mi l a ~• l y si tua ted p eop l e, " th e mea ns sel ec fed b } ~ th e
Leg i sl a tuz e must "b ea r a sub sta nti a l r el a ti onsh i p to a l eg i ti ma te g over nment p ur p ose. " Lewi s,
sup r a , 188 N. J . a t 443; see a l so C a vi g l i a , si ~~, 178 N UJ , a t 472 74 ( ] l ol c l i ng th a t a New J er sey
sta tute b a r r i ng uni nsur ed dr i ver s :fr om x eeover y of i i onec or to~ni c da nn. a g es r esul ti ng fr om
a utomob i l e a . C C 1C 18I1tS C ~1C L T1QL vi ol a te Neti v J er sey 's equa l p r otec ti on g ua r a ntee, a s i t wa s a
r ea sona b l e a ttemp t b y th e Leg i sl a tur e to deter di l i nk dr i vi ng , th e use of a utomob i l es a s wea p ons,
a nd th e uni nsur ed use of a utomob i l es). A "r ent Ind sub sta nti a l r el a ti onsh i p b etween th e
c l a ssi fi c a ti on a c i d th e g over nmenta l p ur p ose wh i c h i t } ~ut~or tedl y sel ves" must b e sh own to
susta i n th e c l a ssi ~c a i i on. B a r one_v. _D e~~'t of Huma n Ser vi c es, l 07 N UJ . 355, 368 ( 1987) ( c i ta ti on
omi tted) ( h ol di ng th a t New J er sey 's Ph z r ma c euti c a l A ssi sta nc e A c t, wh i c h g r a nted b enefi ts to
fi na nc i a l l y el i g i b l e di sa b l ed r esi dents under si l ty- fi ve wh o r ec ei ved c er ta i n soc i a l sec ur i ty
p a y ments, r a ti ona l l y a dva nc ed a l eg i ti ma te g over nmenta l ob j ec ti ve, th a t of c onti nui ng th e
p r og r a m's fi sc a l i nteg r i ty a nd ma x i mi z i ng th e ~i ~nds used to p r ovi de b enefi ts); see a l so
Tr a utm~nn v. C l u~i sti e, 211 N_J . 300, 305 ( 2012) ( up h ol di ng a New J er sey l a ~v th a t r equi r ed
dr i ver s wi th c e~• ta i n ~~er mi ts a nd p r ob a ti ona z ~y l i c enses to di sp l a y dec a l s on th ei r veh i c l es, a s tl ~e
41
D A 041
" S t a t e l e a s a v i t a l a nd compe l l i ng i nt e r e s t i n ma i nt a i ni ng hi ghwa y s a f e t y by e ns u r i ng t ha t onl y
q u a l i f i e d dr i v e l s ope r a t e mot or v e hi ct e s " ) { ci t a t i on omi t t e d) .
The S u pr e me Cou r t a ddr e s s e d t he a ppl i ca t i on of t he Ne w J e r s e y Cons t i t u t i on' s e q u a l
pr ot e ct i on gu a r a nt e e t o s a me -s e Y cou pl e s i n Le wi s v . H l r r i s , s u pr a , 188 N UJ . 415, The Cou r t
e nga ge d i n t he t r ~ di t i ot ~ a l t l u • e e -pa r t ba l a t i ci ng t e s t de s c~ • i be d a bov e , a nd a ppl i e d t he " r e a l a nd
s u bs t a nt i a l r e l ~ ► t i o n s h i p " s t a nda r d. The Cou nt concl u cl e , d by s e Ct i ng f or t h a cl e a r i v l e : e nde r t he
Ne t i v J e r s e y Cons t i hi t i on, s a me-s e x cou pl e s mu s t be pr ov i de d a l l of t he r i ght s a nd be ne f i t s of
t na n9 a ge . I d. a t 463. Now, a s 1 ~ • e s u l t of t l ~ e Wi nds or de ci s i on a nd t he s u bs e c~ u e u t f e de r a l
i a ~ i pl e me nt ~ t i on of t ha t de ci s i on by f e de r a l a ge nci e s r e f u s i ng t o e x t e nd ma r i t a l be ne # i t s t o ci v i l
u ni on cou pl e s , t l ~ i s cou r t mu s t de ci de how t o a ppl y Le v ~ ~ i s , whi ch a e ma i ns good l a w. I nde e d,
ne i t he r s i de he r e q u e s t i ons t he bi ndi ng na t u r e of Le wi s on t hi s cou r t . As a r e s u l t , t he e q u a l
pr ot e ct i on a na l ys i s u nde r t he Ne s v J e r s e y Cons t i t u t i on i n t hi s ca s e s i mpl y z ~ e q u i x ~ e s a n a ppl i ca t i on
of t he Le v i s ma nda t e s i n . l i ght -of t he cha nge d ci r cu ms t a ~ i ce s br ou ght a bou t by Wi nds or .
~ . R e a i i i r e x ne nt s of Le wi s v . H ~ r i • i s .
I n Le wi s v . H a r r i s , s u ~ ~ a , 188 N~ J y 415, t he Ne w Te ~ • s e y S u pr e me Cou r t a ddr e s s e d
whe t he r Ar t i cl e I , P a r a g~ • a ph l of t he Ne w J e r s e y Coz ~ s t i h~ t i on r e q u i r e s t ha t commi t t e d s a l e s-s e x
cou pl e s ' who wi s h t o ma r r y be gi v e ~ ~ . t he s a me 1e g11 be ne f i t s , pr i v i l e ge s , a nd t i t l e of nl a r r i a ~ ; e a s
oppos i t e-s e x cou pl e s . ' I ` ha t Cou r t a ddr e s s e d ~ v he t he z commi t t e d s a me-s e a cou pl e s ha d a
cons t i t u t i ona l r i bht t o t he Ue ne f i t s s e ct pr i v i l e ge s a F f o~ • de d t o ma r r i e d h e t e ► • o s e x u a l cou pl e s u nde r
t he e q u a l pr ot e ct i on gu a r a nt e e s of t he Ne w J e i : s e y Cons t i t t 3t i on, a nd a ns we r e d t ha t q u e s t i on wi t h
1 r e s ou ndi ng " ye s " t ha t ga r ne r e d u na ni mou s a ppr ov a l f i oz n e v e r y me mbe r of t he Cou r t . Tl i e
Cou r t t he n cons i de r e d whe t he r t he DOS 11CS t 1C P a r t ne r s hi p f l ct (UYA) , whi ch di s t i ngu i s he d
be t we e n oppos i t e-s e x a nd s a me-s e x cou pl e s , a nd pr ov i de d t hos e s a me-s e x cou pl e s wi t l x s ome bu t
42
DA042
n o t a l l o f t h e r i g h t s o f m a n • i a g e , v i o l a t e d t h e p r i n c i p l e o f e q u a l ~ • i g h t s a n d b e n e fi t s fo r s a n e- s e x
c o u p l e s . X d . a t 4 4 7 - - 5 1 . Th e Co u r t n o t e d t h a t a l t h o u g h t h e DPA p ~ o v i d e c l s o m e x i g h t s t o s ~ m e -
s e x c o u p l c ; s , t h e r e we r e m a n y m a r r i a g e U e n e fi t s t h a t we r e s t i l l d e n i e d t o s a m e- s e x c o u p l e s ,
i n c l u d i n g o ~ v n e r s l i i p o f p r o p e r t y b y t e n a n c y o f t h e e n t i r e t y, c e r t a i n s u i v i v o r b e n e fi t s , b a c k wa g e s
o we d t o d e c e a s e d s p o u s e s , v a r i o u s t u i t i o n a s s z s t ~ n c e p r o g r a m s , t a x d e d u c t i o n s fo r m e d i c a l
e x p e n s e s , t h e t e s t i m o n i a l p r i v i l e g e , a n d m o ~ ' e . I d , a t 4 4 8- 4 9. I n a d d i t i o n , t h e Co t u ~ h e l d t h a t
t h e r e wa s l i t t l e t o n o p u b l i c n e e d £ o r d e n yi n g s a m e- s e x c o u p l e s t l ~ e r i g h t s a z i d p r i v i l e g e s o f
n ~ a r r i a ~ e . I d . a t X 5 2. Tl i ~ S t a t e h a d d e fe n d e d i t s s t a t u t o r y s c h e m e b y a r g u i n g a n e e d t o s u s t a i n
t h e t r a d i t i o n a l d e fi n i t i o n o f m a r r i a g e , b u t t h e Co u 1 ~ . fo u n d t h a t a a g t t m e n t u n p e r s u a s i v e i n t h e
c o n t e x t o f wh e t h e r c o u p l e s we r e e n t i t l e d t o t h e r i g h t s o f m a i 7 ~ a g e r a t h e r t h a n t h e l a b e l o f
m a r z i 1 ~ e . I d . a t 4 5 2. I n d e e d , t h e Co u r t h e l d t h a t , " [ t ] h e r e i s n o r a t i o n a l b a s i s fo r , o n t h e o n e
h a n d , g i v i n g g a ys a c i d l e s b i a ~ a s fu l l c i v i l r i g h t s i n t h e i r s t a t u s a s i n d i v i d u a l s , a n d , o n t h e o t l k e r ,
g i v i n g t h e m a n i n c o m p l e t e s e t o f r i g h t s wh e n t h e y fo l l o w t h e i n c l i n a t i o n o f t h e n s e x u a l
o r i e n t a t i o n a n d e n t e r i n t o c o i r u n i t t e d s a m e- s e x r e l a t i o n s h i p s . " I b i d . Mo r e o v e r , t h e Co u r t
s u c c i n c t l y s t a t e d t h a t :
U l t i m a t e l y, we h a v e t h e r e s p o n s i b i l i t y o f e n s a r i n g t h a t e v e r y Ne w J e r s e y c i t i z e n
r e c e i v e s t h e fi l l p r o t e c t i o n o f o u r S t a t e Co n s # i t u t i o n . I u l i g h t o f Pl a i n t i ffs ' s t r o n g
i n t e r e s t i n r i g h t s a n d b e x ~ e ~ t s c o m p a r a b l e t o t h o s e o f m a r r i e d c o u p l e s , t h e S t a t e
l e a s fa i l e d t o s h o w a p u b l i c h e e d fo r d i s p a r a t e t r e ~ t t n e n t . We c o n c l u d e
t h a t d e n yi n g t o c o ~ m n i t t e c l s a m e- s e a c o u ~ ~ l e s t h e f n a n c i a l a n d s o c i a l b e n e fi t s a n d
. p z-i v i l e ~ e s g i v e n t o t h e i r m a t 7 i e d h e t e r o s e x u a l c o u n t e r p a r t s b e a r s n o s u b s t a n t i a l
r e l a t i o n s h i p t o a l e g i t i m a t e g o v e r n ► n e n t a l p u ~ ~ o s e .
[ Le wi s , s a g a , 1 88 N_ J . a t 4 5 7 . )
Th e Co u r t c o n c l u d e d t h a t , " t l i e u n e q u a l d i s p e ~ i s a t i o n o ~ t i ~ h i s a n d b e n e fi t s t o c o t n a n i t t e d s a m e -
s e x p a r t n e r s c a n n o l o n g e r • b e t o l e t • a t e d u n d e r o u r S t a t e Co n s t i t u t i o n . " I d , a t 4 23.
~ I 3
DA04 3
~ 3 ~ ~ a 4-3 v o t e , ho we v e r, t he Co urt re j e c t e d t he c l a i m o f t he Le wi s p l a i n t i ffs t ha t t he re i s a
fi t i t d a m e n t a l ri g ht t o sa n e-se x m a rri a g e un d e r t he d uc p i ~ a c e ss g ua ra n t e e s o f t he Ne w J e rse y
G o n st i t ut i ~ n . The Co urt e x a m i n e d t he e v o l v i n b e x p a n si o n o f ri g ht s fo ~ ~ LG BT i n d i v i d ua l s i n
Ne w J e rse y , n o t i n g t ha t Ne ~ v J e rse y p z ~ o hi b i t s d i sc ri m i n a t i o n o n t he b a si s o f se x ua l o ri e n t a t i o n ,
a n t i 1 ~ 1 s b e e n a t t he fo re fro n t o f re c o g n i z i n g p a re n t a l n i g h# s o f sa m e-se w p u• t n e rs. I d . a t 444.
~ 3 e c a use t he Le wi s Co urt fo un d t ha t sa m e-se x c o up l e s we re e n t i t l e d t o a l l o f t he ri g ht s a n d
b e n e fi t s o f m a ra • i a g e , t he Co urt d i d n o t re a c h t he q ue st i o n o f whe t he r• Ne w J e rse y ' s Co n st i t ut i o n
re q ui re s g i v i n g c o m m i t t e d sa m e -sc x c o up l e s t he 1 1 b e 1 o f m a i x i a g e , wri t i n g t ha t " [ a ~ p ro p e r
re sp e c t fo r a c o o rd i n a t e b ra n c h o f g o v e rn m e n t c o un se l s t ha t we d e fe r un t i l i t ha s sp o k e n . " I e l . a t
460. T7 i us, t he Co un t d e fe rre d t o t he L e g i s l a t u ► • e t o d e i e i m i n e ho w t o p ro v i d e a l l o f t he ri g ht s a i d
b e n e fi t s o f m a rri a g e t o sa m e-se x c o up l e s, whe t he z • b y p a ra l l e l st a t ut o z y sc he m e o z • b y i n c l ud i n g
sa m e-se x un i o n s wi t hi n t he d e fi n i t i o n o f m a rri a g e . I d . a t 45 7 ---5 9 . The Co urt n o t e d t ha t , " [ a ] s
l o n g a s t he c l a ssi fi c a t i o n s d o n o t d i sc ri m i n a t e a rb i t i • l ri l y b e t we e n p e rso n s who a re si m i l A rl y
si t ua t e d , t he m a t t e r i s o n e o f l e g i sl a t i v e p re ro g a t i v e . " I d . a t 45 9 . The Le g i sl a hl re wa s g i v e n o n e
} ~ un d re d a n d e i g ht y d a y s fx ~ o i n t he d a t e o f t l ~ e d e c i si o n t o m a k e a c ho i c e b e t we e n c re a t i n g a
p a ra l l e l st a hrt o ry st ruc t ure o r e x t e n d i n g ~ ~ a i 7 • i a g e t o sa n e-se x c o up l e s. I d . a t ~ l 63 .
A t t he t i m e o f t he Co u~ -Y s d e c i si o z i i n 2006, o n l y Co n n e c t i c ut a n d Ve rm o n t p ro v i d e d fo r
sa m e-se x c i v i l un i o n s, a n d M a ssa c huse t t s p ro v i d e d fo r sa m e-se x m a rri l g e . I d . a t X 5 4. I n t ha
wa l e s o f Le wi s, t he Nc ~ v J e rse y I , e g i sl a hi re a d o p t e d t he Ci v i l Uz uo n A c t , t he re b y m a k i n g Ne w
J e rse y t he fo urt h st a t e t o e x t e n d t he ri g ht s a n d b e n e fi t s o f m ~ n i a g e t o sa m e-se x c o up l e s.
b . Tt a e Co n st i t ut i o n a l i t y o f Ne w J e rse y ' s D e c i si o n t o D e n y Sa m e-Se x Co up l e s
fl o c Li b e l o f " M l rri a g c " Po st-' W i n d so r.
I n W i n d so r, t he Sup re m e Co urt o f t he LJ c ~ i t e d St a t e s st ruc k d o wn Se c t i o n 3 o f t he D e fe n se
o f M a r~ ~ i a g c A c t , ~ v hi c t i ha d d e fi n e d m a ~ • i • i a g e a s b e t we e n o n e m a n a n d o n e w~ a n a n fo r t he
a ~
~ • ~ „
puzposes of fed er a l st a t ut es, r ul es, a nd r eg ul a t i ons. Wi nd sor , supr a , _ U. S. _, 133 S. C t . 2675,
186 L_~d . 2d 808. Wi nd sor h el d t h a t t h e St a t e of Ne~v 'Yor k h a d el ec t ed t o g i ve sa me- sex
c oupl es t h e r i g h t t o ma zr y, a nd t h er efor e, " c onfer r ed upon t h em a d i g ni t y a nd st a t us of i mmense
i mpor t . " I d . , __ U. S. a t _ _, 133 S. C t . a t 2681, 186 L. Ed . 2d ~t 82G. DOMA wa s found
unc onst i t ut i ona l bec a use i t si ng l ed out " a c l a ss of per sons d eemed by a St a t e ent i t l ed t o
r ec og ni t ~a n a nd pr ot ec t i on t o enh a nc e t l ~ei z~ own l i bez~t y" a nd " Smpose[d ] a d i sa bi l i t y on t h e c l a ss
by r efusi ng t o a c knowl ed g e a st a t us t h e St a t e fi nd s t o l i e d i g ni fi ed a nd pr oper . " I d . , ___ LJ , S, a t
~, 133 S. C t , a t 2695- 96, 186 L. Fd . 2d a t 830. As a r esul t o: F t h e Wi nd sor d ec i si on, l eg a l l y
ma r r i ed sa me- sex c oupl es wi l l h a vE a c c ess # o t h e si g h t s a nd pr i vi l eg es c ont a i ned i n t h e
a p~r ox i m~t el y one t h ousa nd st a h ~t es a nd fed e~• a l r eg ul a t i ons t h a t ma ke r efer enc e t o a per son's
ma r i t a l st a t us. I d . , ^ U. S. a t _, 133 S. C t . a t 2683, 186 L. Ed . 2d a t 816 9
P l a i nt i ffs a r g ue t h a t i n t h e wa ke of t h e Wi nd sor d ec i si on, t h e l a bel s of " ma r r i a g e" a nd
" spouse" d eni ed t o sa me- sex c oupl es by t h e t er ms of t h e C i vi l Uni on Ac t a r e no l ong er mer e
wor d s. T 'l ~a t Ac t d efi nes " c i vi l uni ons" a s t h e " l eg a l l y i eeng ni zed t ► n i f l n of t ~vo el i g i bl e
i nd i vi d ua l s of t h e sa me sex " wh o " sh a l l r ec ei ve t h e sa me benefi t s a r zd pr ot ec t i ons a nd be subj ec t
t o t h e sa me r esponsi bi l i t i es a s spouses i n a a na t 1i a g e. " N. J . S. A. 37: 1- 29. I n a d d i t i on, a n
i nd i vi d ua l i n a c i vi l i i i uon i s c a l l ed a " pa r t ner i n a c i vi l ut uon c oupl e. " I bi d . P l a i nt i ffs a r g ue t h a t
bec a use fed er a l st a t ut es a nd r eg ul a t i ons use t h e t ei 7ns " ma r r i a g e" a nd " spouse, " t h e fed er a l
benefi t s t h a t ~voul d be a vni l a Ul e t o t h em i f t h ey wer e l a wful l y ma r r i ed a r e not a va i l ~bl c t o t h em
~s pa r t ner s i n a c i vi l uni on. As suc h , pl a i nt i ffs c ont end t h a t t h e pa r a l l el st r uc t ur es o~ ma r r i a g e
9 Not r a i sed es a n i ssue h er e i s t h e d i st i nc t i on soi net i u~es ma d e i n fed er a l st a t ut es r efer enc i ng ui a ~r i a g e beh veen t h e
st a t e of c el ebr a t i on (wh er e t l ~e ma r r i a g e t ook pl a c e) a nd t h e st a t e of d omi c i l e (wh er e t h e c oupl e l i ves) . C ompa r e
Rev. Rul i ng 2013- ]7 (2013) ~vi t l i 38 U. S. C . § 103(c ) (st a t e ofd omi c i l e r ul e for vet er a ns' benefi t s) ; 17 U. S, C . y 101
{ c opy~• i g h t s) ; 2) C . P . R. § 825. 122 (r MLA) . [t i s possi bl e t h a t sa me- sex c oupl es u~ Ne~v l er sc y ~vh o g et ma r r i ed i n a
d i ffer ent st a t e i . e. , New Yor k or Del a ~va r c ) , ma ybe el i g i bl e for • t h ose fed er a l benc Ei t s i f t h e a g enc i es r el y on t h e
st a t e of c el ebr a t i on 1'or el i g i bi fi r y for ma r r i a g e benefi t s.
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a c i d c i v i l t n ~ i o n s i t x New J er s ey n o l o n g er c o mpo r t wi t h t he New J er s ey C o n s t i t u t i o n u n d er t he
ho l d i n g o f Lewi s bec a u s e, i n o ~ ~ d er fo r s a me- s ex c o u pl es t o a c c es s a l ( o f t he r i g ht s a n d ben efi t s o f
i n a i 7 • i a g e, Ne~ v J er s ey mu s t a l l o w t hen t o l eg a l l y d u n e t hei r r el a t i o n s hi ps ~ s ma r x i ~ g e.
In r es po n s e t o 1 ' l a i z r t i ffs ' a r g i mi en t s u n c l a r Lewi s po s t - W i n d s o z • , t he S t a t e a r g u es t ha t
W i n d s o z ' i n fa c t ma n d a t es t ha t s a me- s ex c o u pl es i n c i v i l u t u o n s r ec ei v e t he s a me fed er a l ben efi t s
t o whi c h ma r r i ed c o u pl es a r e en t i t l ed . The S t a t e po i n t s t o t he l a n g u a g e, r ea s o n i n g , a n d ho l d i n g
o f t he W i n d s o r d ec i s i o n , a r g u i n g t hl t i t mu s t be i n t er pr et ed t o a ffo r d s a me- s ex c o u pl es i n c i v i l
u n i o n s a l l o f t he s a me fed er a l E ~ en e~ t s a s ma r r i ed c o u pl es . The S t a t e a r g u es t ha t W i n d s o r
a c l . n o wl ed g es s a me- s ex c i v i l u n i o n s a s eq u i v a l en t t o s a me- s ex ma i 7 i a g es . S ee W i n d s o r , s u pr a ,
U,S . a t . ^, l 33 S . C t . a t 2683, X $6 X ,. E d . 2c I a t 81 6 ( "[DOMA' s ] d efi n i t i o n a l pr o v i s i o n d o es .
n o t by i t s t en o r s fo r bi d S t a l es fr o m en a c t i n g l a ws pei 7 n i t t i n g s a n r z e- s ex ma r r i a g es o r c i v i l u n i o n s
o r pr o ~ ~ i d i n g s t a t e ben efi t s t o r es i d en t s i n t ha t s t a t u s . ") ; ~ d . , _ U,S . a t _, 1 33 S . C t . a t 2692, 1 86
I,. E ~ i . 2d a t 826 27 ( `By i t s r ec o g n i t i o n o f t he v a l i d i t y o f s a me- s ex i n a i r i a g es per ~ o i ~ n ed i n o t hez •
j u r i s d i c t i o n s a n d t hen by a u t ho r i z i n g s a me- s ex u n i o n s a n d s a me- s ex ma i x i a g es , New Ya r k
s o u g t r t t o g i v e fi u t l i er pr o t ec t i o n a c i d d i g n i t y t o t ha t bo n d . ") . I- Io wev er , t hes e t wo r efer en c es t o
c i v i l u n i o n s d o n o t eq u a t e c i v i l u n i o n s t o ma r r i a g e, bu t l a t her r efer en c e t he fa c t s t ha t DOMA d i c k
n o t pr ev en t s t a t es fr o m en a c t i n g c i v i l u n i o n o r ma r r i a g e s t a hr t es , a n d t ha t New Yo t k r ec o g n i z ed
s a me- s ex c i v i l u n i o n s pr i o z • t o z ec o g n . i z i n ~ s a me- s ex ma r r i a g es . In d eed , bo t h r efer en c es
empha s i z e t he d i s t 3n c t i o i i bet ween t he t wo s t a t u s es , r a t her t ha n t l i ei i • eq u i v a l en c e.
In es s en c e, t he S t a t e a t t empt s t o fo i s t a l l c o n s t i t u t i o n a l r es po n s i bi l i t y fo r t he i n el i g i bi l i t y
o f c i v i l u n i o n c o u pl es fo r s o me fed er a l ben efi t s o n t he fed er a l g o v er i u n en t , a r g u i n g t ha t i t i s t he
fed er a l g o v er n men t t ha t i s i mpi • o pet-l y n o t d efer r i n g t o s t a t e 1 1 w d efi n i t i o n s a n d i s t her e~ o t • e
v i o l a t i n g pt a i n t i fl s ' c o n s t i t u t i o n a l s i g ht s . The S t a t e' s a r g u men t i s es s en t i a l l y a r ei t er a t i o n o n t he
46
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m e r i t s of i t s a r g ~ u n e u t t h a t " p l a i i ~ . t i ffs h a ve s u e d t h e wr on g de fe n da n t , " wh i ch t h e S t a t e r a i s e d
wh e n con t e n di n g t h a t t h e r e i s n o s t a t e a ct i on h e r e . Th e S t a t e a r g u e s t h a t s i n ce dom e s t i c r e l a t i on s
a r e a ~ x a r e a Th a t h a s " l on g be e n r e g a r de d a s a vi x • t u a l ~ y e x cl u s i ve p r ovi n ce of t h e S t a t e s , " t h e
fe de r a l g ove n u i i e n t wi l l a n d m u s t l ook t o t h e l a w of Ne w 3 e r s e y t o de ci de wl ~ o i s h u s ba n d a n d
wi fe or p a r e n t e n d ch i l d. 1 P W i ~ i ds or , s u r a , _ U . S . , ~ t _, 1 3 3 S ~ Ct , a t 2691 , 1 86 L. Ed. 2d a t
81 4. Be ca u s e t h e Ci vi l U n i on p ct , N. J . S . A . 3 7:1 -3 3 , r e q u i r e s t h a t wh e n e ve r l e g a l r e fe r e n ce i s
a n a de t o m a t x i a g e , h u s ba n d, wi fe , s p ou s e , fa m i l y , a n d s o on , " t h e s a m e s h a l l i n cl u de a ci vi l
u r i . i on , " t h e S t a t e con t e n ds t h a t t h e fe de z a l g ove r n m e n t m u s t r e cog n i z e a ci vi l u n i on a s a z n a r i 7a g e
a n d p a r t n e r s t o t h a t ci vi l u n i on a s s p ou s e s for t h e p u r p os e s of fe de r a l be n e fi t s .
T1 2e Ne w J e r s e y A t t oz n e y G e n e r a l ' s vi e w, h owe ve r , i s n ot bi n di n g on t h e fe de r a l
g ove r n i n e n t , wh i ch h a s a l r e a dy a ct e d t t u ou g l a s e ve r a l a g e n ci e s t o e x cl u de ci vi l u n i on p a r t n e r s
fr om e l i g i bi l i t y for fe de r a l m a r i t a l be t x e fi t s . A s di s cu s s e d a bove , t h e O ffi ce of ~ ' e r s or u i e l
M~ n a g e m e i ~ t , D e ~ ~ a z • t m e i ~ t of S t a t e , t h e D e p a r t m e n t of La bor , t h e I n t e r n a l Re ve n u e S e r vi ce , a n d
t l ~ e Ce n t e r s for Me di ca i d a n d Me di ca r e , h a ve s t a t e d # h a t t h e y wi l l n ot be r e cog n i z i n g ci vi l
u n i on s , a n d ~ • a t t a e r wi l l be con fi n i n g e l i g i bi l i t y for be n e fi t s t o s ou s e s i n l a wfu l m a r r i a g e s .
Not a bl y , m a n y of t h e p r on ou n ce m e n t s e s t a bl i s h i n g t h e s e p ol i ci e s m e n t i on con s u l t a t i on wi t h t h e
A t t or n e y G e n e r a l of t h e U n i t e d S t a t e s . . I t i s fa i r t o i n fe r , t h e n , t h a t l e g a l a dvi ce wa s p r ovi de d i o
t h e s e a g e n ci e s r e g a r di n g t h e a p p r op t • i a t e a p p l i ca t i on of t h e W i n ds oz • de ci s i on . I n de e d, t h e s e
p ol i ci e s a r e con s i s t e n t wi 1 1 1 t h e e x p l i ci t l a n g u a g e of V di n ds or l i m i t i ~ i g i t s r e a ch t o s a m e-s e x
1 0 I n s u p p or t of t h i s p r op os i t i on , t i i e S t a t e p oi n t s t o ~ r e ce n t de ci s i on , Coz e n O ' Con n or , P . C. v. Tobi t s , No. 1 1 -0 0 45 ,
20 1 3 U . S . D i s t . L~ XI S 1 0 5 5 0 7 ( I ; . D . P a . J t t l y 29, ?0 1 3 ). Th e r e , t h e cou r t n ot e d t h a t i f a s t l t e — t h e r e , ] I l i n oi s —
r e cog n i z e s a p a r t y a s t h e " s u r vi vi n g s p ou s e " for t h e p u r p os e s of ERI S A be u cft t s , t h e fe de r a l g ove r n m e n t m u s t do t h e
s a m e . I c1 , a t *20 . Howe ve r , t h e S t a t e ' s r e l i a n ce on t h i s ca s e i s m i s g u i de d. La Coz e n , t l ~ e cou r t n ot e d t h a t a n J l l i n oi s
p r oba t e cou r t h a d s p e ci fi cTl l y de t e r m vi e d t h ~ l u n de r s t a t e l a ~ v, t h e p l a i n t i ff, ~ vh o va s Le g a l l y m a r r i e d t o h e r p a r t n e r
i n Ca n a da , wa s t h e " s u r vi vi n g s p ou s e " of h e r p a r t n e r . ' I 7i i s h ol di n g l e d t o t h e de t e m ~ i n a t i on i n Coz e n t h a t t h e
p l a i n t i f2' wa s a l s o t h e " s u r vi vi n g s p ou s e " u n de r t h e ER[S A p l a n . Tn t h i s ca s e , h owe ve r , t h e i s s u e i s t h a t u n l i ke t h a t
I l l i n oi s p r oba t e cou l -t , Nc~ v J e r s e y e x p r e s s l y de i t i e s u s e of t h e La be { " s p ou s e " t o s a m e-s e x coi i p l cs . Coz e n i n vol ve d
fe de r a l de fe r e n ce t o I l l i n oi s ' s i n cl u s i ve de F n i t i oi i of" s p ou s e " for a de t e i m i va t i on offe de r a l be n e fi t s — h e r e , Ne w
J e r s e y ' s e x cl u s i ve de fi n i t i on of " s p ou s e " i s ch a l l e n g e d ~ s vi ol a t i ve of t h e Ne w J e r s e y Con s t i t u t i on .
47
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c o u ~ ~ i e s l e g a l l y m ~ u ~ r i e d i n S11tCS c ~ U t~ l O T l ' L l l l g SL 1CI1 U r i t0115: "[t]hi s o p i n i o n a n d i ts ho l d i n g . ~ tr e
c o n # f i n e d to tho s e l a wf u l m a r r i a g e s . " Wi n d s o r , s u r a , ^' U . S. a t ~ , 133 S. Ct, a t 2696, 1$6 L .
V i c . 2d a t 830. Mo r e o ve r , the r e c e n t f e d e r a l p r o n o u n c e m e n ts ha ve the b e n e f i t o f c o n s i s te n t a n d
s tr a i g htf o r wa r d a p p l i c a ti o n . T he z • e i s , f o r e xa m p l e , n o c o m m o n l y u n d e r s to o d d e f i n i ti o n a r j u s t
wha t a "c i vi l u n i o n " m e a n s . D i f f e r e n t s ta te s u s e Q i e te i 7 n d i f f e r e n tl y . Co m a xe N . J . S. A . 37 :1-29
( d e f i n i n g "c i vi l u n i o n " a s a u n i o n b e twe e n m e m b e a s o f the s a m e s e x) wi th 7 50 Ii . e o z n ~ . Sta t.
7 5/10 ( 2013) ( d e f i n i n g "c i vi l u tu o n " a s a tm i o n b e twe e n a n y p e r s o n s , i n c l u d i n g tho s e o f tl i e s a m e
o r o p p o s i te s e x). t~ ~ i d Ca l i f o z • n i a u s e d the te r m "d o m e s ti c p a r tn e r s hi p " to c o n f e r the r i g hts o f
m a z r i a g c o n s a m e-s e x p a r tn e r s b e f o r e r e c e n t c o u r t a c ti o n z e q u i r e d tha t m a r r i a g e b e e xte n d e d to
s a m e -s e Y c o u p l e s . Ca l . Fa m . Co c l e § 297 to -299. 6 ( l l e e r i n g 2Q 13); s e e a l s o H o l l i n g s ti vo r th v.
P• e ~ x• y , s e r a , ~ U . S. _, 133 S. Ct 2652, 18G L . Ed , 2d 7 68.
Whi l e xt i s tr u e tha t o n e o f the p o te n ti a l r e m e d i e s tha t e xi s ts to c u r e the ha r m i d e n ti f i e d b y
p l a i n ti f f s i s f o c • the f e d e r a l ~ o ve x~ u n e n t to r e c o g n i z e N e w J e xs e y c i vi l u n i o n s a s e q u i va l e n t to
m a r xi a g e f o r the p u r p o s e o f a l l f e d e r a l z a ~ a r i ta l r i g hts , p z z v l o g e s e n d b e n e f i ts , tha t r e m e d y i s
t~ e y a i d the j u r i s d i c ti o n o f thi s c o tn-t to c o m p e l e n d wo u l d l i k e l y xe c ~ u i r e p l a i n ti f f s to i n i ti a te a
m u l ti tu ~ te o f l a ws u i ts wi th u n c e r ta i n o ti tc o i n e s o x• wa i t i n d e f i n i te l y f o z ( < o ~ ~ g t• e s s to a c t. In d e e d ,
c o u n s e l f o r tl ~ e Sta te s p e c i f i c a l l y n o te d a t o r a l a ~ • g u m e n t -tha t the Sta te i ts e l f c a n z xo t b r i n g a n
a c ti o n a g a i n s t the f e d e r a l g o ve r n m e n t tm c i e r i ts p r n • e ~ ~ s p a h~ i a e p o we r s s e e k i n g e q u a l tr e a tm e n t
f o r N e w J e r s e y c i vi l u n i o ~ i c o u p l e s . ~ ~ Co n s e q u e n tl y , tl a c l i ti g a ti o n b u r d e n to c ha l l e n g e the
p o l i c i e s a n c { d e te i 7 n i n ~ i ti o n s o :f f e d e ~ • a l a g e n c i e s tha t e xc l u d e c i vi l u n i o n p a r tn e r s wo u l d f a l l
s q u a r e l y o n the s ho u l d e a ~ s o f s a m e -s e x c o u p l e s i n N e w J e r s e y . A c c o r d i n g to the Sta te , i i wo u l d
b e u p to p l a i n ti f f s to c l ~ a l l e i i ~ ;e e ve r y a g e n c y r u l e , r e g u l a ti o n a n d p a l i e y tha t d o e s i ~ o t p r o vi d e
~ ~ ' I7 ~ e p n r e »s p n tr i n e d o c tr i n e p r e c l u d e s a Sta te f r o m i n i ti a ti n g a l a ti vs u i t wi tho u t a "q u a s i -s o ve r e i g n " i n te r e s t o f i ts
o wn . A l f r e d L . Sn ~ p _n . _8c So n v. P. R . , 458 U . S 592, G00, 102 S. Ct. 3260, 32CS, 7 31,. F. d . 2d 995, 1003 ( 1932).
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~ ' 1~ :
c i v i l utuon p a r tne r s e q ua l a c c e s s i o f e d e r a l ma n•i a ge b e ne f i ts . Ad d r e s s i ng ~ s i mi l a r c i r c ums ta nc e
und e r th e Dome s ti c I ' a z •tne r s h i p Ac t, th e Le wi s Cout~ note d th e " c os tl y a nd ti i ue c ons umi ng"
p r oc e s s e s f or z d op ti on r e q ui r e d of s a me -s e Y p a r tne r s th a t wa s not r e q ui ~' e c i of op p os i te-s e x
ma t~t~i e d c oup l e s . Th e d i s c r i mi na tor y b ur d e n of th a t l i ti ga ti on c os t wa s j us t one . of th e i ne q ua l i ti e s
th e Le v i s Co~i r t s ough t to r e d r e s s . S i mi l a r l y , th e Uni te d S ta te s S up z e ~ne Cour t note d i n Tr ox e l
v . G r a nv i l l e , 530 U. S: 57, 75, l 20 S . Ct. 2054, 2065, 147 L. Ed . 2d 49, 62 (2000), th a t " th e
l i ti ga ti on c os ts i nc ur r e d b y G r a nv i l l e on h e r tr i p th r ough th e Wa s h i ngton c our t s y s te m a nd to th i s
Cour t a r e wi th out n d oub t a l x-e a d y s ub s ta nti a l " a nd r e ma nd i ng ~v outd f or c e " th e p a r ti e s i nto
a d d i ti ona l . l i ti ga ti on th a t woul d f i u~th e r b ur d e n G r a nv i l l e ' s p a r e nta l r i gh t. " Me r e too, p l a i nti f f s
woul d s uf f e r h a i d s l i . i p i tx th e f or m of a c os tl y a i ~c l ti me -c ons umi ng l i ti ga ti ol ~ b ur d e n not r e q ui r e d
of op p os i te-s e x ma r r i e d c oup l e s s h oul d th i s c our t wi th h ol d r e v i e w e nd i ns i s t th a t p l a i nti f f s
p u~•s ue b e ne f i t-b y-b e ne f i t l i ti ga ti on a ga i ns t th e f e d e r a l l ge nc i e s . We i e p l a i nti f f s f or c e d to wa i t
P or th e r e s ul ts of f e c i e z a l l i ti ga ti on or c ongr e s s i ona l a c ti on, th e y woul d r e ma i n i ne l i gi b l e f or ma ny
f e d e r a l ma r i ta l b e ne f i ts , a l l wh i l e up e nd i ng ti me a nd mone y on p i e c e i ti e a l l i ti ga ti on th a t ma y or
~i ~a y not h e s uc c e s s f ul a nd ma y or ma y not p r od uc e uni f or m a l tl i ngs . S uc l ~ f l r e s ul t i s i nc ons i s te nt
wi th th e e gr i a l i ty of b e ne F ~ts gua r a nte e d to s a ne-s e x c oup l e s b y Le wi s .
' r h e S ta te a c knowl e d ge d i n i ts b r i e f th a t " a s i z e a b l e , b ut i nd e te r r ~ti na te , numb e r o:f th e
ov e r 1,000 b e ne f ts a nd ~~e s p ons i b 3l i ti e s ti a a t we a ~e i na p p l i c a b l e to c i v i l uni on c oup l e s b e c a us e of
DOMA a r e gl ow a v a i l a b l e to th e m . . . . " (e mp h a s i s a d d e d ). 12 ~-I owe v e r , Le ti v i s c ouns e l s th a t
11 Th e e f f i c a c y of th i s :a s s e r ti on i s b e l i e d s ome wh a t Uy th e f a c t th a t th e ma j or i ty of f e d e r a l a ge nc i e s a nnounc i ng
p ol i c i e s p os t-Wi nd s or h a v e l i mi te d f e d e r a l b e ne f i ts to l e ga l l y ma r r i e d s a me-s e x c oup l e s . Mor e ov e r , i f , a s th e S ta te
a r gue s , s a me-s e x c oup l e s a r e a b •e nd ~~ e nti tl e d to f e d e r a l b e ne f i ts a [ l e r Wi nd s or , th e r e ti v oul d b e no ne e d f or Congr e s s
to c ons i d e r • p r op os e d l e gi s l a ti on th a t woul d e x te nd f e d e r a l b e ne f i ts to c i v i l uni on c oup l e s . S e _ c , e '~. , Ce c ~e r a l B e ne f i ts
d ua l i ty Ac t, H ER. 28 3~i , 113th Cong. , 1 5` S e c s . (2013); Ac t to P r ov i d e Ce r ta i n T3e ne f i ts Lo Dome s ti c P a r tne r s of
F e d c i ~a i Emp l ~e e s , H,_ R_ 3135, 113th Cong. (2013); P r e s s Re l e a s e , S e na tor Ta mmy B a l d wi n, U. S . S e na tor s T1mnt)~
B a l d wi n a nd S us a n Col l i ~i s I ntr od uc e B i p a r ti s a n Le gi s l a ti on i o P r ov i d e I ' a i me s s to Dome s ti c P Ar tne r s (S e p t. I 9,
2013), a v l i l ~b l e a t h ttp :/ h v ~v ~v . Ua l d + v i n. s e na te . gov / p r e s s -r e l e a s e s / us -s e na tor s -ta mmy -b a l d ~v i n-l nd -S us a n-c ol l i ns -
49
"committed same- sex cou p l es mu st b~ of # ' oz ded on eq u al ter ms th e same r ig h ts and benef its
enj oy ed by mar r ied op p osite- sex cou p l es: ' Lewis, su r a, 188 N UJ . at 415. I ` ~I ot a siz eabl e aanou nt
of th e benef its, bu t al l of th e same benef its. Ever y day th at th e S tate does t3 ot al l ow same- se: c
cou p l es to mar r y , ~~l aintif f s ir e being f ar med, in viol ation of th e cl ear dir ective of Le~. vis, S ee
El r od, su p r a, X27 C J . S , at 3 73 , 96 S . C t. at 2690, 49 L. Ed. at 56S ( h ol ding th at th e l oss of D ist
A tnendmel at f r eedoms, even f or a sh or t p er iod of time, "u nq u estionabl y constitu tes iix ep ar abl e
inj u r y ") . P l aintif f s a~• e inel ig ibl e f or many f eder al mar ital benef its at th is moment, and th eir ~• ig h t
to eq u al p r otection i7nder th e New J er sey C onstitu tion sh ou l d not be del ay ed u ntil same
u ndeter minabl e f iitu r e time. I ~z th e f ace of an inj u r y of constitu tional p x op o~~tions, th e cou r t mu st
act. to ensu r e th e contint~in~ vital ity of Levis.
Wh il e th e cu r r ent New J er sey statu tor y str u ctu r e ch al l eng ed by p l aintif f s h ad been in
p l ace £ or y ear s bef o~• e Windsor was decided, th e cou r t eannat ig nor e th at th e S tate' s ct~r r enf
sy stem or cl assif ication assig ns to satne- sex cou p l es 1 l abel distinct f r om mar r iag e—a l abel th at
now dir ectl y af f ects th e avail abil ity of f eder al mar r iag e benef its to th ose cou p l es. ~r ol l owing th e
Windsor decisio~x of th e United S tates S u ~~~e~ne C ou r t end th e su bseq u ent imp l ementation of T h at
decision by sevez ~al f eder al ag encies, same- sex cou p l es ar e onl y af f or ded th e same r ig h ts and
benef its enj oy ed by op p osite- sex niaix • ied cou p l es if th ey ar e maix-ied. S ince Netiv J er sey
cu r r entl y denies man• iag e to same- sex cou p l es, same- sex civil u iu ou p ar tner s in New J er sey ir e
inel ig ibl e f or man} ~ f eder al mar ital be~ief its. T ' h e p a~~al l el 1eg 11 str u ctu r es c~• eated by th e New
J ec• sey Leg isl atu r e th er ef or e do l ong er p z ~ovide same- sex cou p l es with eq u al access to th e tig h ts
and benef its enj oy ed by mai7• ied h eter osex u al cou p l es, viol ating th e mandate o£ Lewis and th e
New J er sey C onstih ition' s eq u al p r otection g u a~' antee. Under th ese cir cu mstances, t} ie cu r x ent
intr odu ce- bip ar tisan- l eg isl ation- to- p r ovide- f au • ness- to- domestic- p ar tner s ( as cited by th e S tate in its su p p l emental
br ief ing ) .
DA 050
i n e q u a l i t y v i s i t e d u pon s a me- s e x c i v i l u n i on c ou pl e s of f e n d s t h e Ne w J e r s e y C on s t i t u t i on ,
c r e a t e s a n i n c ompl e t e s e t of r i g h t s t h a t Le v i s s ou g h t t o pr e v e n t , a n d i s n ot c ompa t i bl e wi t h "a
r e a s on a bl e c on c e pt i on of ba s i c l n u n a n d i g n i t y . " Le wi s , s u r a 188 N_ 7 . a t 452. A t x y d oc t r i n e
u r g i ~ a g c a u t i on i i i c on s t i t u t i on a l a d j u d i c a t i on i s ov e ~ ~ c ome by s u c h a c l e a r d e n i a l of e q u a l
t ~ • e a t r n e n t .
~ 3 e c a i l s e pl a i n t i f f s , a n d a l l s a me - s e s c ou pl e s i n Ne w J e r s e y , c a n n ot a c c e s s ma n y f e d e r a l
ma r i t a l be ~ i e f t s a s pa r t n e r s i n c i v i l u c u on s , t h i s c ou z • t h ol d s t h a t Ne w J e r s e y ' s d e n i a l of ma z x ~ i a g e
t o s a me- s e x c ou pl e s n ow v i ol a t e s A r t i c l e 1, Pa r a g r a ph 1 of t h e Ne w J e r s e y C on s t i t u t i on a s
i n t e r pr e t e d by t h e Nc w J e r s e y Su pr e me C ou r l i n Le v i s v . H a i ~ • i s . Th e e q u a l i t y d e ma n d e d by
~ . e ~ v i s v . H l r r i s n ot i v r e q u i r e s t h a t s a me - s e : c c ou pl e s i n Ne w J e r s e y be a l l owe d t o ma ~ ~ t ' y . A s a
t e s u t t , t h e c ou r t wi l l g r a n t pl a i n t i . f ~ s ' mot i oz i f or s u mma r y j u d g me n t z n d wi l l or d e r t l ~ e St a t e t o
pe r mi t a n y a n d a l l s a me- s e x c ou pl e s , wh o ot h e r wi s e s a t i s f y t h e r e q u i r e me n t s f or c i v i l ma r r i a g e ,
t o ma i 7 • y i n Ne w J e r s e y .
Si n c e pl a i n t i f f s h a v e s h own a n e q u a l pr ot e c t i on v i ol a t i on of t h e Ne w J e r s e y C on s t i t u t i on
t h a t wz l l be r e me d i e d by t h e c ou n t ' s or d e r r e q u i r i n g t h e St a t e t o pr ov i d e s a me- s e x c oc i pl e s wi t h
a c c e s s t o c i v i k ma r r i a g e , t h e c ou ~ • t wa l l n ot pa s s u pon t h e e on s t i h i t i on a l i t y of t h e C i v i l Un i on A c t
i t s e l f In d e e d , pl a i n t i f f s ' c ompSa i n t a s k s f or d e c l a r a t or y a n d i n j u n c t i v e r e l i e f h ol d i n g t h a t s a me -
s e x c ou pl e s g a v e t h e r i g h t t o ma r r y s a i d d oe s n ot s pe c i f i c a l l y r e q u e s t i n v a l i d a t i on of t h e C i v i l
Un i on A c t . Mor e ov e r , be c a u s e t l ~ e c ou r t ' s r u l i n g i s ba s e d on Ne w J e r s e y c on s t i t u t i on a l g r ou n d s
a n d px • ov i d e s t h e r e l i e t ~ s ou g h t by pl a i n t i f f s , t h e c ou n t wi l l n ot r e a c h t h e i r f e d e r a l e q u a l pr ot e c i i oi ~
c l a i m. Gi l d e d by t h e l x • i n c i pl e t h a t "c ou r t s of t h i s s t a t e wi l l n ot d e t e r mi n e c on s t i t u t i on a l
q u e s t i on s u n l e s s a bs ol u t e l y i mpe ~ • a t i v e t o z ~ e s ol v e i s s u e s i n Li t i g a t i on , " t h e c ou r t wi l l e n t e r • f i n a l
j u d g me n t i n f a v or of pl a i n t i f f s o ► i t h e St a t e c on s t i t u t i on a l c i a i n n s e t f or t h i n c ou n t on e , a n d t i v i l l
Sl
DA 051
d i s m i s s t h e f e d e a • a l c o n s t i t u t i o n a l c l a i m s e t f o r t h i n c o u n t t l u e e a s m o o t , Se e C i t y o f C a m d e n v .
~Vl u t m a n , 325 N . J . Su p e r . 236, 243 (Ap p . Di v . 1 9 9 9 ) ; s e e a l s o . Wo r t h i n gt o n v . F a u v e ~• , 8$ N _ _ . J .
1 83, l 9 2 (1 9 82) ("a n u n n e c e s s a r y d e c i s i o n o n c o t i s t i i u t i o n a l i s s u e s s h o u l d Ue a v o i d e d . ") ;
Sh a ba zz v . N e w J e r s e y. De p t . o f C o r r e c t i o n s , 385 N . J . Su p e r . 1 1 7, 1 2}-1 22 (Ap p . Di v . 2006) ("A
c a s e i s m o o t i f t h e d i s p u t e d i s s u e wa s r e s o l v e d , a t l e a s t wi t h r e s p e c t t o t h e p a r t i e s wh o i n s t i t u t e d
t h e l i t i ga t i o n . ") (q u o t i n g Ad v a n c e T n c . v . Mo n t go m e r y T o m , 351 N ,J . Su f f e r . 1 60, 1 66 Ap p . Di v .
2002) ) . T h e r e f o r e , s u m n i ~i y ju d gm e n t wi l l Ue gr a n t e d f o r p l a i n t i f f s a s t o c o u n t o n e o f # l i e
c o m p l a i n t , c o u i r t t h r e e wi l l be d i s t ~~i s s e d a s m o o t , a n d f i n a l ju d gm e n t wi l l Ue e n t e r e d i n f a v o r o f
p l a i n t i f f s .
T o a l l o w t h e St a t e a d e q u a t e t i m e t o p ze p a r e t o e f f e c t u a t e t h i s r u l i n g o r t o p i i r s i i e a p p e l l a t e
r e m e d i e s , t h e c o u n t d i r e c t s t h a t i t f l a k e e f f e c t a n Oc t o be r 21 , 201 3.
C ON C LUSYON
P l a i i ~t i ~' f s ' m o t i o n f o r s u m m a r y ju d gm e n t i s gr a n t e d . Un d e r t l ~e N e w J e r s e y Su p r e m e
C o u r t ' s o p i n i o n i n I e wi s v . H a r r i s , 1 88 N _ J . A~1 5 (2006) , s a m e-s e x c o u p l e s a r e e n t i t l e d i v t h e
s a n e r i gh t s a n d be n e f i t s a s o p p o s i t e-s e x c o u p l e s . T h e Le wi s C o u r t h e l d t h a t t l ~e N e ~~ J e r s e y
C o n s t i h i t i o n r e q u i r e d t h e St a t e t o e i t h e r gr a n t s a m e-s e x c o u p l e s t h e r i gh t t o m a r r y o r c r e a t e a
p a r a l l e l s t a t u t o r y s t r u c t u r e t h a t a l l o ws t h o s e c o u p l e s t o o bt a i n a l l t h e s a m e r i gh t s a n d Ue n e f i t s
t h a t a r e a v a i l a bl e t o o p p o s i t e -s e ; c m a r r i e d c o u p l e s , T h e N e ~v J e ~• s e y Le gi s l a t u r e c h o s e t h e l a t t e r •
o p t i o n wh e n i t a d o p t e d t h e C i v i l Un i o n Ac t . Si n c e t h e Un i t e d St a t e s Su p r e m e C o u r t d e c i s i o n i n
Un i t e d St a t e s v . Wi n c i s ~r , V U. S. _ , 1 . 33 S. Lt . 2675, 1 8G L. Ed . 2d 808 (201 3) , i n v a l i d a t e d t h e
De f e n s e o f Ma r ~• i ~~e Ac t , s e v e r a l f e d e r a l a ge n c i e s h a v e l c t e d t o e x t e n d m a r i t a l be n e f i t s t o s a m e -
s e x m a r r i e d c o u p l e s . H o ~v e v e ~• , t h e zi ja jo r i t }r o f t h o s e a ge n c i e s h a v e n o t e x t e n d e d e l i gi bi l i t y f o r
t h o s e be n e f i t s t o c i v i l u n i o n c o u p l e s . As a r e s u l t , N e w J e r s e y s a m e-s e x c o u p l e s i n c i v i l u n i o n s
52
DA052
are no l ong er• ent i t l ed t o al l of t l ~ e same ri g h t s and b enefi t s as op p osz t e- sex macri ca cou p l es.
Wh ereas b efore Wi nd sor• wi ne- sex cou p l es i n New J ersey wou l d h ave b een d eni ed fed ex al
b enefi t s reg ard l ess of wh at t h ei r• rel at i onsh i p was c1 l l ed , t h ese cou p l es are not i v d eni ed b enefi t s
sol el y as a resu l t of t l ~ e Z ab el p l aced u p o~ i t h em b y t h e S t at e.
Th e i nel i g i b i l i t y of same- sex cou p l es : F or fed e~ • al b enefi t s i s cu rrent l y h armi ng same- sex
cou p l es i n New J ersey i n a wi d e mang e of eont ~ x t s: ci vi l u ni on p a~ . • t ners wh o are fed eral
emp l oy ees l i ~ ~ i ng i n New J ersey are i nel i g i b l e for mari t al ri g h t s wi t h reg ard t o t h e fed eral
p ensi on sy st em, al l ci vi l u ni on p art ners wh o are emp l oy ees ~ voz k i ng fog • b u si nesses t o wh i ch t h e
F ami l y and Med i cal Leave Act ap p l i es may not rel y on i t s st ai u t oi y p rot ect i ons for sp ou ses, and
ci vi l u ni ol i cou p l es mt z y not access t h y ; ~ ed e~ • al t ax b enefi t s t h at marri ed cou p l es enjoy . And i f t h e
t rend of fed eral ag enci es d eemi ng ci vi l ani on p art ners i nel i g i b l e for b enefi t s cont i nu es, p l ai nt i ffs
wi l l su ffer even m~ x e, wh i l e t h ei r op p osi t e- sex New J ersey cou nt erp art s cont i nu e t o recei ve
fed eral mari t al b enefi t s for no reason ot h er t h an t h e l aU el p l aced u p on t h ei r rel at i onsh i p s b y t h e
S t at e. Th i s u nequ al t reat ment re~ u i ~ es t h at New J ersey ex t end ci vi l mai 7i ag e t o same- sex
cou p l es t o sat i sfy t h e equ al p rot ect i on g u arant ees of t h e New J ersey C onsi i i u t i on as i nt erp ret ed
b y i t i e New J ersey S u p reme C ou rt i n Lewi s. S ame- sex cou p l es mu st b e al l owed t o ni ari y i n
ord er• t o ob t ai n equ al p rot ect i on of t h e l aw u nd er t h e NeK~ J ersey C onst i t i i t z oi i .
53
DA053
GARDEN STATE EQUALITY; DANIEL
WEISS and JOHN GRANT; MARSHA
' SHAPIRO and LOUISE WALPIN;
MA.UREEN ICILIAN and CINDY
MENEGHIN; SARAH KILIAN-MENEGHIN,
a minor, by and through he r guardians ; ERICA
and TEVONDA BRADSHAW; TEVERICO
BARACK HAYES BRADSHAW, a minor, by
and through his guardians ; MARCYE and
KAREN NICHOLSON-IvIcPADDEN;
KASEY NICHOLSON-McFADDEN, a minor,
by and through h~ .is guardians ; MAYA
NICHOLSON~ McrADDEN, a minor, by and
through he r guardians ; THOMAS DAVIDSON
and KEITH HEIMANN; MARIE HEIMANN
DAVIDSON, a minor, by and through he r
guardians ; GRACE HEIMANN DAVIDSON,
a minor, by and through he r guardians ;
ELENA and. ELIZABETH QUINONES;
DESIREE NICOLE RIVBRA, a minor, by and
through he r guardian; JUSTINE PAIGE LISA,
a minor, by and through he r guardiac~ ;
PATRICK JAMES ROYLANCE, a minor, by
and through his guardian; and ELI
QUINONES, a minor, by and through his
guardians ,
Pl aintif f s ,
-vs -
PAULA DOW, z n he r of f icial cap acity as
Attorne y Ge ne ral of Ne w Je rs e y; JENNIFER
VELEZ, in he r of f icial cap acity as
Commis s ione r of the . Ne w Je rs e y De p artme nt
of Human Se rvice s , and MARY E. O'DOWD,
in he r of f icial cap acity as Commis s ione r of the
Ne w Je rs e y De p artnne nt of He al th and Se nior
Se rvice s ,
De f e ndants .
SUPERIOR COURT OF NEW JERSEY
LAW DIVISION: MERCER COUNTY .
Docke t No.
Civil Action
COMPLAINT f or De cl aratory and
Injunctive ~ 2 e l ie f
INTRODUCTION
Pl aintif f s , Garde n State Eq ual ity ("GSE"), which is the s tate 's l arge s t organiz ation
-1-
DA0~ 4
advocating f or l e s b ian, day, b is e x u al and tr ans ge nde r ("LGBT") r igh ts ; and committe d s ame- s e x
cou pl e s and th e ir minor cl iil dr e n Danie l We is s and Joh n Gz ' ant; Mar s h a Sh apir o and Lou is e
Wal piz i; Mau r e e n K il ian and Cindy Me ne gh in and th e ir . dau gh te r; Saz ' ah K il ian- Me ne gh in; F r ica
Br ads h aw and Te vonda Haye s Br ads h aw and th e ir s on Te ve r ico Bar ack Haye s Br ads h aw;
Mar cye and K ar e n Nich , ~l s on- McF adde n and th e ir s on, K as e y Nich ol s on- McF adde n, and
dau gh te r , Maya Nich ol s on- McNadde n; Th omas Lou is Davids on acid Wil l iam K e ith He imann and
th e ir dau gh te r s Mar ie F r ance s Pan Xiao Jai He imann Davids on and Gr ae e Lou is e Ch e n Rong
K ai He imann Davids on; and El e na and , l iz ab e th Qu inone s and th e ir ch il dr e n De s ir e e Nicol e
Rive r a, Ju s tine Paige I . , is a, Patr ick Jame s Royl ance , and El i Qu il ione s , s e e k a de cl ar ation th at
th e ir e x cl u s ion f r om th e ins titu tion of civil mar r iage viol ate s A r ticl e I , Par agr aph 1 of th e Ne w
Je r s e y Cons titu tion of 1 947 and th e F ou r te e nth A me ndme nt to th e Cons titu tion of th e Unite d
State s , and th at f or th os e cou pl e s wh o ax e l e gal l y mar r ie d in anoth e r j u r is diction, it is
u ncons titu tional f or th e De f e ndants to de ny r e cognition of mar r iage s val idl y e nte r e d in oth e r
j u r is dictions b y s ame- s e x cou pl e s . Pl aintif f s al s o s e e k an inj u nction pr e ve nting th e De f e ndants
f r om de nying th e m. acce s s to civil mar r iage , and f x otn maintaining th e Se par ate and u ne qu al l e gal
s tatu s of "civil u nion" s ol e l y f or s ame- s e x cou pl e s , and f or th os e s ame- s e x cou pl e s wl io ar e
l e gal l y mar r ie d in anoth e r j u r is diction, e nj oining th e De f e ndants f r om de nying r e cognition of
th os e mar r iage s . .
2. Today, Ne w Je r s e y s h u nts l e s b ian and gay cou pl e s into th e nove l aid inf e r ior
s tatu s of "civil u nion, " wh il e z • e s e r ving civil mar r iage . onl y f or h e te r os e x u al cou pl e s . A s th e
Pl aintif f s ' e x pe r ie nce s h ows , th e r e l e gation of l e s b ian and ~; ay cou pl e s to civil u nions , and th e ir
e x cl u s ion f r om civil mar r iage , and th e r e b y f r om th e l e gal s tatu s of "mar r iage " and "s pou s e , "
viol ate s th e gu ar ante e of e qu al pr ote ction u nde r A r ticl e Y , Par agr aph 1 of th e Ne w Je r s e y
- 2-
DA 055
C o n s t i t u t i o n o f 1947. S p e c i fi c a l l y , t h e s e p a r a t e a n d i n h e r e n t l y u n e qu a l s t a t u t o r y s c h e me s i n g l e s
o u t l e s b i a n s a n d g a y mi n fo r i n fe r i o r t r e a t me n t o n t h e b a s i s o f t h e i r s e x u a l o r i e n t a t i o n a n d s e x ,
a n d a l s o h a s a p r o fo u n dl y s t i g ma t i z i n g e ffe c t o n t h e m, t h e i r c h i l dr e n , a n d o n o t h e r l e s b i a n a n d
g a y Ne w J e r s e y a n s . As t h e S u p r e me C o u r t o f Ne w J e r s e y ` ma de c l e a r , di e .e qu a l p r o t e c t i o n
g u a r a n t e e fo r b i ds " t h e u n e qu a l di s p e n s a t i o n o f r i g h t s a n d b e n e fi t s t o c o mmi t t e d s a me- s e x
p a r t n e r s [ .] " Le wi s v . Ha r r i s , 188 N.J . 41.5 , 423 { 20 0 6 ) . Th i s e x c l u s i o n a l s o . v i o l a t e s t h e
F o u r t e e n t h Ame n dme n t t o t h e C o n s t i t u t i o n o f t h e Un i t e d S t a t e s .
3. Th e de n i a l o f a c c e s s t o t h e l e g a l s t a t u s o f " ma r r i a g e " a n d " s p o u s e " h a s c a u s e d t h e
P l a i n t i ff c o u p l e s , c o u p l e s wh o a r e me mb e r s o f GS E, a n d o t h e r s a me- s e x c o u p l e s a n d t h e i r
c h i l dr e n c o n c r e t e h a r ms . Be c a u s e o f t h e n a v e l l e g a l c o n s t r u c t ' t o wh i c h t h e y h a v e b e e n
c o n s i g n e d, t h e y fa c e a p e r s i s t e n t a n d wi de s p r e a d l a n k o f r e c o g n i t i o n o f t h e i x r i g h t s i n c i v i c a n d
c o mme t • c i a l de a l i n g s . Th e y a r e de n i e d wo r k p l a c e b e n e fi t s a n d p r o t e c t i o n s e qu a l Y o t h o s e
a c c o r de d t o ma r r i e d c o u p l e s . Th e y a r e b l o c k e d fr o m s e e i n g t h e i r l o v e d o n e s du r i n g me di c a l
e me r g e n c i e s . Th e i r e x c l u s i o n fr o m ma r r i a g e de p r i v e s t h e m o f c e r t a i n t y i n t h e i r l e g a l r i g h t s a n d
s t a t u s , a n d b u r de n s t h e m a n d t h e i r fa mi l i e s wi t h t h e r e s u l t i n g fi n a n c i a l c o n s e qu e n c e s . Th e i r
s e p a r a t e s t a t u s i s a b a dg e t h a t r e qu i r e s t h a t t h e y r e v e a l t h e i r s e x u a l o r i e n t a t i o n wh e t h e r t h e y wi s h
t o o x n o t , i n s i t u a t i o n s s u c h a s jo b .i n t e r v i e ws a n d ju r y s e r v i c e , i n v a di n g t h e i r p r i v a c y a n d
e x p o s i n g t h e m t o a ddi t i o n a l di s c r i mi n a t i o n . ' Th e s e g r e g a t i o n o f l e s b i a n a n d g a y c o u p l e s i n t o a
n o v e l l e g a l s t a t u s , l i k e o t h e r c l a s s i fi c a t i o n s u n r e l a t e d t o a p e r s o n ' s , a b i l i t y t o p e r fo r m o r
c o n t r i b u t e t o s o c i e t y , a l s o wr o n g l y e n s h r i n e s i n t h e l a w t h e v i e w t h a t l e s b i a n a n d g a y i n di v i du a l s
a r e n o t a s wo r t h y o r de s e r v i n g a s o t h e r s , c a u s i n g di g n i t a r y a n d p s y c h i c h a r ms . Th i s i n e qu a l i t y
c o n t r a v e n e s t h e S u p r e me C o u r t o f Ne w J e r s e y ' s di r e c t i v e t h a t " t h e u n e qu a l di s p e n s a t i o n o f r i g h t s
a n d b e n e fi t s t o c o mmi t t e d s a me- s e x p a r t n e r s c a n n o l o n g e r b e t o l e r a t e d u n de r o u r S t a t e
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C o n s t i t u t i o n . " Lewi s v . Harri s , 188 N . J . at 423. Thi s t reat men t al s o v i o l at es t he Equ al
P ro t ec t i o n C l au s e o f t he Fo u rt een t h Amen dmen t t o t he C o n s t i t u t i o n o f t he Un i t ed S t at es .
4. Fu rt her, t he ex c l u s i o n o f l es b i an an d gay i n di v i du al s fro m c i v i l marri age v i o l at es
t he c o n s t i t u t i o n al i mperat i v e t hat i n t he ab s en c e o f c o mpel l i n g j u s t i fi c at i o n , t he go v ern men t . may
n o t . i n fri n ge t he ri ght s o f i n di v i du al s t o marry, as pro t ec t ed fo r " al l pers o n s " b y t he N ew J ers ey
C o n s t i t u t i o n o f 1947, Art i c l e I , P ara~•aph l . ; an d b y t he Du e P ro c es s C l au s e o f t he Fo u rt een t h
Azn en di n en t t o t he C o n s t i t u t i o n o f t he Un i t ed S t at es . The T' l ai n t i ff c o u pl es an d c o u pl es who a~•e
memb ers o f GS E here s eek o n l y t he freedo m fo r l es b i an an d gay i n di v i du al s . t o en t er i n t o t he
" es t ab l i s hed, hi ghl y v en erat ed i n s t i t u t i o n o f c i v i l marri age wi t h t he pers o n o f t hei r c ho o s i n g, j u s t
as het ero s ex u al s may do . To day, 1l o wev er, s ame s ex c o u pl es may at t ai n fo rmal rec o gn i t i o n o f
t hei r fami l y rel at i o n s hi ps t hro u gh " c i v i l u n i o n " o n l y, a n o v el an d u n fan ri i l i ar l egal c o n s t ru c t. t hat
l ac ks t he u n i v ers al l egal , ec o n o mi c , hi s t o ri c al , an d s o c i al mean i n g o f c i v i l marri age. Thi s
l i mi t at i o n v i o l at es t he S t at e' s du e pro c es s o b l i gat i o n s t o P l ai n t i ffs an d o t her s ame- s ex c o u pl es .
P ARTI ES
P l ai n t i ff' s
5. Garden S t at e Equ al i t y Edu c at i o n al Fu n d (" C rS E" ) i s N ew J ers ey' s l arges t
o rgan i zat i o n adv o c at i n g fo r LGBT c i v i l ri ght s . I t has mo re t han 82,000 memb ers , b o t h LGI 3T
i n di v i du al s an d t hei r al l i es . Man y memb ers are i n a c o mmi t t ed, s ame- s ex rel at i o n s hi p, an d a
l arge n u mb er are rai s i n g c hi l dren wi t h a c o mmi t t ed, s ai t l e- s ex part n er. N u mero u s memb ers o f
GS E ax e i n a c i v i l u n i o n . an d wo u l d l i ke t o marry, b u t are b arred fro m do i n g s o b ec au s e N ew
J ers ey do es n o t al l o w s ame- s ex c o u pl es t o marry. S o me hav e dec l i n ed t o en t er a c i v i l u n i o n du e
t o t hei r o b j ec t i o n t o i t s s ec o n d- c l as s s t at u s ,. b u t l i kewi s e wo u l d marry i f t hey c o u l d. Thro u gh
s po n s o rs hi p ~f pro grams fo r LGBT- headed fami l i es an d LGBT yo u t h, an d t hro u gh i t s
edu c at i o n al o u t reac h ac t i v i t i es , P l ai n t i ff Garden S t at e Equ al i t y has b ec o me t ho ro u b hl y fami l i ar
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with the c ha l l e n g e s , in e q u a l ity , a n d l l a n n s f a c iiz g s a me- s e x c ou pl e s a a l d the ir c hil dr e n , a s a r e s u l t
of Ne w J e r s e y de c a y in g thos e c ou pl e s a c c e s s to ma r r ia g e a n d in s te a d pr ovidin g the m on l y the
iz ove l s ta tu s of c ivil u n ion , whic h pl a c e s s a me- s e x c ou pl e s a n d the ir • c hil dr e n in a s e c on d- c l a s s
s ta tu s in r e l a tion to f a mil ie s whe r e pa r e n ts a r e a l l owe d to ma r r y . Fu r the r mor e , GSE, thr ou g h its
pa r tic ipa tion in a n ti- b u l l y in g in itia tive s in Ne w J e r s e y a n d its pr og r a m of ide n tif y in g r e s ou r c e s
f or c hil dr e n who r e q u ir e s u ppor t s e r vic e s to a ddr e s s the n e g a tive impa c t of dis c r imin a tion
a g a in s t LGBT pe opl e , is f a mil ia r with the dif f ic u l tie s a n d s tig ma tiz a tion f a c in g LGBT y ou th in
Ne-~ v J e r s e y , whic h a r e c ompou n de d b y the s ta te- s pon s or e d dis c r imin a tion in he r e n t in the
r e l e g a tion of s a me- s e x c ou pl e s to tl ~ e s e pa r a te a n d u n e q u a l s ta tu s of c ivil u n ion .
6. Da n ie l ("Da n n y ") We is s , 46, a n ti J ohn Gz a n t, 4b , r e s ide in As b u r y Pa r k, Ne w
J e r s e y . Da n n y r u n s a s ma l l l a w f ir m s pe c ia l iz in g in imn n ig r a tion l a w, a n d J ohn , u n til a
de va s ta tin g a c c ide n t, wor ke d a s c on tr ol l e r of the Mic ha e ] J . Fox Fou n da tion f or Pa r kin s on ' s
Re s e a r c h. "The y ha ve b e e n tog e the r f ou r y e a r s , a n d e n te r e d in to a c ivil u n ion on Ma y 17, 2Q09.
In Oc tob e r 2010, J ohn wa s c r itic a l l y in j u r e d whe n he wa s s tr u c k b y a c a r . De s pite the ir c ivil
u n ion , doc tor s a n d hos pita l s ta f f did n ot r e c og n iz e the ir l e g a l r e l a tion s hip, . a n d did n ot
a c kn owl e dg e Da n n y ' s l u tho~ • ity to z n a l c e de c is ion s f or 3ohn ' s c r itic a l c a r e . Dis c u s s ion s with
doc tor s a n d othe r hos pita l s ta f f a b ou t wha t a c ivil u n ion me a n t, a n d whe the r it wa s "l ike a
Ma s s a c hu s e tts ma r r ia g e , " took pl a c e a s J ohn wa s s u f f e r in g a b r a in he mor r ha g e , a n d J ohn ' s s is te r
wa s s u mmon e d in the middl e of the n ig ht f r om De l a wa r e to pa r tic ipa te ~ n tr e a tme n t de c is ion s .
Af te r l if e s a vin g ; s u r ~ ; ie a l pr oc e du r e s , J ohn is on a l on g r oa d of r e ha b il ita tion . Da n n y ha s
r e wor ke d his e n tir e s c he du l e to or g a n iz e a n d a tte n d J okin ' s a ppoin tme n ts with n e u r ol og is ts ,
n e u r os u r g e on s , phy s ia tr is ts , a n d othe r he a l th c a r e pr of e s s ion a l s a n d to mon itor J ohn ' s pr og r e s s
a n d s e tb a c ks . The c ou pl e tr a ve l e d to C on ~ ie c tic u t to b e ma r r ie d in De c e mb e r 2010, a s s oon a s
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John was st r ong enoug h t o make t he d r i v e, because t hey had lear ned t hr oug h p ai nf ul exp er i ence
t hat a ci v i l uni on would not p r ot ect t hem when t hey wer e most v ulner able. They wi sh t o be
r ecog ni zed as a mar r i ed cod p le i n New Jer sey, wher e t hey wor k and make t hei r home, whi ch
New Jer sey law d oes not naw allow because i t li mi t s man- i ag e t o d i f f er ent- : sex coup les and
d emot es mar r i ag es f r om ot her j uzi sd i et i ons t o ci v i l uni ons.
7. Mat •sha Shap i r o, 56, and Loui se Walp i n, 57, r esi d e i n Sout h Br unswi ck, New
Jer sey. They hav e been a coup le f or t went y- t wo year s. I v Z ar sha i s a soci al wor ker , G ~ n~ l Loui se i s
a nur se. They hav e r ai sed f our chi ld r en t og et her , i nclud i ng Mar sha's bi olog i cal son Aar on, who
had sev er e cog ni t i v e and p hysi cal d i sabi li t i es and d i ed j ust bef or e hi s t went y- f i r st - bi r t hd ay i n
2008. 'I n ad d i t i on t o Aar on, t hey hav e r ai sed Loui se's t l~ ar ee bi olog i cal chi ld r en, now ad ult s.
Mar sha and Loui se hav e soug ht t o celebr at e and leg ali ze t hei r r elat i onshi p i n ev er y manner
af f oxd ed t hem i n New Jer sey. I n 1992, t hey commi t t ed t o each ot her i n a cer emony p er f or med
by a r abbi . Thei r ket ubah, or Jewi sh wed d i ng v ow and cont r act , hang s i n t hei r home as a d ai ly
r emi nd er of t hei r lov e end commi t ment . I n 2003, t hey ent er ed a c v i l. uni on i n Ver mont . When
New. Jer sey beg an of f er i ng d omest i c p ar t ner shi p i n 2004, Mar sha and Loui se ent er ed i nt o a
d omest i c p ar t ner shi p . On Febr uar y 23, 2007, t hey ent er ed i nt o a ci v i l uni on i n. New Jer sey.
Howev er , f or t he r easons set f or t h below, t hey seek t o ent er ci v i l mamag e i n or d er t o r eali ze t he
f ull p anop ly of r i g ht s, benef i t s, st at us, and r eco~ i i ~ i on t hat ci v i l xnan-i ag e af f or d s, and whi ch t hey
ar e cur r ent ly d eni ed . Mar sha and Loui se ar e eli g i ble t o mar r y i n New Jer sey but f or t he f act t hat
t hey ar e asame- sex coup le; t hey hav e not soug ht t o obt ai n a mar r i ag e li cense i n New Jer sey,
because t o d o so would be f i ~ t i le i n li g ht of New Jer sey's p r ev ai li ng . law.
8. Maur een Ki li an, 53, and Ci nd y Meneg hi n, 53, r esi d e i n But ler , New Jer sey. They
met i n hi g h school and hav e been i n a commi t t ed r elat i onshi p f or mor e t han t hi r t y- ev e year s.
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They have two c hi l d r en , Joshua Ki l i an -Men eghi n , 18; an d Sar ah Ki l i an -Men eghi n , 16 . They ar e
ver y ac ti ve i n thei r c hur c h, the Epi sc opal Chur c h of the Red eemer i n Mor r i stown , an d i n thei r
c hi l d r en ' s sc hool ac ti vi ti es. They have l on g sought l egal eq ual i ty for thei r r el ati on shi p an d
fami l y, fi r st as pl ai n ti ffs i n Lewi s v. H ar r r . s, an d 1~ow i n thi s ac ti on . They sought to ob tai n a New
Jer sey mar r i age l i c en se i n 2002, an d wer e r efused b ec ause they ar e asame-sex c oupl e. They
en ter ed i n to a c i vi l un i on on FeUr uar y 24, 2007, an d c el eb r ated wi th a c r owd of mor e than 300
peopl e at thei r c hur c h. H owever , they have foun d that thei r c i vi l un i on d oes n ot pr otec t them i n
the way that they l ead hoped . I n emer gen c y med i c al si tuati on s b oth b efor e an d after havi n g a
c i vi l un i on , Maur een has b een d en i ed ac c ess to Ci n d y, an d the ab i l i ty- to d i r ec t her tr eatmen t.
Bec ause they feel vul n er ab l e, an d b ec ause they d o n ot wan t the State to c on ti n ue to sen d the
message to thei r c hi l d r en that thei r Fami l y i s i i ot l egi ti mate, oz i s l ess val i d than other fami l i es,
they c on ti n ue to seek the a-i ght to en ter c i vi l mar r i age. Ci n d y an d ' Maur een ar e el i gi b l e to mar r y
i n New Jer sey b ut for the fac t that they ar e asame-sex c oupl e; they have n ot sought to ob tai n a
mar r i age l i c en se i n New Jer sey si n c e 20Q2, b ec ause to d o so woul d b e futi l e i n l i ght of New
Jer sey' s pr evai l i n g l aw.
9. Sar ah Ki l i an -Men eghi n ("Sar ah"), a mi n or c hi l d , i s r epr esen ted i n thi s ac ti on b y
an d thr ough her guar d i an s, Ci n d y an c i Maur een . R. 4: 26 -2~a). She asks that her par en ts b e
al l owed to n n ar r y so that her fami l y n o l on ger c ar r i es the c on fusi n g, sti gmati zi n g, an d i n fer i or
l ab el of "c i vi l un i on , " r ather than mar r i age. She fac es a l oss of d i mi ty an d l egi ti mac y, i n her
own eyes, the eyes of man y other s, an d un d er l aw, fr om her par en ts' n at havi n g the fr eed om to
mar r y on e auotl l er . Ci n d y an d Maur een fear that she wi l l i n ter n al i ze the message that she
r ec ei ves fr om the State that her fami l y i s n ot as wor thy as . other fami l i es, an d that she an d her
b r other an d par en ts d o n ot d eser ve the suppor t an d r espec t other fami l i es r ec ei ve.
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1 U . 1 'evonda Hayes Bradshaw and Erica Bradshaw, both 36, reside in North
P l ainf iel d, New J ersey. They have been in a committed rel ationship since 2007. Both commute
to New York C ity: Tevonda is a disabil ity anal yst at the Of f ice of Temp orary and D isabil ity
A ssistance in New York C ity, and erica is a teaching artist with ENA C T', a g roup that hel p s New
York C ity p ubl ic school students I earn social , emotional and behavioral skil l s throug h creative
. drama and drama therap y techniq ues. Erica al so sel l s real estate in New J ersey, at C entury 21 iv
Scotch P l ains, New J ersey. Tevonda and ~t-ica have an inf ant son, Teve~ico Barack Hayes.
Bradshaw, U oi7a A p ril 8, 201 . A ware; of and cic;ep l y concerned about the disreg ard f ox and
conf usion about civil unions that has neg ativel y af f ected other l esbian and g ay coup l es in New
J ersey, the Bradshaws have ex p ended time, energ y, and money to ex ecute mul tip l e additional
documents to attemp t to p rotect their rel atiox l ship , Most recentl y, on J une 1 7, 201 1 , they
concl uded adop tion p roceeding s in court f or Erica to. adop t Teverico, t} ioug h he is a chil d of their
civil union and shoul d be reg arded as her son. I n order to adop t her own chil d, Erica had to
underg o court- rel ated ex amination of her backg round, incl uding being f ing erp rinted, which she
f ound ex tremel y of f ensive.
1 l . Teverico ("Teverico"), a minorchil d, is rep resented in this action by and throug h
his g uardians, 1 'evonda and Erica, in his cl aim that his p arents be al l owed to marry so that his
f amil y no l ong er carries the conf using , stig matiz ing and inf eaior l abel of "civil union," rather
than marriag e. I Z . 4 : 26- 2(a), Because the State does not al l ow Tevonda and Erica to marry, their
chil d does not have the benef it of the. rig hts, obl ig ations, cost saving s, and benef its conf erred on
married. p arents under New J ersey l aw, nor of the rig hts and status conf erred on. chil dren of
married p arents by New J ersey l aw, that hel p and p rovide security t~ other New J ersey chil dren
in g ood times and bad. For ex amp l e, Tevonda and Erica woul d have p ref erred but were unabl e
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t o save o r z i i vest t he mo ney t hat t hey p ai d i n ad o p t i o n- rel at ed l eg al f ees and exp enses t o sec u re
E ri c a' s p arent- c hi l d rel at i o nshi p ~ wi t h " 1 ' everi c o t o ward t hei z • c hi l d ' s f u t u re ed u c at i o n i i xst ead .
T ' everi c o al so f ac es a l o ss o f d i g ni t y and l eg i t i mac y, i n hi s o wn eyes, t he eyes o f many o t hers,
and u nd er l aw, f ro m hi s p arent s no t havi ng - t he f reed o m t o marry o ne ano t her. T evo nd a and
E ri c a f ear t hat t hei r so n wi l l i nt ernal i z e t he messag e t hat he x• ec ez ves f ro m t hei r g o vernment t hat
hi s f ami l y i s no t as wo rt hy as ~ t l ~ er f ami l i es, and t hat he and hi s p arent s d o no t d eserve t he
su p p o rt and resp ec t t hat o t her f ami l i es rec ei ve.
1 2. Karen and Marc ye Ni c ho l so n- Mc Fad d en resi d e i n AUerd een, New J ersey. T hey
have ~ i een i n a c o mmi t t ed rel at i o nshi p f o r t went y- o ne years. T o g et her t hey z u n an exec u t i ve
searc h f i rm. T hey have t wo c hi l d ren, Kasey Ni c ho l so n- Mc Fad d en, 1 1 , . and Maya Ni c ho l so n-
Ivl c Fad d an, 8, and have su p p o rt ed eac h o t her t hro u g h t he u p s and d o wns o f l i f e. T hey have l o ng
so u g ht l eg al eq u al i t y f o r t hei r rel at i o nshi p and f ami l y, f i rst as p l ai nt i f f s i n Lewi s v. Harri s, and
no w i n t hi s ac t i o n. T hey c o nt i nu e t o p ress f o x marri ag e eq u al i t y, bec au se t hey want t he f u l l
ri g ht s, benef i t s, and rec o g ni t i o n t hat o t her marri ed c o u p l es and t hei r f ami l i es rec ei ve. ~ T hey al so
d o no t want t o have t hei r c hi l d ren t au g ht t hat t hei r p arent s' rel at i o nshi p o r t hei r f ami l y i s o f
l esser i mp o rt anc e t han any o t her f arni t y i n New J ersey. T hey so u g ht t o o bt ai n a New J ersey
nnarri ag e l i c ense i n 2002, and were ref u sed bec au se t hey
are asame- sex c o u p l e. T hey ent ered a
c i vi l u ni o n i n Ap z ~ i l , 2007; Karen and Marc ye are el i g i bl e t o marry i n New J ersey bu t f o r t he f ac t
t hat t hey are asame- sex c o u p l e; t hey have no t so u g ht t o o bt ai n a man-i ag e l i c ense i n New J ersey
si nc e 2002, bec au se t o d o so wo u l d be f u t i l e. i n l i g ht o f New J ersey' s p revai l i ng l aw.
1 3. Kasey Ni c ho l so n- Mc Fad d en (" Kasey" ) and Maya Ni c ho l so n- Mc Fad c i en
(" Maya" ), mi no r c hi l d ren, are rep resent ed i n t hi s ac t i o n by and t hro u g h t hei r g u ard i ans, Karen
ant i Marc ye. R. 4 : 26 - 2(a). T hey ask t hat t hei r p arent s be al l o wed t o marry so t hat t hei r f ami l y
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no l ong e r c a r r i e s t h e s t i g m a t i z i ng a nd i nf e x i or l a b e l of " c i v i l uni on," r a t h e r t h a n m a r r i a g e . Ka s e y
a nd Ma ya a r e unpe r t ur b e d t h a t t h e i r pa r e nt s a r e l e s b i a ns , b ut a r e t r oub l e d t h a t t h e i r pa r e nt s a r e
unm a r r i e d, b e c a us e t h e S t a t e w i l l not a l l ow i t . Ma ya . h a s r a i s e d' w i t h h e r c l a s s r oom t e a c h e r a nd
c l a s s m a t e s h e r c onc e r n t h a t h e r pa r e nt s a r e una b l e t o m a r r y. Be c a us e t h e S t a t e doe s not . . a l l ow
Ka r e n a nd Ma r c ye t o r na r 7 • y, t h e i r c h i l dr e n do not h a v e t h e b e ne f i t of a l l of t h e r i g h t s , ob l i g a t i ons ,
c os t s a v i ng s , a nd b e ne f i t s c onf e r r e d on m a r r i e d pa r e nt s unde r Ne w J e r s e y l a w , nor of t h e r i g h t s
a nd s t a t us c onf e r r e d on c h i l dr e n of m a r r i e d pa r e nt s b y Ne w J e z ~ s e y l a w , t h a t h e l p a nd pr ov i de
s e c ur i t y Y o ot h e r Ne w J e r s e y c h i l c i r ~ n i n g ood t i m e s a nd b a d. I t a s e y a nd Ma ya f a c e a l os s of
di g ni t y a nd l e g i t i m a c y, a nd t h e i r pa r e nt s w or r y t h a t t h e i r c h i l dr e n w i l l i nt e r na l i z e t h e S t a t e ' s
m e s s a g e t h a t t h e i r f a m i l y i s not a s w or t h y or de s e r v i ng a s ot h e r s .
14. Th om a s Loui s Da v i ds on. (" Tom " ), 49, a nd Wi l l i a m Ke i t h . He i m a nn (" Ke i t h " ), 53,
r e s i de i n S h r e w s b ur y, Ne w J e r s e y. Th e y h a v e t og e t h e r a dopt e d t w o da ug h t e r s , Gr a c e Loui s e
Ch e n Rong Ka i He i m a nn J ~ a v i ds on; a g e 8, a nd Ma r i e Tr a nc e s Pa n Xi a o J a i He i m a nn Da v i ds on,
a g e 11. Tom a nd Ke i t h w i l l c e l e b r a t e t h e i r t w e nt y- f i f t h a nni v e r s a r y a s a c oupl e i n J a nua r y ZOl 2.
Th e y w e r e m a r r i e d on J ul y 31, 2008 i n Ca l i f or ni a , a nd e nt e r e d a c i v i l uni on i n Ne w J e r s e y on
Fe b r ua r y 23, 2007 . Th e f a m i l y i s v e r y a c t i v e i n t h e i r c h ur c h , t h e Me t h odi s t Ch ur c h of Re d Ba nk,
w h e r e Ke i t h h a s t a ug h t S unda y s c h ool . Tom r e c e nt l y l os t h i s job a s a v i s ua l de s i g ne r of
m e r c h a ndi s e di s pl a ys a t Food Em por i um , w h e n h i s e m pl oye r dow ns i z e d. Ke i t h , w h o h a s t a ug h t
a t Br ookda l e Com m uni t y Col l e g e s i nc e 2001, h a s f or t e n ye a r s m a i nt a i ne d Tom a nd t h e i r
c h i l dr e n nn h i s h e a l t h i ns ur a nc e pol i c y. Dur i ng a r e c e nt s t a t e w i de a udi t . i n Ne w J e r s e y, t h e s t a t e
c ox i t r a c t ox que s t i one d w l ~ e t l l e r t h e y h a d a de qua t e doc um e nt a t i on of t h e i r r e l a t i ons h i p, a nd
c a nc e l l e d h e a l t h c a r e c ov e r a g e f or Tom a nd. t h e c h i l dr e n. I t t ook m ont h s t o' r e i ns t a t e t h e pol i c y,
b e c a us e t l s e i ns ur a nc e a udi t or di d not r e c og ni z e " c i v i l uni on" a s a l e g a l l y v a l i d r e l a t i ons h i p.
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DA063
Keith and Torn want to have the s tatu s of being married u nder New J ex s ey law becau s e maix iage
has a u nivers ally u nders tood meaning, and one that reflects their family s tru ctu re.
1 5 . Grace I~eimann Davids on ("Grace") and Marie Heimann Davids on ("Marie' . ' ),
minor children, are rep res ented in this action by and ihrou gtz their gu ardians , Tom and Keith. R.
4 : 2 6 - 2 (a). The girls ~• eatly dis lik e having to rep eatedly offer lengthy ex p lanations of civil
u nions to other children who are cu riou s abou t their family . They as k that (heir p arents be
allowed to marry s o that their family no longer carries the confu s ing, s tigmatiz ing, and inferior
label of "civil u nion," rather than maY ~riage. Becau s e the S tate does nu t recogniz e Keith and Tom
as married, their children do not have the benefit of the rights , obligations , cos t s avings , and
benefits conferred on married p arents u nder New J ers ey law, that help and p rovide s ecu rity to
other New J ers ey children in good times and bad. The children' s los s off' health care coverage
las t s u mmer illu s trates one of the concrete effects of their s tatu s , res u lting from the fact that they
are the children of a civil u nion ins tead of a marriage. The children als o face a los s of dignity
and legitimacy , in their o~✓ney es , the ey es of many others , and u nder law, from their p arents not
having the freedom to marry one another. .
1 6 . Elena and Eliz abeth ("I iz ") Qu inones res ide in P hillip s bu rg, New J ers ey . Elena
work s at a bank in Hobok en, anci Liz is a s ecu rity s ergeant at F arleigh Dick ins on U nivers ity .
T} ~ey have been together nine y ears and s ou ght legal recobnition of their committed and loving
relatioa~s hip by entering a civil u nion in F ebru ary 2 007, as s oon as they cou ld s et the date to
celebrate. , Llena and Liz have atwo- y ear- old s on, Eli, and als o rais e Elena' s three children:
Des iree Nicole Kivera, 1 7 ("Des iree"); J u s tine P aige Lis a, l5 ("J u s tine); and P atrick J ames
Roy lance, 1 2 ("P atrick "). Mena and Liz were initially op tirriis tic that entering a civil u nion
wou ld p rovide them the s ame rights and benefits as marriage, acid celebrated their civil u nion
- 1 1 -
DA06 4
with a ceremony and gala recep tion f or f riends and f amily, including Elena's s tep f ather, who
checked hims elf out of the hos p ital f or the d. ay to celeb rate with the coup le. But Elena and Liz
have f ound tizat the cons truct of " civil union" f ails to of f er them thie - s ame p rotection as marriage
would. Elena and Liz are eligib le to many iri New Jers ey b ut f or the f act that they ax e a s ame-
s ex coup le; they have not s ought to ob tazn a marriage licens e in New Jers ey, b ecaus e to do s o
would b e f utile in light of New Jers ey's p revailing law.
l7. Jus tine, Des iree, P atrick, and Eli, all minor children, are rep res ented in this action
Uy aild through their guardians , Elena and Liz Quinones . R. 4 : 2 6 - 2 ( a) . They as le that their
p arents b e allowed to marry, s o that their f amily no longer carries the conf iis ing, s tigmatizing
and inf erior lab el of " civil union," rather than marriage. Becaus e the S tate does not allow Elena
and Liz to marry, their children do not have the b enef it' of the rights , ob ligations , cos t s avings
and p rotections conf erred on man- ied p arents under New jers ey law, nor of the rights and s tatus
conf erred on married p arents and their children b y New Jers ey ]aw that help and p rovide s ecurity
to other New Jers ey children in good times end b ad. . Jus tine, Des iree, P atrick, and Eli are
harmed b y the ill- unders tood civil union s tatus of their p arents ,, which caus es their p arents to
incur addition~ ~ l ex p ens es to p rotect f amilial relations hip s , b eyond thos e that are needed b y
f amilies headed b y married coup les . For ex amp le, they p aid additional adop tion- related legal
f ees and ex p ens es to s ecure Liz's p arent- child relations hip with Eli, and could not s ave or inves t
that money toward their children's f uture education. The children als o f ace a los s of dignity and
legitimacy, in their own eyes , the eyes. of many others , and under the law, as a res ult of their
p ax ents not having; the f reedom to marry one another. To avoid the unequal s tatus and conf us ion
engendered b y tb . e lab el " civil union," the children of ten us e the term " marriage" with. regard to
Elena and Liz, b ut doing s o is uncomf ortab le, b ecaus e their children are p ainf ully aware that in
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DA06 5
r e a l i t y El e na a nd Li z a r e b a r r e d fr om ] e ~ a l ma r r i a ge b y t h e S t a t e . El e na a nd Li z fe a r t h a t t h e i r
c h i l dr e n w i l l i nt e r na l i ze t h e me ssa ge t h a t t h e y r e c e i v e fr om t h e i r gov e r nme zi t t h a t t h e i r fa mi l y i s
not a s w or t h y a s ot h e r fa mi l i e s, a nd t h a t t h e y a nd t h e i r p a r e nt s do not de se r v e t h e su p ~ ~ or t for
t h e i r r e l a t i onsh i p s t o e a c h ot h e r t h a t ot h e r c h i l dr e n a nd t h e i r p a r e nt s r e c e i v e .
D e fe ~ i da nt s
1 8 . D e t e nda nt Pa u l a T. D ow , a s t h e A t t or ne y Ge ne r a l of t h e S t a t e of Ne w J e r se y , i s
t h e c h i e f l a w e nfor c e me nt offi c e s• of t h e S t a t e . I zi t h i s c ozi st i t u t i ona l r ol e , se e N. J . C onst . A r t . V, §
I V, ¶ 3, sh e i s r e sp onsi b l e for e nfor c i ng t h e l a w s Y h a t e x c l u de Pl a i nt i ff c ou p l e s, c ou p l e s w h o a r e
me mb e r s of GS E, . a nd ot h e r sa me- se x c ou p l e s fi om c i v i l ma r r i a ge .
1 9 . Th e T. e gi sl a t u r e h a s de l e ga t e d. t o D e fe nda nt J e nni fe r Ve l e z, a s t h e C ommi ssi one r
of t h e Ne W J e r se y D e p a r t me nt of Hu ma n S e r v i c e s, t h e p ow e r t o a dop t r u l e s - a nd r e gu l a t i ons
ne c e ssa r y t o e ffe c t u a t e t h e ma z-~-i a ge st a t u t e s, N. J . S . A . 37 : 1 - 1 2 . 3, a nd a s su c h sh e i s r e sp onsi b l e
for ma i nt a i ni ng t h e e x c l u si on of sa me- se x c ou p l e s fr om c i v i l ma r r i a ge .
2 0. Th e Le gi sl a t u r e h a s de l e ga t e d t o D e fe nda nt Ma r y E, O'D ow d, a s t h e
C ommi ssi one r of t h e Ne w J e r se y D e p a r t me nt of F - I e a l t h a nd S e ni or S e zv ~ c e s, t h e p ow e r , p u r su a nt
t o N. J . S . A , 37 : ~ - 2 9 a nd 37 : 1 - 35 , t o a da p t r u l e s a nd r e gu l a t i ons ne c e ssa r y t o i mp l e me nt t h e C i v i l
Uni on A c t , i nc l u di ng t h ose a ddr e ssi ng "t h e i ssu e of h ow p a r t ne r s i n a c i v i l u ni on c ou p l e ma y
l e ga l l y a nsw e r q u e st i ons on for ms, gov e r ni ne zi t a l a nd p z-i v a t e , c onc e r ni ng t h e i r st a t u s a s p a r t ne r s
i n a c i v i l u ni on c ou p l e . " N. J . S . A . 37 : 1 - 35 . A l so a s C ommi ssi one r of t h e D e p a r t me nt of He a l t h
a nd S e ni or S e r v i c e s, C ommi ssi one r O'D ow d ov e r se e s t h e Ne w J e r se y R e gi st r a r of Vi t a l
S t a t i st i c s, w h i c h ma i nt a i ns r e c or ds of ma r r i a ge s - a nd c i v i l u ni ons i n t h e st a t e , a nd p r ov i de s t h e
for ms f'or ma r r i a ge a nd c i v i l u ni on l i c e nse s, N. J . S . A . 37 : 1 - 8 . I n t h e se c a p a c i t i e s, sh e i s
r e sp onsi b l e for ma i nt a i ni ng t h e se p a r a t e l e ga l c onst r u c t of "c i v i l u ni on" for c ommi t t e d sa me- se x
c ou p l e s.
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D A 066
VENUF,
21. Venue i s groper i n Mercer County becaus e th e caus e of acti on ari s es th ere, wh ere
Defendants enforce th e Ci v i l Uni on Act and deny P l ai nti ffs th e ri gh t to enter ci v i l m ai x i age.
I Z . 4 : 3 - 2( a) ( 2) . Th i s acti on i s properl y brough t i n th e Law Di v i s i on becaus e th e rel i ef s ough t
h erei n i s pri m ari l y l egal . R, 4 : 3 - 1( a) ( 4 ) .
STATEMrNT nF FACTS
22. Ci v z ~ ni ai ri age prov i des tangi bl e and i ntangi bl e benefi ts to i ts parti ci pants and
th ei x fam i l i es i n I cgal , econom i c, cul tural , h i s tori cal , em oti onal , ps ych ol ogi cal , and. s oci al
di m ens i ons .
23 . New J ers ey perm i ts onl y di fferent- s ex coupl es to enter i nto ci v i l m arri age. As
noted by th e Suprem e Court i n Lewi r v . Harri s , th e ci v i l m arri age s tatutes , N.J .S.A. 3 7 : 1- 1 to
3 7 : 2- 4 1, l i m i t m am age to h eteros ex ual coupl es . 188 N.J , at 4 3 6- 3 7 . Accordi ng to i nform ati on
on a webs i te m ai ntai ned by th e Departm ent of Heal th and Seni or Serv i ces , Vi tal Stati s ti cs and
Regi s try, i n order far two peopl e to es tabl i s h a m arri age i n th e State, i t " s h al l be neces s ary th at
th ey ... [b]e of th e oppos i te s ex [.]"
24 . I ndi v i dual s i n com m i tted s am e- s ex rel ati ons h i ps m ay attai n l egal recogni ti on of
th en rel ati ons h i p onl y th rough " ci v i l uni on." Th i s l egal s tatus was created by th e Ci v i l Uni on
Act, N.J .S.~ 1, 3 7 : 1- 28, et s ecs , enacted on Decem ber 21, 2006, and effecti v e February l 9, 2007 .
L. 2006 c. ] 03 . By i ts term s , th e Ci v i l Uni on Act appl i es onl y to. s am e- s ex coupl es , N.J .S.A.
3 7 : 1- 29. Di fferent- s ex coupl es m ay not enter i nto a ci v i l uni on,
25. Ci v i l uni ons were i ntroduced i n New J ers ey as a res ul t of th e deci s i on of th e
Suprem e Cpurt of New J ers ey i n Lewi s v . Harri s , 188 N.J , 4 15 ( 2006). , wh i ch req ui red, as a
m atter of State cons ti tuti onal l aw, th at th e benefi ts and obl i gati ons of m arri age be m ade av ai l abl e
an eq ual term s to s am e- and di fferent- s ex coupl es . 188 N.J . at 4 23 . See N,J .S,A. 3 7 : 1- 28( e)
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DAO67
( C i v i l Uni on Act adopted pu r por tedl y i n or der "to co►nplyw i t~ i th e cons ti tu ti onal mandate s et
f or th " i n L ew i s ) .
26. Rath er th an al l ow i ng s ame- s ex cou pl es acces s to th e l on~ s tancl i u g, v ener ated
i ns ti tu ti on of ci v i l mar r i age, th e L egi s l ah z r e ch os e i ns tead to r el egate s ame- s ex cou pl es to a
s epar ate l egal categor y —th at of "ci v i l u ni on" —f or th e pu r pos e of di s tr i b u ti ng r i gh ts and
b enef i ts pu r por tedl y equ al to th os e av ai l ab l e to cou pl es i n ci v i l mar r i age. See L . 2006 c. 1 Q3
( enacted Dec. 21 , 2006 and ef f ecti v e Feb . 1 9, 2007) , ~ odi f i ecl at N . J . S. A. 37:1 - 28 et s ey .
27. I n r ecogni ti on of tl ~ e pos s i b i l i ty th at ci v i l u ni ons mi gh t f ai l . to pr ov i de equ al i ty , as
r equ i r ed b y th e C ons ti tu ti on and as r ecogni z ed b y L ew i s , th e L egi s l atu r e, i n th e s ame Act, al s o
cr eated th e C i v i l Uni on Rev i ew C ommi s s i on, . s ee N . J . S. A. 37:1 - 36, w h i ch i t ch ar ged w i th
s tu dy i ng th e ef f ecti v enes s of ci v i l u ni ons , N . J . S. A. 37:1 - 36( c) ( 1 ) and ( 3) , and of pr ov i di ng "ci v i l
u ni ons r ath er th an mar r i age" to s ame- s ex cou pl es , N . J , S. A. 37:1 - 36( c) ( 5 ) and ( 6) . Th e
L egi s l atu r e as ked th e C ommi s s i on to r epor t i ts f i ndi ngs , N . J . S. A. 37:1 - 36( g) , w h i ch i t di d
pr ov i s i onal l y on Feb r u ar y 1 9, 2008, s ee N . J . C i v . Uni on Rev . C omr n. , TFr s t I nter i m Repor t, and
f i nal l y on Decemb er 1 0, 2008, s ee N . J . C i v . Uni on Rev . C omm. , Fi nal Depor t. Th e C ommi s s i on
u nani mou s l y f ou nd th at "th e s epar ate categox i z ati an es tab l i s ~ i ed b y tl ~ e C i v i l Uni on Act i nv i tes
and encou r ages u nequ al tr eatment[ ; ] " r es u l ti ng i n a l ack of equ al i ty f or s ame- s ex cou pl es and
th ei r ch i l dr en i n mu l ti pl e f acets of ci v i c and s oci al deal i ngs , s u ch th at "th e pr ov i s i oni ng of f h e
r i gh ts of mar r i age th r ou gh th e s epar ate s tatu s of ci v i l u ni ons per petu ates th e u nequ al tr eatment of
cor z ~ mi tted s ame- s ex cou pl es . "
28. Th r ee y ear s af ter . pas s age of th e C i v i l Uni on Act, and w i th th e b enef i t of th e
f i ndi ngs of th e C i v i l Uni on Rev i ew C ommi s s i on, th e L egi s l atu r e cons i der ed a b i l l th at w ou l d
h av e made ci v i l mar r i age av ai l ab l e to al l cons enti ng and oth er w i s e qu al i f i ed cou pl es , r egar dl es s
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DA068
of sexual or i en t at i on . . The t ext of t hi s b i ll, kn own i i i t l~ e Sen at e'as S. 1967, The Fr eedom of
Reli gi on an d E q uali t y i n C i v i l Mar r i age Act , r ecogn i z ed t hat "[a]lt hough same- sex coup les may
en t er i n t o ci v i l un i on s, n on et heless New J er sey 's di scr i mi n at or y exclusi on of. t hese coup les fr om
mar r i age fur t her har ms same- sex coup les an d t hei r fami li es b y den y i n g t hem un i q ue p ub li c
r ecogn i t i on an d affi r mat i on . " Thi s b i ll was ap p r ov ed b y t he Sen at e J udi ci ar y C ommi t t ee on
Decemb er 7, 2009, b ut defeat ed b y t he full Sen at e on J an uar y 7, 2010.
29. Alt hough t he C i v i l Un i on Act p ur p or t ed t o p r ov i de same- sex coup les "a11 t l~ e .
r i ght s an d b en efi t s t hat man-i ed het er osexual coup les en j oy , " N, J . S. A. 3 7: 1- 28 ( d) , i n p r act i ce P hi s
n ov el legal cat egor y i s an i n fer i or legal st at us, an d on e C hat st i gmat i z es i t s p ar i i ci p a~ i t s. P lai n t i ffs
ar e har med b y t he exclusi on fr om ci v i l mamage i n man y way s, as set for t h b elow.
Un eq ual Tr eat t ~ aen t asz d Lack of Recogn i t i o~ a i n I 'ub li e Accon i fa: o~ lat i of: san d C i v i c Li fe
3 0. The P lai n t i ffs ar e har med b ecause t he n ov el legal st at us of "ci v i l un i on " t o whi ch
t hey ar e r elegat ed i s lar gely un kn own , un fami li ar , an d n ot r ecogn i z ed, b ot h i n New J er sey an d
out si de t he St at e, Thi s mean s t hat i n dai ly t r an sact i on s fr om t he mun dan e t o t he momen t ous,
same- sex coup les an d t hei r chi ldr en exp er i en ce a lack of r ecogn i t i on of t hei r legal st at us, whi ch
r esult s i n a den i al of ci v i l r i ght s i n a v ar i et y of p ub li c accommodat i on s an d facet s of ci v i c li fe.
3 1. The P lai n t i ff coup les, coup les who ar e memb er s of GSE , an d ot her same- sex
coup les hav e b een den i ed access t o t hei r fami ly memb er s b y medi cal p r ov i der s i n a v ar i et y of
con t ext s, fr om li fe- t hr eat en i n g emer gen cy si t uat i on s t o r out i n e medi cal v i si t s, b y b ot h p ub li c an d
p r i v at e healt h car e p r ov i der s. Sp eci fi cally , t he P lai n t i ff coup les, coup les who ar e memb er s of
GSE , an d ot her same- sex coup les hav e foun d t hat man y n ur ses, doct or s, an d ot her healt h car e
wor ker s an d st aff ar e un fami li ar wi t h t he t er m "ci v i l un i on " or "ci v i l un i on p ar t n er . " H osp i t al
for ms, i n cludi n g comp ut er i z ed p r ogr ams ut i li z ed dur i n g hosp i t al i n t ake p r ocedur es, do . n ot
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DA069
provide f or such a desig n at ion , an d recog n iz e in st ead on ly "spouse, " The P lain t if f couples,
couples w lx o are members of GSA, an d ot her same-sex couples have f oun d t hat t heir
relat ion ships have .been described as "ot her, " "f rien d, " "roommat e, " . or "un kn ow n "
desig n at ion s t hat are in accurat e, dimin ishin g , an t i accord n o leg al st at us, access, or dec~ sioil-
makin g aut horit y in medical set t in g s,
a. For ex ample, in Oct ober 201Q, John Gran t w as st ruck Uy a car in New
York C it y. ~-I is skull sliat t ereci, he w as rushed t o a local hospit al. P olice called t he last
n umber list ed in his cell phon e an d reached his civil un ion part n er, Dan n y Weiss, w ho
rushed t o his side. Despit e t heir civil un ion , doct ors an d hospit al st af f did n ot recog n iz e
t heir leg al relat ion ship. Desperat e t o demon st rat e t heir con n ect ion w hen t he civil un ion
f ailed, Dan n y at on e poin t t ried t o show hospit al person n el t hat he an d John w ere w earin g
mat chin g rin g s. Discussion s w it h doct ors an d ot her hospit al st af f about w hat a civil
un ion mean t , an d w het her it w as "like a Massachuset t s marriag e, " t ook place as John w as
suf f erin g a brain hemorrhag e. C on f used about Dan n y's aut horit y . t o make medical
decision s, hospit al st af f had John 's sist er summon ed in t he middle of t he n ig ht f rom
Delaw are t o part icipat e in t reat men t decision s.
b. .When Tevcsn da Bradshaw w en t in t o labor t his April, she an d her civil
un ion part n er Bz ~ ica Bradshaw n w en t t o t he hospit al, an d Tevon da f ox g ot t o brin g her
w allet con t ain in g her iden t if icat ion . While Tevon da w as in labor, hospit al st af f sen t
Erica home t o ret z ieve t he w allet so Tevon da could sig n t heir in f an t out of t he hospit al
af t erw ards; t houg h Erica had her ow n iden t if icat ion w it h her, an d t l~ e couple had pre-
reg ist ered as paren t s at t he hospit al, Erica w as n ot recog n iz ed as Teverico's pare7 3 t , as a
married spouse w ould have been .
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DA07 0
c . On February 8, 2011, Marsha Shapiro brought her c iv il union partner,
Louise Wal pin, to the ennergenc y room at P ri~ l c eton Medic al C enter, bec ause Louise was
ex perienc ing gastrointestinal pain. The hospital registrar did not rec ognize the term
" c iv il union partner," and insisted on l isting Louise as " singl e," l eav ing them with no
l egal l y rec ognized rel ationship f or purposes of al l owing Marsha to make medic al
dec isions on Louise's behal f . Louise, wl ~ o works as a nurse at C hil dren's Spec ial ized
H ospital , is f amil iar with the widel y-used medic al rec ord-keeping system " Meditec h. "
This c omputerized system has no way of registering " c iv il union partner. "
d. P rior to hav ing a c iv il union, C indy Meneghin ex perienc ed a medic al
emergenc y when she c aane down with meningitis. I n the emergenc y room, hex partner,
Maureen K il ian, was denied ac c ess until she was ul timatel y abl e to assert thaC sl ie had a
v al id adv anc e direc tiv e f or C indy. Their rel ationship was no more rec ognized af ter their
c iv il union, when C indy, again had to go to the emergenc y room with suspec ted
appendic itis. C indy tol d a nurse there that her c iv il union partner, Maureen, woul d soon
be arriv ing, but the nurse did not know what a c iv il union partner was, and kept insisting
that " it's not a marx iage," and that theref ore Maureen did riot hav e any rights of ac c ess or
v oic e in C indy's treatment.
32. Bec ause of the way in whic h their rel ationships are l abel ed dif f erentl y by tl x e
State, the P l aintif f c oupl es, c oupl es who are members of GSE, and other same-sex c oupl es must
disc l ose their sex ual orientation in their c iv ic deal ings, in a manner that is disc riminatory, unf air
and v iol ates their priv ac y. This f orc ed disc l osure impinges on the c oupl es' ac tiv ities in the
publ ic sphere, inc l uding in the q uintessential c iv ic duty of jury serv ic e. P rospec tiv e jurors are
routinel y asked their marital status. Bec ause c iv il union partners c annot truthf ul l y respond that
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t h e y a r e s i n g l e ox m a r r i e d or d e s c r i b e t h e i r s a m e- s e x p a r t n e r s a s l e g a l " s p ou s e s , " t h e i r a n s we r s t o
t h e s e q u e s t i on s , wh i c h r e q u i r e t h a t t h e y a t t e m p t t o e d u c a t e t h e ju d g e , c ou r t s t a f f , a n d a l l ju r or s
p r e s e n t a b ou t c i v i l u n i on , r e v e a l i n g t h e i r s e xu a l or i e n t a t i on . For e xa m p l e , i n 2010 P l a i n t i f f
Lou i s e Wa l p i n wa s c a l l e d t o ju z- y s e r v i c e a t t h e Mi d d l e s e x Cou n t y Cou r t h ou s e . I n c ou r t , i n f r on t
of c ou r t s t a f f a n d ot h e r ju r or s , t h e ju d g e a s k e d q u e s t i on s a b ou t h e r m a r i t a l s t a t u s . An s we r i n g
t r u t h f u l l y , t h a t s h e l i v e d wi t h h e r " c i v i l u n i on p a r t n e r , " e xp os e d h e r s e xu a l or i e n t a t i on t o
e v e r y on e i n t h e r oom . I - I a d s h e b e e n a b l e t o a n s we r c h a t s l l e wa s m a r xi e d a n d l i v e d wi t h h e r
" s p ou s e , " s h e wou l d n ot h a v e b e e n i n t h a t p os i t i on , a n d n or wou l d s h e h a v e t o won d e r wh e t h e r
d i s c r i m i n a t i on b a s e d on h e r s e xu a l or i e n t a t i on wa s a f a c t or i n h e r d i s m i s s a l f r om ju r y s e r v i c e t h a t
d a y .
33. Th e P l a i n t i f f c ou p l e s , c ou p l e s wh o a xe m e m b e r s of GSE, a n d ot h e r s a m e- s e x
c ou p l e s h a v e e xp e r i e n c e d c on f u s i on a b ou t a n d d i s r e g a r d f or t h e i r c i v i l u n i on s t a t u s wh e n s e e k i n g
g ov e r n m e n t a n d p r i v a t e - s e c t ox s e r v i c e s t h a t r e q u i r e t h e y a c c u r a t e l y f i l l ou t r e q u i r e d f a r m s , a s t h e
f or m s f a i l t o a c k n owl e d g e " c i v i l u n i on " a s a f a m i l y or l e g a l s t r u c t u r e . Th e s e e xp e r i e n c e s oc c u r
f r e q u e n t l y , i n a wi d e v a r i e t y of c on t e xt s i n c l u d i n g a t t h e i r c h i l d r e n ' s s c h ool s ; i n m e d i c a l of f i c e s
t h e y v i s i t f or r ou t i n e a p p oi n t m e n t s , a n d wi t h . a n a r r a y of ot Y z e r s e r v i c e p r ov i d e r s . I n ot h e r a s p e c t s
of p u b l i c l i f e , t h e P l a i n t i f f c ou p l e s , c ou p l e s wh o a r e m e m b e r s of GSE, a n d ok h e r s a m e- s e x
c ou p l e s a n d t h e i r c h i l d r e n a r e b u r d e n e d b y a n e e d t o e xp l a i n a n d ju s t i f y t h e i r l e g a l r e l a t i on s h i p ,
a s a d i r e c t c on s e q u e n c e of t h e i r e xc l u s i on f r om c i v i l m a r r i a g e a n d s e g r e g a t i on i n t o t h e c a t e g or y
of " c i v i l u n i on . "
a . For e xa m p l e , Ma r s h a Sh a p i r o a n d Lou i s e Wa l p i n ' s e xt r e n n e s or r ow a t t h e
t i m e of t h e i r s on Aa r on ' s d e a t h i n 2008 wa s i n c r e a s e d b e c a u s e t h e f u n e r a l h om e wi t h
wh i c h t h e y we r e d e a l i n g d i d n ot r e c og n i z e t h e t e r m " c i v i l u n i on . " Wh i l e p i c k i n g ou t a
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casket f o r Aar o n, and ar r anging f o r o f f icial f o r ms to acco mpany h is b u r ial , th e f u ner al
h o me insisted th at Mar sh a pr o du ce do cu mentatio n o f h er r el atio nsh ip ici Lo u ise, even
th o u gh sh e h ad al r eady stated th at th ey h ad a civil u nio n.
b . Mar cye Nich o l so n-Mcr adden r ecentl y deal t with tier car insu r ance car r ier ,.
wh o qu estio ned h er ab o u t wh eth er sh e was mar r ied, and wh en Mar cye expl ained h er civil
u nio n statu s, inf o r med Mar cye th at sh e sh o u l d j u st b e ab l e to state th at sh e was mar r ied,
And th at th e civil u nio n designatio n was " sil l y."
c. Last mo nth Kar en Nich o l so n-McFadden went to a new dentist, and again
sh e cr eated h er o wn b o x f o r " civil u nio n" o n a f o r m th at did no t co ntain th e o ptio n. Th e
staf f per so n to wh o m sh e gave th e.f o r m su ggested al ter ing h er r espo nse to say " mar r ied,"
so th at it wo u l d b e r eco gnized b y th e h eal th insu r ance system.
34. Wh en th ey.tr avel , th e P l aintif f co u pl es, co u pl es wh o ar e memb er s o f GSE, and
o th er same-sex co u pl es and th eir ch il dr en ar e h ar nned b y th e denial o f access to civil mar r iage.
" Civil u nio n," wh ich cu r r entl y exists in o nl y o ne o th er state, is no t awel l -u nder sto o d ter m with a
f ixed meaning, as is mar r iage. Th er ef o r e, wh en tr avel ing o u tside o f New J er sey, th e P l aintif f
co u pl es, co u pl es wh o ar e memb er s o f GSE, and o th er same-sex co u pl es and th eir ch il dr en ar e
again u nab l e to co nvey th e natu r e o f th eir r el atio nsh ip and u nab l e to access th e set o f r igh ts and
pr ivil eges th at mar r iage pr o vides. Even wh en tr avel ing in states th at do r eco gnize mar r iages o f
same-sex co u pl es, th e r el atio nsh ips o f P l aintif f co u pl es, co u pl es wh o ar e nnemb er s o f GSE, and
o th er New J er sey same-sex co u pl es and th eir ch il dr en ar e r egar ded as l ess th an equ al .
35. Fu r th er mo r e, many states, incl u ding. r egio nal neigh b o r s su ch . as Mar yl a~ id, New
Yo r k (wh ich next mo nth wil l al l o w same-sex co u pl es to man•y), and Rh o de I sl and, r eco gnize
mar r iages o f same-sex co u pl es val idl y per f o r nned in o th er j u r isdictio ns. Bu t civil-u nio n par tner s
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have had t o l i t i g at e i n o rder t o have t hei r s t at u s reco g n i zed, an d i n man y ac- eas a~ ~ d j u ri s di ct i o n s ,
ci vi l u n i o n reco g n i t i o n remai n s an o pen q u es t i o n . Thu s , i n man y j u ri s di ct i o n s ci vi l u n i o n s t at u s
den i es t hes e co u pl es an d t hei r chi l dren t he s ame b as i s t o cl ai m ri g ht s ' an d res po n s i b i l i t i es t hat i s
g i ven t o marri ed co u pl es an d t hei r chi l dren i n j u ri s di ct i o n s t hat cu rren t l y res pect t he marri ag es o f
s ame- s ex co u pl es , b ecau s e " ci vi l u n i o n ," as t he C i vi l Un i o n Act makes cl ear, i s n o t t he s ame as
" marri ag e," an d. t hu s has n o co g n at e i n t he l aws o f t ho s e s t at es .
Un eq u al Wo rkpl ace B e~ zefi t s an d P rn t ect i o ~ i s
36. Tl ~ e P l ai n t i ff co u pl es , co u pl es who are memb ers o f GSE, an d o t her s ame- s ex
co u pl es an d t hei r chi l dren are den i ed wo rkpl ace b en efi t s eq u i val en t t o t ho s e affo rded marri ed
s po u s es , b ecau s e o f t he n ave] n o men cl at u re t hat . New Jers ey has creat ed t p . defi n e t hei r l eg al
rel at i o n s hi ps . Al t ho u g h u n der N. J. S. A. 37:i - 32 ( e) , i n s u ran ce carri ers co vered b y s t at e l aw are
s u ppo s ed t o pro vi de eq u al b en efi t s t o ci vi l u n i o n part n ers an d s po u s es , i n pract i ce t hi s freq u en t l y
do es n o t o ccu r. C i vi l u n i o n part n ers an d t hei r chi l dren are n o t au t o mat i cal l y co vered b y
empl o yee b en efi t Man s o r co l l ect i vel y b arg ai n ed ag reemen t s t hat pro vi de b en efi t s fo r, o r ext en d
co verag e t o , t he marri ed s po u s e o f an empl o yee. I n mfl n y i n s t an ces , t hi s di fferen ce mean s t hat
s ame- s ex co u pl es are den i ed t he s ame l evel o f b en efi t s pro vi ded t o marri ed s po u s es , o r are
fo rced t o pay mo re. mo n ey t o at t ai n t he s ame b en efi t s affo rded o t hers .
37. I n o t her j u ri s di ct i o n s , s u ch as C o n n ect i cu t , t he D i s t ri ct o f C o l u mb i a, I o wa,
Mas s achu s et t s , New Hamps hi re, an d Vermo n t , where s ame- s ex co u pl es may en t er ci vi l
marri ag e, empl o yers co i xi mo n l y ext en d b en efi t s t o s ame- s ex s po u s es o n t he s ame t erms as t o
o t her marri ed s po u s es , even i f cu rren t federal l aw wo u l d al l o w t hem t o di s cri mi n at e. Ho wever,
i n New Jers ey, where s ame- s ex co u pl es are des i g n at ed b y a. s epaxat e t erm an d are n ever
reco g n i zed as marri ed ( b ecau s e even i f t hey b an e ro amed i n an o t her j u ri s di ct i o n , New Jers ey
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demotes th ei r v a l i d ma r r i a ges a nd r ec ogni z es th em onl y a s c i v i l u ni ons) , th ey a r e r i ot v i ewed a s
"spou se, " a nd empl oyer s- th er a f a r e of ten deny b enef i ts to c i v i l u r ni on pa r tner s. Of ten, th e
P l a i nti f f c ou pl es, c ou pl es wh o a r e memb er s of GSE, a nd oth er c i v i l - - u ni oned sa me- sex c ou pl es
a r e f or c ed to c u r ta i l th ei r empl oyment opti ons or i nc u r a ddi ti ota a l ex pensc ; s to pr ov i de h ea l th
i nsu r a nc e f or th ei r pa r tner s a nd c h i l dr en, b ec a u se th ey l a c k th e l ega l sta tu s of ma r r i ed spou ses —
ev en i f ma r r i ed el sewh er e. Fa r ex a mpl e; P l a i nti f f Lou i se Wa l pi n pr ov i des h ea l th i nsu r a nc e f or
h er f a mi l y b ec a u se h er pa r tner , Ma r sh a Sh a pi r o, i s sel f - empl oyed. ' th ei r f a mi l y' s - need T or h ea l th
i nsu r a nc e l ea s H i stor i c a l l y b een h i gh , a s th ei r dec ea sed son Aa r on h a d pr of ou nd spec i a l needs,
a nd a noth er son r eq u i r ed spec i a l sc h ool i ng a nd c a r e. T h e f a mi l y' s ex penses a ssoc i a ted wi th th ei r
c h i l dr en' s c a r e h a v e b een so h i gh th a t Ma r sh a a nd Lou i se h a d to ta k e ou t sec ond a nd th i r d
mor tga ges on th ei r h ome. Lou i se h a s l ea d to l i mi t h er empl oyment to job s th a t of f er b enef i ts to
c i v i l u ni on pa r tner s. I n Nov emb er 2009, th e h u ma n r esou r c es depa r tnnent a t h er c u r r ent nu r si ng
job , w3 i i c h sh e l ov es, noti f i ed l eer th a t, b ec a u se of f i na nc i a l c i r c u msta nc es, th e c ompa ny wa s
r eev a l u a ti ng wh eth er i t wou l d c onti nu e to of f er b enef i ts to c i v i l u ni on pa r tner s of empl oyees.
T h e sa me c onsi der a ti on wa s not gi v en i o el i mi na ti ng spou sa l b enef i ts. T h e empl oyer
su b seq u entl y a dv i sed th a t b enef i ts f or Ma r sh a wou l d c onti nu e, b u t f or one yea r onl y. Anoth er
one- yea z ~ ex tensi on f or c i v i l u ni on pa r tner c ov er a ge wa s i ssu ed i n 201 1 ' , wi th th e ex pr ess c a v ea t
th a t th e c ommi tment a ga i n i s onl y f or th e c u r r ent yea r . Su c h u nc er ta i nty, a nd th e gr ea t a nx i ety
a nd wor r y th a t i t c r ea tes f or th e c ou pl e, wou l d not ex i st i f th ey c ou l d ma z x y.
La c k of Fu ni i l y Lu i v P r otec ti on
3 8. A c r i ti c a l a spec t of ma r r i a ge i s th e pr otec ti on i t a f f or ds f a mi l i es a nd spou ses i n th e
ev ent of sepa r a ti on or di v or c e. Ob v i ou sl y th e P l a i nti f f c ou pl es seek to ma r r y, not di v or c e, b u t i t
i s th e c a se th a t f a mi l y l a w pr otec ti ons a v a i l a b l e to sa me- sex c ou pl es seek i ng to di v or c e i n New
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Jersey a ~- e unequa l with resp ec t to a c c ess to the c o urts if , a s c o uld o c c ur f o r so me sa me- sex a s
well a s dif f erent- sex c o up les, the rela tio nship bec o mes tro ubled. S ig nif ic a ntly, the sta tute
p ro viding f o r disso lutio n o f ma rria g e up o n the g ro unds o f " irrec o nc ila ble dif f erenc es" do es no t
c lea rly a p p ly to c ivil unio n. This g ro und f o r divo rc e a bso lves either p a tty o f tl~ e need to a lleg e
lia d f a ith o r sp ec if ic a c ts o n the p a rt o f the o ther p a rty, a nd a s a result ma kes divo rc e p ro c eeding s
sig nif ic a ntly less litig io us, a nd theref o re less ex p ensive. Altho ug h the C ivil Unio n Ac t p ro vided
tha t " [ t] he la ws o f do mestic rela tio ns, inc luding . . . divo rc e . . . sha lt a p p ly to c ivil unio n
c o up les[ , ] " N . J. S . A. 37:1- 3Z(c ), the la ter- ena c ted sta tute c rea ting no - f a ult divo rc e did no t
mentio n c ivil unio ns. S ee L. 2007 c . 6: Fa mily Pa rt judg es rema in c o nf used a bo ut the
a p p lic a bility o f this p ro visio n to c ivil unio n disso lutio n, a s do f a mily la w p ra c titio ners. At the
very lea st, it. is a questio n tha t must be a nswered in ea c h a nd every c ivil unio n disso lutio n
p ro c eeding , a t the litig a nts' ex p ense.
39. Furthermo re, sa me- sex c o up les who ha ve been ma rried in o ther jurisdic tio ns f a c e
unc erta inty in the event o f disso lutio n. The S ta te ha s o p p o sed the a bility o f suc h c o up les to
rec eive a divo rc e, a s a p p o sed to a disso lutio n, lea ving these c o up les a nd thud p a rties unc erta in a s
to whether their ma rria g e rema ins in ef f ec t in o ther jurisdic tio ns. The c urrent Fa mily Pa rt C a se
Inf o rma tio n S ta tement whic h must a c c o mp a ny every f iling in the S up erio r C o urt, f a mily Pa rt,
inc luding a disso lutio n o f c ivil unio n, uses the no n; z enc la ttue o f " ma rria g e, " a sking litig a nts to
rep o rt " da te o f ma rria g e. " It do es no t mentio n " c ivil unio n. "
40. The leg a l sta tus o f a nt- o f- sta te ma rria g es o f sa me- sex c o up les is c ha ra c teriz ed by
unc erta inty in o ther resp ec ts a s well. Altho ug h the Atto rney Genera l issued a n o p ini~ ~ n tha t suc h
ma rria g es sho uld be rec o g niz ed a s c ivil unio ns f o r p urp o ses o f N ew Jersey la w, the S ta te a lso
c rea ted the p ro c ess o f " rea f f irma tio n, " . whereby sa me- sex c o up les ma y f o rma lly a p p ly to ha ve
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t h e i r o u t - o f - s t a t e m a r r i a g e s r e c o ~ i i z e d a s c i v i l u n i o n s . Ma r r i a g e s be t we e n d i f f e r e n t- s e x p e o p l e
d o n o t r e q u i r e a n y s u c h f o r m a l c o n v e r s i o n , a s t h e y a r e a u t o m a t i c a l l y g r a n t e d r e c o g n i t i o n , Th e
e x i s t e n c e o f t h e " r e a f f i r m a t i o n " p r o c e s s bo t h i n d i c a t e s t h e l e v e l o f c o n f u s i o n a bo u t wh a t c i v i l
u n i o n s a x e a n d c r e a t e s c o n f u s i o n a bo u t t h e s t a t u s o f v a l i d m a r r i a g e s o f s a m e - s e x c o u p l e s e n t e r e d
i n t o i n o t h e r j u r i s d i c t i o n s . Th i s c o n f u s i o n a r i s e s be c a u s e o f t h e S t a t e- c r e a t e d c i v i l u n i o n s t a t u s t o
wh i c h s a m e - s e x c o u p l e s i n Ne w j e r s e y h a v e be e n c o n s i g z i e d .
Di s p a r a t e a n d Un f a i r F i r t a ~ i c i a 1 1 3 r r r d e ~ a s
41 . Be c a u s e t h e y a r e d e n i e d a c c e s s t o c i v i l ~ n a n-i a g e a n d i t s u n i v e r s a l l y r e c o g n i z e d
m e a n i n g , t h e . P l a i n t i f f c o u p l e s , c p u p l e s wh o a r e m e m be x s o f GS E, a n d o t h e r s a m e - s e x c o u p l e s
i n c u r a d d i t i o n a l c o s t s t o e n s u r e t h a t t h e i r p r o p e r t y r i g h t s , f a m i l y r e l a t i o n s h i p s , a n d t a x
o bl i g a t i o n s a r e p r o p e r l y u n d e r s t o o d , e n f o r c e a bl e , a n d p r o t e c t e d i n l i g h t o f t h e i r s e p a r a t e
c a t e g o r i z a t i o n , Ac c e s s t o c i v i l m a r r i a g e wo u l d . r e d u c e o r o bv i a t e t h e n e e d f o r s p e c i a l i z e d l e g a l
s e r v i c e s f o r s a m e- s e x c o u p l e s , .
42. I Y l a n y o f t h e P l a i n t i f f c o u p l e s , c o u p l e s wh o a r e m e m be r s o f GS E, a n d o t h e r s a m e -
s e x c o u p l e s h a v e e x e c u t e d h e a l t h - c a r e p r o x i e s , i n t h e e v e n t t h a t t h e i r c i v i l u n i o n s a r e n o t
r e c o g n i z e d i n a m e d i c a l e m e r g e n c y: F o r e x a a n p l e , Da n n y We i s s c a n z e s c o p i e s o f s u c h
d o c u m e n t s o n p a p e r a n d o n a ke yc h a i n f l a s h d r i v e e v e r ywh e r e l i e g o e s , a n d Li z Qu i n o n e s c a r r i e s
a bi n d e r o f f a m i l y d o c u m e n t s i n h e r c a r .
43 . S e v e r a l o f t h e P l a i n t i f f c o u p l e s , a s we l l a s m a n y c o u p l e s wh o a r e m e m be r s o f
GS E, a n d o t h e r s a m e - s e x c o u p l e s h a v e p u r s u e d a n d p a i d f o r c o u r t p r o c e e d i n g s t o a d o p t t h e i r o wn
c h i l d r e n; be c a u s e t h e y a r e d e e p l y c o n c e r n e d t h a t t h e p r e s u m p t i o n o f p a r e n t h o o d wi l t n o t be
a p p l i e d t o t h e m , a s m e m be r s o f a c i v i l u n i o n .
44, Ma n y o f t h e P l a i n t i f f c o u p l e s , c o u p l e s wh o a r e m e m be r s o f GS E, a n d o t h e r s a m e -
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sex couples exper i en ce compli cati on s an d con fusi on when fi li n g thei r taxes, because tax
pr ofessi on als often do n ot i ui der stan d " ci v i l un i on ." Elen a an d. Li z Q ui n o~ les, , for example, had
tr ouble g etti n g thei r taxes han dled pr oper ly at the New J er sey offi ce of a n ati on al chai n of tax
pr ofessi on als un fami li ar wi th ci v i l un i on .
45. R eleg ati n g same- sex couples to ci v i l un i on s hi n der s thei r abi li ty to seek maxr i ag e-
based ben efi ts when S ecti on 3 of the Defen se of Mar r i ag e Act, 1 U.S .C. § 7 (" DOVIA" ) i s n o
lon g er oper ati v e. The Un i ted S tates Gov er n men t Accoun tabi li ty Offi ce has catalog ued 1 , 1 38
feder al stAtutor y pr ov i si on s that di sti n g ui sh Uetween ui ai 77ec1 an d un i z~ ar ~ • i ed i n di v i duals an d
couples. In sev er al states that allow same- sex couples to mar r y , those couples ar e challen g i n g
the den i al of mar r i ag e- r elated feder al ben efi ts such as S oci al S ecur i ty ben efi ts, pen si on r i g hts,
taxati on exempti on s (an d, con v er sely , pen alti es), educati on al loan s, an d i n her i tan ce r i g hts.
In deed, ' the P r esi den t an d the Depar tmen t of J u$ ti ce hav e con cluded that S ecti on 3 of DOMA i s
un con sti tuti on al an d ar e r efusi n g to defen d i t i n cour t, see Letter fr om Attor n ey Gen er al to
Con g r ess on Li ti g ati on In v olv i n g the Defen se of Mar r i ag e Act (Feb. 23, 201 1 ), av ai lable at
http: / / www.j usti ce.g ov / opa/ pr / 201 1 / Febr uar y / 1 1 - ag - 223.htm1 (fast accessed J un e 28 , 201 1 );
sev er al feder al cour ts hav e held DOMA to be un con sti tuti on al an d en j oi n ed i ts en for cemen t, see
Gi ll v . pace ~ f P er s. Mg mt., 699 F.S upp.2d 374. (D. Mass. 20 0); Massachusetts v ..Dep' t of
Health &Human S er v s., .68 9 F. S upp.2d 234 (D. Mass. 201 0); In r e Balas, No. 2: 1 1 - bk- 1 78 31 ,
201 1 Ban kr . LEXIS 21 57 (C.D. Cal. J un e 1 3, 201 1 ); ui d an other feder al cour t' has den i ed a
moti on to. di smi ss a complai n t challen g i n g DOMA' s con sti tuti on ali ty , see Dr ug ov i ch v . U, S .
Dept of the Tr easur y , No. 1 0- 01 564, 201 1 U.S . Di st. LEX1 S 48 59 (N.D. Cal. J an . l ~ , 20l 1 ).
The v i abi li ty of DOMA i s i n ser i ous doubt. Yet New J er sey bar s same- sex couples fr oze
mar r i ag e, so P lai n ti ff couples, couples who ar e member s of GS E, an d other same- sex couples ar e
- 25-
DA078
h i n d e r e d fr om e n gagi n g i n i n an - i age - b as e d c h al l e n ge s t o DOMA an d i t s d i s c r i mi n at or y e ffe c t s ,
an d w i l l n ot gai n t h e r i gh t s an d b e n e fi t s t h at w i l l b e av ai l ab l e aft e r t h e r e p e al or s t r i k i n g d ow n of
DOMA: un d e r Ne w J e r s e y l aw , t h e y ar e n ot mar r i e d s p ous e s , b ut r at h e r c i v i l un i on p ar t n e r s , a
t e r m t h at h as n o e s t ab l i s h e d l e gal me an i n g i n r e l at i on t o mar r i age- b as e d fe d e r al U e n e fi t s .
En c our agi ~ag Di s c r i mi r t at i o~: Gy P r i v at e I n d l v i r C ual s
46. By l ab e l i n g t h e r e l at i on s h i p s of l e s b i an an d gay c oup l e s as d i ffe r e n t fr om t h os e of
h e t e r os e x ual c oup l e s , t h e S t at e r at i fi e s an d l e gi t i mi z e s t h e n ot i on t h at l e s b i an an d gay i n d i v i d ual s
ar e w or t h y of l e s s e r s t at ur e i n s oc i e t y an d e n c our age s d i s c r i mi n at i on agai n s t l e s b i an an d gay
p e op l e . Th e S t a. t e ' s e x c l us i on of s ame- s e x c oup l e s fr om mar r i age an d c r e at i on of a s e p ar at e
i n s t i t ut i on for t h e m t r i gge r s an d fue l s s oc i al s t i gma, h ar as s me n t , d i s c r i mi n at i on , an d e v e n
v i ol e n c e agai n s t p e op l e w h o ar e l e s b i an an d gay an d t h e i r c h i l d r e n ,
47. S t at e- c r e at e d c i v i l . un i on s e n ab l e d i s c r i mi n at i on b y for c i n g t h e P l ai n t i ff c oup l e s ,
c oup l e s w h o ar e me mb e r s of GS E, an d ot h e r s ame- s e c c oup l e s t o d i s c l os e t h e i r s e x ual ,
or i e n t at i on i n ' or d e r t o r e al i z e b e n e fi t s t o w h i c h t h e y ar e l e gal l y e n t i t l e d . Be c aus e s ame- s e x
c oup l e s ar e d e n i e d ac c e s s t o t h e l e gal s t at us of "mar r i age " an d _ "s p ous e , " t h e y mus t r e v e al t h e i r
s e x ual or i e n t at i on i n s i h i at i on s w h e r e ot h e r w i s e t h e y mi gh t n ot c h oos e t o, or w h e r e t h e y c oul d
n ot l e gal l y b e for c e d — or e v e n as k e d — t o d o s o. For i n s t an c e , t h i s i n v as i on of p r i v ac y oc c ur s
w h e n a c i v i l un i on p ar t n e r mus t as k k r i s or h e r c ur r e n t e mp l oy e r ab out b e n e fi t s £ oz c i v i l un i on .
p ar t n e r s t h at w oul d aut omat i c al l y b e e x t e n d e d t o mar r i e d s p ous e s , or mus t i n q ui r e w h e t h e r a
p r os p e c t i v e e mp l oy e r w i l l e x t e n d . b e n e ft s t o a c i v i l un i on p ar t n e r . Loui s e Wal p i n , w h o w oul d
n ot ot h e r w i s e d i s c us s h e r s e x ual or i e n t at i on at a job i n t e r v i e w , fe l t c omp e l l e d t o i n q ui r e w h e t h e r
h e r p r os p e c t i v e e mp l oy e r s offe r e d b e n e fi t s t o c i v i l u~i i on p ar t n e r s w h e n l ook i n g for a n ur s i n g job
i n Ne w J e r s e y . P r os p e c t i v e e mp l oy e r s oft e n d i d n ot - k n ow w h at a "c i v i l un i on " w as , or w oul d
- 26-
DA0. 79
not provide b enef its f or c ivil union pa rtners . Louis e wonders whether s ome empl oyers
dis c rimina ted a g a ins t her a nd did z ~ ot hire her b ec a us e her inq uiries . dis c l os ed her s exua l
orienta tion.
Sf ig ~ na tiz a tion, Ps yc hol og ic a l H c z rnt, a nd D i~ ~ z ita ry H a rm
4$. By dis ting uis hing b etween the rel a tions hips of l es b ia ns a nd g a y men, in c ontra s t
to thos e of heteros exua l s , the g overnment l a b el s l es b ia ns a nd g a y men, their pa rtners ; a nd their
c hil dren with a b a dg e of inf eriority. Exc l us ion of s a me-s ex c oupl es f rom rna rria g e a l s o
perpetua tes f a l s e a nd ha rmf ul . s tereotypes a b out l es b ia n a nd g a y individua l s , s uc h a s tha t they a re
promis c uous , inc a pa b l e of f orming l a s ting b onds , a nd s ub-optima l pa rents .
49. Soc ia l s c ienc e a nd medic a l l itera ture es ta b l is hes tha t repea ted s ti~ nna tiz a tion a nd
expos ure to dis c rimina tion ha s c ons eq uenc es tha t g o b eyond mere pa s s ing indig nity. Suc h
s tig ma tiz a tion a nd dis c rimina tion c a n impos e . l a s ting a nd even perma nent phys ic a l , emotiona l ,
a nd ps yc hol og ic a l ha rm.
Additiona l Spec if ic H a rms to Chil dren
50. Furthermore, f ine Civil Union Ac k ha s f a il ed to remedy the unc ons titutiona l
c irc ums ta nc e in whic h "ineq uities " a re "b orne b y [the] c hil dren" of s a ne-s ex c oupl es , 188 N . J .
a t 450. As b ef ore, the l a w of the Sta te "vs it[s ] on thes e c hil dren a f l a wed a nd inf erior s c heme
direc ted a t their pa rents ," id. a t 453. In a ddition to a f f ording l es s protec tion. to hous ehol ds
hea ded b y s a me-s ex c oupl es whil e a t the s a me time dis proportiona tel y impos ing f ina nc ia l
b urdens upon s uc h hous ehol ds , the uneq ua l trea tment of l es b ia n a nd g a y rel a tions hips c a us es
direc t a nd indirec t dig nita ry ha rm to the c hil dren of s a me-s ex c oupl es , a nd to l es b ia n a nd g a y
youth.
Sl . Chil dren in hous ehol ds hea ded b y s a me-s ex c oupl es a re ha rmed b y the f a c t tha t
their pa rents a re exc l uded f rom ma rria g e. They s uf f er f rom s tig ma direc ted a t their pa rents a s a
-27-
D A080
consequence of t h ei r S t a t e-i mposed second-cl a ss st a t us, a ci d t h ey a r e deni ed t h e sa me l ev el of
secur i t y a nd l eg a l pr ot ect i on a ffor ded t h ei r peer s w i t h ma r r i ed pa r ent s.
5 2 . Th e P l a i nt i ff coupl es, coupl es w h o a r e member s of GS E, a nd ot h er sa me-sex
coupl es i n New J er sey ca nnot i nv oke t h e st a t us of ma r r i a g e i n or der t o coi nr nuni ca t e t o t h ei r
ch i l dr en a nd ot h er s t h e dept h a nd per ma nence of t h e coupl es' commi t ment i n t er ms t h a t soci et y,
a nd ev en young ch i l dr en, r ea di l y under st a nd a nd r espect . Th ei r ch i l dr en a r e l eft t o g r ow up w i t h
t h e S t a t e-sponsor ed messa g e t h a t t h ei r pa r ent s a nd fa mi l i es a r e i nfer i or t o ot h er s a nd t h a t t h ey
a i d t h ei r pa r ent s do not deser v e t h e sa me soci et a l r ecog ni t i on a nd suppor t a s fa mi l i es h ea ded by
di ffer ent-sex coupl es do.
5 3. Th y benefi t s of ma r r i a g e a r e. needed a s much by ch i l dr en i n h omes h ea ded by
sa me-sex coupl es a s t h ey a r e by ch i l dr en. r ea r ed i n t h e h omes of di ffer ent-sex coupl es. M a r r i a g e
i s a s l i kel y t o benefi t t h e mi nor P l a i nt i ffs, , ch i l dr en of coupl es w h o a r e. member s of GS E, a nd
ch i l dr en of ot h er sa me-sex coupl es emot i ona l l y, economi ca l l y, a nd l eg a l l y a s i t does ot h er
ch i l dr en, a nd w oul d secur e g r ea t er di g ni t y a nd soci a l l eg i t i nna cy for t h em a nd t h ei r fa mi l i es.
5 4 . M i nor P l a i nt i ffs, ch i l dr en of coupl es w l x o a r e member s of GS E, a nd ch i l dr en of
ot h er sa me-sex coupl es h a v e t h e sa me needs for emot i ona l , l eg a l , a nd economi c secur i t y;
per sona l di g ni t y; fa mi l i a l st a bi l i t y; . . a nd soci a l a ccept a nce a nd l eg i t i ma cy for t h ei r fa mi l i es a nd
t h emsel v es a s do ch i l dr en of di ffer ent-sex coupl es, i ncl udi ng t h e need for cl ea r l y defi ned a nd
r ea di l y r ecog ni z ed l eg a l r el a t i onsh i ps w i t h bot h pa r ent i s. C h i l dr en w h ose pa r ent s ca nnot a ccess
or a ffor d a dopt i on w oul d, i n pa r t i cul a r , benefi t fr om a ccess t o, a nd. r ea dy r ecog ni t i on off; t h e
a ut oma t i c pa r ent-ch i l d t i es t h a t ma t r i moni a l l a w cl ea r l y pr ov i des t o ch i l dr en bor n i nt o a
ma r r i a g e,
5 5 . S uch cl ea r defi ni t i on of t h e pa r ent-ch i l d r el a t i onsh i p i s especi a l l y i mpor t a nt
2 8 -
DA081
d u r i n g tu n es of c r i si s, su c h as med i c al emer g en c i es or the d eath of a p ar en t. Sec u r e leg al ti es c an
assu r e c on ti n u i ty i n the c hi ld ' s r elati on shi p wi th the su r v i v i n g p ar en t an d mi n i mi ze the r i sk of
c lai ms by other s for c u stod y . Li k ewi se, shou ld p ar en ts sep ar ate, sec u r e leg al ti es mak e i t
u n lawfu l for on e p ar en t ar U i tr ar i ly to seek to c u t off the other p ar en t- c hi ld r elati on shi p .
Mar r i ag e, i n thi s way an d other s set for th her ei n , i n c r eases the ov er all ec on omi c r esou z' c es
av ai lable to c hi ld r en , whether the mar r i ag e c on ti n u es or en d s by d eath or d i v or c e. Con fu si on
r eg ar d i n g leg al statu s, as i s c ommon ly exp er i en c ed i n c on n ec ti on wi th c i v i l u n i on s, thu s
thr eaten s tt~ e well- bei n g of the mi n or P lai n ti ffs an d the c hi ld r en of c ou p les who ar e member s of
GSE.
56. Allowi n g same- sex c ou p les to mar r y i s i n the best i n ter ests of an d wi ll ben efi t
c hi ld r en bei n g r ai sed by same- sex c ou p les an d the. c ou p les themselv es, wi thou t hav i n g an y
d etr i men tal effec t on d i ffer en t- sex c ou p les or thei r c hi ld r en .
57. Lesbi an an d g ay y ou th —whether they hav e or had d i ffer en t- sex, same- sex or
si n g le p ar en ts —ar e also har med by the exc lu si on of saan e- sex c ou p les fr om mar r i ag e. These
y ou th r ec ei v e the messag e that they , an d thei r fu tu r e r elati on shi p s, ar e n ot wor thy of the
esteemed i n sti tu ti on of mar r i ag e, - an d ' that they ar e ther efor e n ot v alu ed eq u ally U y thei r
g ov er n men t an d c ommu n i ti es. Su c h d i sc r i mi n ati on an d sti g mati zati on c omp ou n d s p sy c holog i c al
har m an d c on tr i bu tes to. d i sp r op or ti on ate r ates of su bstan c e abu se, v i c ti mi zati on , bu lly i n g ,
d ep r essi on , an d su i c i d e.
No Vali d J c tsti ftc ati on for Exc lu si on
58. The c on ti n u ed exc lu si on of lesbi an s an d g ay men fr om the i n sti tu ti on of c i v i l
mar r i ag e i s c on si sten t wi th the hi stor i c al p r ac ti c e of mar g i n ali zi n g an d . d emean i n g d i sfav or ed
g r ou p s by exc lu d i n g them fr om the most fav or ed leg al statu s. Classi fc ati on s based on sexu al
- 29-
DA082
o r i e n t a t i o n ha ve a hi s t o r y o f fu e l i n g i n vi d i o u s d i s c r i m i n a t i o n . I n Ne w J e r s e y a n d n a t i o n wi d e ,
l e s b i a n s a n d g a y m e n ha ve b e e n t he s u b j e c t o f m a r g i n a l i z a t i o n a n d d i s c r i m i n a t i o n .
59. I n o t he r a r e a s o f i t s l a w, Ne w J e r s e y ha s r e c o g n i z e d t ha t l e s b i a n s a n d g a y m e n a r e
s u b j e c t t o d i s c r i m i n a t i o n , a n d t ha t s u c h d i s c r i m i n a t i o n i s ha r m fu l a n d s ho u l d b e i l l e g a l . Fo r
e xa m pl e , Ne w J e r s e y . ha s b r o u g ht s e xu a l o r i e n t a t i o n wi t hi n a m b i t o f t he La w A g a i n s t
D i s c r i m i n a t i o n . N. J . S . A . 1 0 : 5- 1 2 ( a ) ; Le wi s , 1 88 N. J . a t 444- 4$ ( d i s c u s s i n g c o m m i t m e n t o f Ne w
J e r s e y t o e l i m i n a t i n g s e xu a l o r i e n t a t i o n d i s c r i m i n a t i o n ) .
60 . Eve n i n m a i n t a i n i n g a s e pa r a t e s y s t e m o f c i vi l u n i o n fo r s a m e- s e x c o u pl e s , t he
S t a t e r e c o g n i z e s t ha t s a m e- s e x c o u pl e s fa r m l a s t i n g r e l a t i o n s hi ps fo r t he pu r po s e s o f m u t u a l
s u ppo r t a n d l o ve , a n d e vi n c e s i t s s t a t e i n t e r e s t i n pr o m o t i n g t he d u r a b i l i t y a n d s t a b i l i t y o f t he s e
r e l a t i o n s hi ps . N. J . S . A , 3 7 : 1 - 2 8( a ) , ( b ) .
61 . The S t a t e a l s o r e c o g n i z e s , a n d m e d i c a l , ps y c ho l o g i c a l , a n d s o c i a l s c i e n c e
l i t e r a t u r e s u ppo r t s , t ha f s e xu a l o r i e n t a t i o n ha s n o b e a r i n g o n a n i n d i vi d u a l o r c o u pl e ' s a b i l i t y t o
s u c c e s s fu l l y r a i s e c hi l d r e n . S e e Le wi s ; 1 88 N. J , a t 444- 45. Thu s , t he S t a t e ; whi c h ha s d i s a vo we d
r e l i a n c e u po n pr o c r e a t i o n a n d c hi l d- r e a r i n g c o n s i d e r a C i o n s a s j u s t i fi c a t i o n s fo r e xc l u d i n g l e s b i a n
a n d g a y i n d i vi d u a l s fr o m m a r r i a g e , Le wi s , l 88 N. J . a t 42 9 n . 6, 43 2 , r e c o g n i z e s t he r i g ht o f
l e s b i a n a n d g a y pa r e n t s t o r a i s e t he i r o wn c hi l d r e n , a n d pl a c e s fo s t e r c hi l d r e n i n s a m e =s e e pa r e n t
ho m e s t hr o u g h t he D i vi s i o n o f Yo u t h a n d Fa m i l y S e r vi c e s .
62 . The S t a t e pr e vi o u s l y s o u g ht t o j u s t i fy i t s e xc l u s i o n o f s a m e - s e x c o u pl e s fr o m c i vi l
z n a n-i a g e i n pa r t b y r e fe r e n c e t o i t s " i n t e r e s t i n u n i fo r m i t y wi t h o t he r s t a t e s ' l a ws . " 1 88 N. J , a t
453 . To t he e xt e n t t ha t t he . S t a t e wo u l d s t i l l a s s e r t a n i n t e r e s t i n u n i fo r m i t y , i n t e r i m
d e ve l o pm e n t s ha ve r e n d e r e d . Ne w J e r s e y ' s t r e a t m e n t ' o f s a m e- s e x r e l a t i o n s hi ps a n a n o m a l y . I n
t he r e g i o n s u r r o u n d i n g Ne w J e r s e y , t he . S t a t e s o f C o n n e c t i c u t , Ma r y l a n d , Ma s s a c hu s e t t s , Ne w
- 3 0 -
D A 0 83
Hampshire, New York, Rhode I sl an d, a»d Vermon t al l prov ide or rec og n iz e marriag es of same-
sex c ou pl es. Today, bec au se New J ersey desig n ates the rel ation ships of same-sex c ou pl es as
somethin g other than marriag e, it' is in c reasin g l y ou t-of-step with the maj ority of su rrou n din g
states, an d den ies same-sex rel ation ships the statu re ac c orded them in man y n eig hborin g
j u risdic tion s —ev en in those that do n ot themsel v es issu e marriag e l ic en ses to same-sex c ou pl es.
63. The S tate has n o l eg itimate in terest in den yin g same-sex c ou pl es ac c ess to c iv il
marriag e. I n deed, the S tate has an in terest in promotin g the stabil ity of same-sex rel ation ships
an d in promotin g positiv e ou tc omes for c hil dren raised by l esbian an d g ay paren ts. The
c ateg oriz ation of l esbian an d g ay rel ation ships as l ess than , differen t from, an d in ferior to the
rel ation ships of heterosex u al peopl e u n dermin es these in terests.
CLAI MS FOR RELI EI '
64. The P l ain tiff c ou pl es, c ou pl es who are members of GS E, an d other same-sex
c ou pl es are harmed by the stig matiz in g , separate-bu t-u n equ al system of. " c iv il union" main tain ed
by New J ersey, The ex c l u sion of the P l ain tiff c ou pl es, c ou pl es who are members of GS E, an d
other same-sex c ou pl es from c iv il marriag e is at best irration al , an d at worst, an in ten tion al
sig n al of g ov ern men tal disapprov al of l esbian an d g ay rel ation ships an d an in v itation to
disc rimin ate ag ain st l esbian s an d g ay men an d. their c hil dren .
65. Thou g h the ex c l u sion of l esbian an d g ay c ou pl es from c iv il marriag e l ac ks ev en . a
ration al basis, the S tate' s ex c l u sion mu st be su bj ec ted to a heig hten ed stan dard of rev iew,
bec au se it is a c l assific ation based on sex u al orien tation an d sex , an d bec au se it impin g es u pon
fu n damen tal rig hfs.
-31-
DA084
Claim One: Denial of Epual Protection Mandated by A rticle Y , Para~rapt~ 1 of th e
New Jersey Co~istitution
66. Plaintiffs realleg e and incorporate by reference th e preceding alleg ations as if
fully set forth h erein.
67. A rticle I , Parag raph 1 of th e New rersey Constitution prov ides th at ev ery person
posses4 es th e " unalienable rig h ts" to enjoy life, liberty, and property, and to pursue h appiness,
and protects ag ainst th e unequal treatment of th ose wh o sh ould be treated alik e.
6$. By imposing civ il unions on same-sex couples only, New Jersey h arms Plaintiff
same-sex couples and th eir ch ildren, wh o are similarly situated to different-sex couples and th eir
ch ildren with respect to th e formation of lov ing and familial bonds, barring th em from civ il
marriag e for no leg itimate purpose or counterv ailing public need.
69. F urth ertz ~ore, th e state' s exclusion is unconstitutional under th e decision in
Lewis v . Harris, in wh ich th e New Jersey Supreme Court recog niz ed th at a " parallel statutory
structure" could be permissible under th e New Jersey Constitution only if it prov ided for equal
rig h ts and benefits. Lewis, 188 N.J. at 4 23. " jT)h e unequal dispensation of rig h ts and benefits to
committed same-sex partners can no long er be tolerated under our State Constitution." I d.
70. A s set forth abov e, th e institution of " civ il union" is unequal and inferior to th e
institution of marriag e, wh ich is a leg al relationsh ip th at is univ ersally understood and
recog niz ed. A civ il union does not ev en prov ide all of th e tang ible rig h ts and benetts of
marriag e. furth ermore, it effectiv ely inv ites and sanctions discrimination on th e basis of sexual
orientation by g ov ernment officials and priv ate indiv iduals and entities.
71. Civ il unions also do not and cannot prov ide th e intang ible and symbolic rig h ts
and benefits attendant to ma~` riag e, and th e depriv ation of th ese benefits constitutes a cog niz able
constitutional h arm for th e Plaintiff couples, couples wh a are members of GSE, and oth er same-
-32-
DA O$5
sex c o u p l es. and t h ei r c h i l dr en. Ti e st at e r eser v es c i v i l mar r i age, t h e mo st so c i al l y v al u ed fo r m
o f r el at i o nsh i p , fo r di ffer ent- sex c o u p l es, and h as c r eat ed an i nfer i o r l egal r el at i o nsh i p fo r l esb i an
and gay p eo p l e and t h ei r c h i l dr en i n t h e ey es o f t h e l aw and t h e c o mYnu ni t y , deny i ng t h em eq u al
r i gh t s o n t h e b ads o f t h e adu l t s' sexu al o r i ent at i o n and t h ei r sex and i mp er mi ssi b l y c l assi fy i ng
t h ei r c h i l dr en o n t h e b ases o f t h ei r p ar ent s' sexu al o r i ent at i o n, sex and mar i t al st aC u s.
72. Tl i e S t at e c anno t demo nst r at e t 1 ~ at t h er e i s a "p u b l i c need" t o exc l u de P l ai nt i ffs
fr o m c i v i l mar r i age su ffi c i ent t o o u t wei gh fl ee h ar m t o P l ai nt i ffs c au sed b y t h e maz i i fest
i neq u al i t y and i nfer i o r i t y o f c i v i l u nao ~ st at u s r el at i v e t o mar r i age. S ee Lewi s, 1 . 8 8 N. J at 443.
Th i s i s esp ec i al l y t r u e gi v en t h at t h e S t at e r ec o gni z es t h e r i gh t and ab i l i t y o f same- sex c o u p l es t o
r ai se c h i l dr en, Lewi s, 1 8 $ N. J. at 429 n. 6 , 432, and h as fu r t h er ac kno wl edged t h e nec essi t y o f
"p r o mo t i ng. st ab l e and du r ab l e r el at i o nsh i p s" b et ween same- sex c o u p l es, and, "el i mi nat i ng
o b st ac l es and h ar dsh i p s t h ese c o u p l es may fac e. " N. J. S . A . 37: 1 - 28 . ( b ) .
73. Th e S t at e' si mp o si t i o n o ~ c i v i l u ni o ns and deni al o f ac c ess t o mar r i age v i o l at e t h e
eq u al p r o t ec t i o n o f t h e l aws gu ar ant eed b y A r t i c l e I , P ar agr ap h ' 1 o f t h e New Jer sey C o nst i t u t i o n,
C l afm Two : Deni al o f t h e Fu xi danneni al Ri gh t t o Mar r y
P r o t ec t ed b y A r t i c l e I , P ar agr ap h 1 o f t h e New Jer sey C o nst i t ~ y t i o n
74. P l ai nt i ffs r eal l e~ e and i nc o r p o r at e b y r efer enc e al l p r ec edi ng p ar agr ap h s as i f. set
fo r t h fu l l y h er ei n.
75. Th e r i gh t t o mar r i age i s r ec o gni z ed as fu ndament al and i s ac c o r di ngl y p r o t ec t ed
b y A r t i c l e I , P ar agr ap h 1 o f I l se New Jer sey C o nst i t u t i o n. Lewi s, 1 8 8 N. J. at 435.
76 . Deny i ng t h e P l ai nt i ff c o u p l es, c o u p l es wh o ar e memb er s o f GS A , and o t h er same-
sex c o u p l es t h e r i gh t t o ent er c i v i l mar r i ages, wh i c h i s t h e p r i mar y and p r efer r ed S t at e- sanc t i o ned
fami l y r el at i o nsh i p , and i nst ead r el egat i ng t h em t o t h e sep ar at e st at u s o f c i v i l u ni o ns dep r i v es
t h em and t h ei r fami l i es o f t h e fu ndament al l i b er t i es p r o t ec t ed b y A r t i c l e I , P ar agr ap h 1 o f C h e
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New J er s ey C o n s t i t u t i o t l . Thr o u gh t hi s d en i a l , t he S t a t e s t i gm a t i z es l es b i a n a n d ga y New
J er s ey a n s , a s wel l a s t hei r c hi l d r en a n d f a m i l i es , a n d d en i es t hei r t he s a m e a u t o n o m y , d i gn i t y ,
r es p ec t , a n d s t a t u s a f f o r d ed m a r r i ed p eo p l e, i n v i o l a t i o n o f t he New J er s ey C o n s t i t u t i o n .
77. Mo r eo v er , d en y i n g s a m e- s ex c o u p l es t he r i ght t o en t er c i v i l Ma r r i a ges a n d
r el ega t i n g l es b i a n s a n d ga y m en t o c i v i l u n i o n s a l s o i n f r i n ges t he f u n d a m en t a l r i ght s o f s a m e- s ex
c o u p l es t o a u t o n o m y a n d p r i v a c y i n t hei r r el a t i o n s hi p s , a s gu a r a n t eed b y A r t i c l e I , Pa r a gr a p h 1 o f
t he New J er s ey C o n s t i t u t i o n o f 1 947. The r i ght o f p r i v a c y i n c l u d es t he r i ght t o n o n d i s c l o s u r e o f
c o n f i d en t i a l o r p er s o n a l i n f o r m a t i o n a n d p r o t ec t s a ga i n s t u n wa r r a n t ed d i s c l o s u r e o f o n e' s s ex u a l
o r i en t a t i o n . A s s et f o r t h a b o v e, b y l a b el i n g t he r el a t i o n s hi p s o f s a m e- s ex c o u p l es d i f f er en t l y
f r o m t he r el a t i o n s hi p s o f d i f f er en t- s ex c o u p l es , t he s t a t e f o r c es l es b i a n a n d ga y i n d i v i d u a l s ' i n
c o m m i t t ed r el a t i o n s hi p s t o d i s c l o s e t hei r s ex u a l o r i en t a t i o n i n a v a r i et y o f p u b l i c s i t u a t i o n s .
78. C i v i l u n i o n s a n d . t he ex c l u s i o n o f Pl a i n t i f f s a n d o t her s a m e- s ex c o u p l es f r o m c i v i l
m a r r i a ge d ep r i v e t he Pl a i n t i f f c o u p l es , c o u p l es who a r e. m em b er s o f GS E, a n d o t her s a m e- s ex
c o u p l es o f t he d u e p r o c es s gu a r a n t eed b y A r t i c l e I , Pa r a gr a p h 1 o f t he New 3 er s ey C o n s t i t u t i o n .
C l a i m Thr ee: Den i a l o f Equ a l Pr o t ec t i o n Ma n d a t ed b y t he I ~ ' o t i r t een t l x A m en d m en t
t o t he Un i t ed S t a t es C o n s t i t u t i o n , i n Vi o l a t i o n o f 42 U. S . C . ~ 1 983
79. Pl a i n t i f f s r ea l l e~ e a n d i n c o r p o r a t e b y r ef er en c e t he p r ec ed i n g a l l ega t i o n s a s i f
f u l l y s et f o r t h her ei n .
80. The Fo u r t een t h A m en d m en t t o t he C o n s t i t u t i o n o f t he Un i t ed S t a t es p r o v i d es t ha t
"n o S t a t e s ha l l . . . d en y t o a n y p er s o n . wi t hi n i t s j u r i s d i c t i o n t he equ a l p r o t ec t i o n . o f t he l a ws . "
81 . Den y i n g t he Pl a i n t i f f c o u p l es , c o u p l es who a r e m em b er s o f GS E, a n d o t her s a m e-
s ex c o u p l es t he a b i l i t y t o m a r r y , a n d i n s t ea d s hu n t i n g t hem t o c i v i l u n i o n s , v i o l a t es t he Equ a l
Pr o t ec t i o n C l a u s e o f t he Fo u r t een t h A m en d m en t . The S t a t e i m p r o p er l y d i s t i n gu i s hes b et ween
het er o s ex u a l New J er s ey a n s o n t he o n e ha n d a n d l es b i a n a n d ga y New J er s ey a n s o n t he o t her ,
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and excludes o z i ly lesb i ans and gay men f i r o m the i nsti tuti o n o f ci v i l mar r i age, wi th hannf ul
co nsequences to tho se f ami li es def i ned b y ci v i l uni o ns.
82. I n thei r f ami li al r elati o nshi p s, lesb i an and gay i ndi v i duals and thei r chi ldr en ar e
si mi lar ly si tuated to hetez o sexual i ndi v i duals and thei r chi ldr en i n ev er y way r elev ant to the
S tate-sp o nso r ed i nsti tuti o n o f ci v i l mar r i age. The S tate thus di scr i mi nates b etween si mi lar ly
si tuated i ndi v i duals o n the b asi s o f the adults' sexual o r i entati o n and thei r • sex, and i mp er r r i i ssi b ly
classi f i es thei r chi ldr en o n tf i e b ases o f thei z p ar el~ ts' sexual o r i entati o n, sex, and mar i tal status.
83. Ther e i s no legi ti mate ~ o v Er nmental o b j ect to Ue attai ned b y tr eati ng the
r elati o nshi p s o f lesb i an and gay i ndi v i duals di f f er ently and as i nf er i o r to the r elati o nshi p s o f
heter o sexuals. Rather , gi v en t~ i at the S tate has alr eady co nceded that " [ S ] tate law and p o li cy do
no t sup p o r t the tr r gument that li mi ti ng mar r i age to .heter o sexual co up les i s necessar y f o r ei ther
p r o cr eati v e p ur p o ses o r p r o v i di ng the o p ti mal env i r o nment f o r r ai si ng chi ldr en," Lewi s, 188 NJ.
at 432, and that f i ne S tate has deter mi ned that s~ r ne-sex r elati o nshi p s sho uld b e acco r ded a legal
status That p r o v i des " all the r i ghts and b enef i ts that mar r i ed heter o sexual co up les enj o y [ ,] "
N.J.S .A . 37 : 1-2& ( d) , the mai ntenance o f a sep ar ate legal status f o x same-sex co up les has no
p uz p o se o ther than to p r eser v e and p er p etuate di scr i mi nati o n. I t do es j ust that.
84. 1' he legi slati v e c] assi f i cati o n emb o di ed i n the C i v i l Uni o n A ct do es no t ser v e ev en
a. legi ti mate and r ati o nal go v er nment p uz p o se and canno t sati sf y any standar d o f r ev i ew.
Mo r eo v er , i t was enacted to si ngle o ut f o r di sf av o r ed status a p o li ti cally v ulner ab le mi no r i ty that
has hi sto r i cally b een tar geted f o r di scr i mi nati o n b ased o n i mmutab le char acter i sti cs unr elated to
the ab i li ty to co ntr i b ute to so ci ety . Thus, hei ghtened scr uti ny o f the legi slati v e classi f i cati o n
emb o di ed i n the C i v i l Uni o n A ct, and o f the exclusi o n o f lesb i ans and gay men f r o m ci v i l
mar r i age, i s war r anted b ecause the S tate p laces lesb i ans and gay s i n a sep ar ate catego r y wi th
r e s p e c t t o c i v i l mar r i age o n t he b as i s o f t he i r s e xual o r i e nt at i o n. He i ght e ne d s c r ut i ny i s al s o
war r ant e d b e c aus e t he l e gi s l at i v e c l as s i fi c at i o n e mb o di e d i n t he C i v i l Uni o n Ac t , and t he
e xc l us i o n o f l e s b i ans . and gay i ne n fr o m c i v i l mar r i age , i mp e r mi s s i b l y di s c r i mi nat e s o n t he b as i s
o f s e x. He i ght e ne d s c r ut i ny s ho ul d b e ap p l i e d t o t he c l ai ms o f t he mi no r P l ai nt i ffs b e c aus e t he
D e fe z ~ dat at s di s c r i mi nat e agai ns t t he s e c hi l dr e n b as e d o n t he S t at e ' s di s ap p r o v al o f t he i r p ar e nt s '
s e xual o r i e nt at i o n and s e x.
85. Addi t i o nal l y , t he S t at e ' s e xc l us i o n o f l e s v i ans and gay me n fr o m c i v i l mar r i age
war r ant s he i ght e ne d s c r ut i ny b e c aus e , b y e xc l udi ng s ame- s e x c o up l e s fxo m c i v i l mar r i age , di e
S t at e i mp i nge s up o n a fundame nt al r i ght : l i e r e , t he fundame nt al r i ght t o many . C l as s i fi c at i o ns
t hat i mp i nge up o n t he fundame nt al r i ght s o f s o me gr o up s , b ut no t o t he r s , ar e - s ub j e c t t o
he i ght e ne d s c r ut i ny .
86. ' T~ e S t at e c anno t p r o v i de a l e gi t i mat e go v e r nme nt al i nt e r e s t , l e t al o ne a
s ub s t ant i al o ne , fo r i t s har mful r e l e gat i o n o f s ame- s e x c o up l e s t o c i v i l unxo ~ and e xc l us i o n o f
s ame- s e x c o up l e s fr o m. c i v i l mar r i age , and c anno t de mo ns t r at e t hat t he mai nt e nanc e o f t he t wo
c l as s i fi c at i o ns i s nar r o wl y t ai l o r e d t o ac hi e v e a c o mp e l l i ng ~ o v e z-nme nt i nt e r e s t .
87. In de ny i ng s ame- s e x c o up l e s t he ab i l i t y t o mar r y and l i mi t i ng t he m t o c i v i l uni o n,
D e fe ndant s , ac t i ng unde r c o l o r o f s t at e l aw, ai ~ e de p r i v i ng- and wi l l c o nt i nue t o de p r i v e t he
P l ai nt i ff c o up l e s , c o up l e s ~ v ho ar e me mb e r s o f GS E, and. o t he r s ame- s e x. c o up l e s o f t l ~ e r i ght t o
e qual p r o t e c t i o n o f t he l aw . s e c ur e d b y t he fo ur t e e nt h Ame ndme nt t o t he Uni t e d S t at e s
C o ns t i t ut i o n, i n v i o l at i o n o f 42 U. S . C . § 1 . 9 83 .
88. Fur t he r mo r e , i n de ny i ng s ame- s e x c o up l e s t he ab i l i t y t o mar r y and l i mi t i ng t he m
t o c i v i l uni o ns , D e fe ndant s , ac t i ng unde r c o l o r o f s t at e l aw, ar e de p r i v i ng and wi l l . c o nt i nue t o
de p r i v e t he P l ai nt i ff c hi l dr e n, c hi l dr e n o f . c o up l e s who ar e me mb e r s o f GS E, and o t he r c hi l dr e n
t `1 : •
of same-sex couples of the r i g ht to equal pr otecti on of the law secur ed by the F our teen th
Amen dmen t to the Un i ted S tates C on sti tuti on , i n v i olati on of 42 U.S .C . § 1983.
C lai m F our : Den i al of S ubstan ti v e Dn e Pr ocess Pr otected bV the F our teen th Amen dmen t
to the Un i ted S tates C on sti tuti on i n Vi olati on of 42 U.S .C . ~ 1983
89. Plai n ti ffs r ealleg e an d i n cor por ate by r efer en ce the J ~xecedi n g alleg ati on s as i f
fully set for th her ei n .
90. The F our teen th Amen dmen t to the C on sti tuti on of the Un i ted S tates pr ecludes an y
S tate fr om "depr i v [i n g ] an y per son of li fe, li ber ty, or pr oper ty, wi thout due pr ocess of law[.]"
U.S . C n n st. amen d. XN, § 1. The Due Pr ocess C lause di ctates that g ov er n men tal. i n ter fer en ce
wi th a fun damen tal i x~ht maybe sustai n ed on ly upon a showi n g that the bur den i n g leg i slati on i s
n ar r owly tai lor ed to ser v e a compelli n g g ov er n men tal i n ter est.
91.. Thi s due pr ocess g uar an tee. pr otects choi ces cen tr al to per son al di g n i ty an d
auton omy an d pr ov i des i n di v i duals the r i g ht to deman d r espect for con duct pr otected by the
substan ti v e g uar an tee of li ber ty.
92. F eder al taw r ecog n i zes that mar r i ag e i s a per son al, fun damen tal r i g ht, an d the
substan ti v e li ber ty pr otected by the Due Pr ocess C lause pr otects per son al deci si on s r elati n g to
mar r i ag e. C i v i l mar r i ag e i s a si n g ular an d un i tar y i n sti tuti on den i ed to the Plai n ti ff couples,
couples who ar e member s of GS E, an d other same-sex couples by the S tate of New J er sey. The .
C i v 31 Un i on Act thus pr ev en ts the Plai n ti ff couples, couples who ar e member s of GS E, an d other
same-sex couples fr om exer ci si n g a fun damen tal li ber ty i n ter est by den yi n g them access fo the
un i v er sally r ecog n i zed i n sti tuti on of mar r i ag e.
93. .C i v i l un i on s do n ot. fulfi ll New J er sey' s due pr ocess obli g ati on s to the Plai n ti ff
couples, couples who ar e member s of GS E, an d other same-sex couples. Thi s leg al status i s
di sti n ct an d i n fer i or , an d ser v es on ly to di scr i mi n ate ag ai n st i n di v i duals i n same-sex
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r e l a t i o n s h i p s , wh o a r e de n i e d a cce s s t o ci v i l m a r r i a g e . Th us , t h e e x cl us i o n o f l e s b i a n s a n d g a y
m e n fr o m m a r r i a g e a n d t h e i m p o s i t i o n o f t h e C i v i l Un i o n Act , o n i t s fa ce a n d a s a p p l i e d t o
P l a i n t i ffs , v i o l a t e s t h e Due P r o ce s s C l a us e .
94. I n s o fa r a s t h e y a r e e x cl udi n g t h e P l a i n t i ff co up l e s , co up l e s wh o a r e m e m b e r s o f
GSE, a n d o t k ~ e r s wi n e-s e x co up l e s fr o m ci v i l m a r r i a g e , De fe n da n t s , a ct i n g un de r co l o r o f s t a t e
l a w, a r e de p r i v i n g a n d wi l l co n t i n ue t o de p r i v e P l a i n t i ffs o f t h e r i g h t t o due p r o ce s s o f t h e l a w
s e cur e d b y t h e T~ o ur t e e n t h Am e n dm e n t t o t h e C o n s t i t ut i o n o f t h e Un i t e d St a t e s , i n v i o l a t i o n o f
42 U S. C . § 1983.
P RAYER ~ +OR RELI EF
WHEREFORE, P l a i n t i ffs p r a ys t h a t t h e C o ur t e n t e r a n Or de r :
1) De cl a r i n g t h a t de n yi n g t h e P l a i n t i ff co up l e s , co up l e s wh o a r e m e m b e r s o f GSE,
a n d o t h e r s a m e-s e x co up l e s t h e r i g h t t o m a r r y a n d r e l e g a t i n g t h e m t o ci v i l un i o n s v i o l a t e s t h e i r
r i g h t s a n d t h e i r ch i l dr e n ' s r i g h t s un de r Ar t i cl e I , P a r a g r a p h 1 o f t h e Ne w J e r s e y C o n s t i t ut i o n a n d
t h e Fo ur t e e n t h Am e n dm e n t t o t h e C o n s t i t ut i o n o f t h e Un i t e d St a t e s , a n d fo x t h o s e co up l e s wh o
a r e l e g a l l y m a r r i e d i n a n o t h e r j ur i s di ct i o n , de cl a r i n g t h a t i t i s un co n s t i t ut i o n a l fo r t h e De fe n da n t s
t o de n y r e co g n i t i o n o f m a r r i a g e s v a l i dl y e n t e r e d i n o t h e r j ur i s di ct i o n s b y s a m e-s e x co up l e s , a s
m a r r i a g e s ;
2) P e r m a n e n t l y e n j o i n i n g De fe n da n t s fr o m de n yi n g ' t h e P l a i n t i ff co up l e s , co up l e s
wh o a r e m e m b e r s o f GSA, a n d o t h e r s a r r i ~ s e x co up l e s t h e r i g h t t o e n t e r ci v i l m a r r i a g e s i n ' Ne w
J e r s e y o r fr o m l i m i t i n g t h e m t o ci v i l un i o n s , a n d fo r t h o s e s a m e-s e x co up l e s wh o a r e l e g a l l y
m a r r e d i n a n o t h e r j ur i s di ct i o n , e n j o i n i n g De fe n da n t s fr o m de n yi n g r e co g n i t i o n o f t h e m a r r i a g e s ;
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3) Awarding P l aint if f s l e gal f e e s and c o s t s ; and
4) Any o t h e r re l ie f as is de e me d j u s t and warrant e d.
Dat e d: Ju ne 29, 2011
R e s p e c t f u l l y s u b mit t e d,
L a' ' G ~ re t c e S. L u s t b e rg, Es q.
Eil e e n M. Co nno r, Es q.
G IJ3BONS ~ . C.
One G at e way Ce nt e r
Ne wark, Ne w Je rs e y 07103
(973)596-4753
Hayl e y J. G o re nb e rg, Es q. *
L AMBDA T. . EG AL
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*p ro h ac v ic e admis s io n p e nding
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CERTIFICATION OF NO OTHER ACTIONS
The undersigned hereby c ert if ies p ursua nt t o R. 4 .5 - 1 ( b) ( 2 ) t ha t t he m a t t er in c o nt ro v ersy
is no t t he subj ec t o f a ny o t her a c t io n p ending in a ny o t her c o urt o r a p ending a rbit ra t io n
p ro c eeding, a nd no o t her. a c t io n o r a rbit ra t io n p ro c eeding is c o nt em p l a t ed. Furt her, o t her t ha n
t he p a rt ies set f o rt h in t his c o m p l a int , t he undersigned kno ws o f no o t her p a rt ies t ha t sho ul d be
m a de a p a a ~ t o f t his l a wsuit . ~ n a ddit io n, t he undersigned rec o gniz es t he c o nt inuing o bl iga t io n t o
£ il e a nd serv e o n a l l p a rt ies a nd t he c o urt a n a m ended c ert if ic a t io n if t here is a c ha nge in t he f a c t s
st a t ed in t his o rigina l c ert if ic a t io n.
Da t ed: Newa rk, . New J ersey
Tune 2 9, 2 01 1 ,
_
~ ~
By,
1 .:~
L r c e S. Lust berg, ~ sq.
GIBBONS P.C.
One Ga t ewa y Cent er ,
Newa rk, New J ersey 071 02 - 5 31 0
( 973) 5 :96 - 4 731
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DESIGNATION OF TRIAL COUNSEL
In accordance with R, 4 : 5 - 1 ( c) , P l aintif f s hereby des ignate Lawrence S. Lus tberg as trial
couns el in this m atter.
Dated: Newark, New Jers ey
June 29, 201 1
Res p ectf ul l y s ubm itted,
B y:
Lawrence S. Lus tberg
Ail een M. Connor
GTB ~30~IS P .C.
Y One Gateway Center
Newark, New Jers ey 071 02- 5 31 0
( 973) 5 96- 4 731
- 4 1 -
DA094
IIayl ey J. Gorea~berg*
Lam bda Legal
1 20 Wa1 1 Street, Suite 1 5 00
Ne~v Y ork, New Y ork 1 0005
( 21 2) 809- 85 85
Attorneys f or P l aintif f s
* p ro hac vice ap p l ication p ending
I'RCX'ARED SY THE C4CJRT
GA~2D~N STATE EQUALITY; DANIEL
W~ISS; JOHN GRA,r1T; MARSHA
SHAPIRQ; LOUISE WALPTN;
MAUR~~N KYLXAN; CXN~X
M~NEG~-ITN; SARAH I~LZAN
MENEGHIN; ~I2IC BRADSHAW;
T~VnNbA IiRADSHAW; TEV~RICO
B~ZADSHA~S/; KAREN NIC~COLSON
MC~ADDEN; MAI2CY~ NZCHOLSON
MCrA.DDEN; I~AS~Y IVICHOLSON
MCrADDEN; MAYA I~I~CI-IOI,SON
MCFADDFN; THOMAS llAVIDSON;
KCITI~ HEIiV~,A.NN; IV.CARIE HEIMANN
DA'VIDSON; and GRACE H~I1V~A~t IV
DAVIDSON,
Plainf if f s ,
v.
PAUI.,A DOW, in her o~ciai cap acit y as
At t orney Geiier~l of Ne~v Jers ey ;
JENNIFER ~ ~,EZ, in her of f icial
cap lcit y as Coin~nis s ioner of t he Ne~~v
Jers ey Dep art nnent of HYiman Services ;
and MARY E. Q'DOVYD, in her of f icial
cn~acz iy as Cou iu iis s io» er of t he Nc~v
Jez • s ey Dep ~~rt ment of ~Iealt l~ and Seniox
Se~• vices ,
Def endant s .
At t orney s f or 1'l~t int if f s :
T~at ivrence S. Lu s t berg , Es q.
BeI1Ja111111 Y3SLCT~ Es q.
Port ia D. Ped~• o, Es q.
Gibbons P.C.
One Gat eway Cent er
Newark, New Jers ey Q7102
1
DA095
SUP~RIOZt COUI.2T Or NTW ~~R.SEY
LAVV DIVISION
M~RCLR COi1NTY
DOCI~~T NO. L-1729-11
CIVIL ACTION
OKDX.~t GRANTING PLATNTI~T'S'
1VIOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMI+~NT
AND ENTERING r~NAL JiJDGM~NT ~N
~AVUR OF 1'LA.TNTIF~S
~~~` ~` ~~ (~, µei ;
~;}7 t{~C,,.~t r
~SZ 1~~W (~~ .rt
t J.
~~~
,~ '.~
~~lA ~~ A J~'{~1
Is : 1t
.` ~jy if ~• C'. 'e~ 1 K~~t ~` ,'~~/.1.'f ; _r':
At t oa• ney s f or'~'}~c St at e:
Kevin R. Jes p ers on, A.A.G.
Jean P. Reilly , D.A.G.
Of f ice of t he At t oney General
Divis ion of Law
25 Market St reet
I'.U. Box 112
Trent on, New 3ers ey 08625-0093
C o - c o u ~ a s e l fo r P l a i n t i ffs ;
Ha yl e y . T . C o re n be rg, Es q.
(a dmi t t e d pro ha c > > i c c )
La n ~ Uda Le a l
120 Wa l l S t re e t , 19° i F l o o z •
Ne w Y o ► • k , NY 10005
T fIIS MAT T ER ha vi n g C o n t e be fo re t he c o t i z ~ t by wa } ~ o f P l a i n t i ffs ' mo t i o n ~ ' o r s u mma ry
ju dgme n t ; a n d De fe n da n t s ha vi n g o ppo s e d t he mo t i a i ~ ; a n d t he c o u rt ha vi n g c a re fi i l l y c o n s i de re d
t he a r~ u me a ~ t s o f t he pa rt i e s s e t fo rt h i n t he bri e fs a n d pre s e n t e d t o t he c o u rt du ri n g o ra l
a rgu me n t ; a n d fo r t he s e a s o n s s e t fo rt h i n t he De c i s i o n o n Mo t i o n fo r S u n u n ~ ry J i 3 dgme n t
a e e o mpa t ~ . yi n g t hi s 4 rde ~ • ; a n d fo r go o d c a u s e s l ~ o wn :
z T z S o n t t u s 27t~ ' da y o f S e pt e mbe r, 2013 ,. ~ - IEI2EBY ORDrT t ~ D t ha t :
1, P l a i n t i ffs ' mo t i o n fo r s u mma ry ju dgme n t i s GRA. NT ~ D a s t o C o u n t On e o ~ t he
C a z n pl a i n t .
2. Effe c t i ve Oc t o be r 21, 2013 , De fe n da n t s , o r s u c h o f~ c i a i s o f t he S t a t e o ~ Ne w
J e rs e y a s a z e e mpo t i ve re d t o do s o , s ha l l pe i Yn i t a n y a n d a l l s a me- s e x c o u pl e s , who
o t l ~ e z • wi s e s a t i s fy t he re qu i ~ • e i n e n t s t o e n t e r i n t o a c i vi l ma rri a ge , t o ma rry i n Ne w
J e rs e y,
3 , Be c a u s e t he re l i e f s e t fo rt h i n pa ra gra phs 1 a n d 2 o f t hi s Ol de r gra n t s P l a i n t i ffs
t he re me dy re t ~ u e s t e d i n t he i r C o mpl a i n t , C o u n t T l u e e o f t he C o mpl a i n t i s
di s mi s s e d a s n ~ . 00t a n d fi n a l ju dgme n t i s e n t e ~ • e d i n fa vo r o f P l a i s i t i ffs .
MARY C . J AC S ON, A. J . S . C .
z
PRCPAR~ll I3Y TII.~ COUR"T
GAi2DT~,N S7'ATL rQUAI~I'T'Y; DANIEL
WPISS; 3nHrt GL2ANT; I1~ARSHA
SI~APIRO; LOUISL 'WALPIN;
MAU~2LL+'lY KILIAN; CINDY
M~N~GHTN; SARAH K[LIAN
MrNFGH~N; Cl2TC BI2ADSIIAW;
'~'EV4NDA BRAY}S.HAW; 'I'LVLT2.~C_ 'O
BRAVS~~AW; T{A,IZ~N NICIIO~.,SON
MCrADDLN; MARC'YL NICHOLS4N
MC~'ADx)~N; Kr~SIs;Y NIC:~iOLS()N
MC.I+'ADDEIV; MAYA NICHOLSUN
MC,I+ADD~N; THOMAS llAVIDSON;
KLrTIr ITEIMANN; MA1t~T+~ HL+'ZIVYANN
DA'VIDSUN; a u c ~ GRAC7!; H ~'IlY1ANN
nAVIDSON,
Pla ~nrif f 's,
v.
PAYJLA DOW, f n her Of ~ICiAX CitpACi~ AS
Attorney Genea ~til of Ne~v Jex• sey;
~NNIT'~'.R 'V~LE'T.,, in her of f ic ia l
c a pa c ity f ls Commissioia er of f ile New
Je~~sc y Depa z~hnent of Hu ~ia n Servic es;
a nd MARY I:. 4'D~WU, ix~ lier of f ic ia l
c a pa c ity ~s Commissioner of tite Netiv
J c ► ~ s e y X?epa rtrnc nt of Hea lth a nd Se~ioi'
Servic es,
Def enda nts,
Attorneys f or 1'~a i~itif f s:
La wrenc e S. Lu stberg, ~sq.
Benja min Ya ster, F..sq.
Portia D, Pedro, F,sq.
Gibbons P.C.
One Ga tewa y Center
Newa rk, New Jersey 071 U2
1
SUI'] t,kt[O~t CQI7RT 4r N~'W JERSL+'Y
LAW DIV.YSION
MrRCF,it COUN'T'Y
DOCKET NO. L-17291.1
CIVIL ACTION
ORDZ~R D1+.N'YING D~~+'EN.DANTS'
1VIOTION rOR A STAY
Attorneys ~a r'I'hc Sta te:
Kevin R. Jesperson, A.A.G.
Jea n P. Reil1y,17.A,C'r.
Of f ic e of the Attorney Genera l
Division of L.a w
2S Ma rket Stz~eet
P.O. I3ox 112
Trenton, New Jersa y 08625-0093
DA097
Co-cow~sel f a x P la i n t i f f s:
Ha yley J . G or ei x b er g , Esq.
(a dmi t t ed f r o I z a c ~~i ce)
La mb da Leg a l
120 Wa ll S t r eet , 19° i Fla or
New 'Yor k, N'Y Y 0005
THI S MA"I "~'I ;R l~f i v i n g come b ef or e t he cou n t b y wa y of Def en da n t s' mot i on f or a st a y
ot 't he or der • i ssu ed b y t hi s cou z • t oi i S ep t emb ci • 27, 2013, di i • cct i n g t he S t a t e of New J er sey t o
b eg i n p e~• mi i t i n g sa me-sex cou p les t o en t er i n f o ci v i l i i i a r r i a g e;s ot i Oct ob er 21, 2013; a n d
P la i n t i f f s la v i n g op p osed t he mot i on ; a a d t he cou r t 1~a v i n g ca r ef u lly con si der ed t he f i r g u men t s oI '
b ot h si des on t he p a p er s; a n d f a r t he r ea son s set Ea r t h i n t f i e S t a t emen t of Rea son s a ccomp a n yi ci ~;
t hi s or der ; a n d f oi • g ood ca u se shown ,
I 'Z ' TS a n t hi s 10° i da y of Oct ob er , 2013, H~R~BY O12D~I ~D t ha t :
1. Def en da t ~. t s' mot i on f or a st a y i s D~NI ~D.
~~- ~~
~j ~~, , .
_ _ _ _ J ~ , ~
MARY C. J A. CU ~ S AN, A. J . S . C.
c~
_
, ~a~- ~0" `'~,
New Jersey Judicia ry
~ noo ~o Superior Court - Appella te Division
~
° 'F , ~, ~, ~~"~~
N~7iCE OF APP~AL
~`~a a o
Type or clea rly print a ll I nf orm a tion. Atta ch a dditiona l sh oots if necessa ry. ATTORNEY /LAW F I RM! PROSE LI TI GANT
TI TLE I N F ULI (AS CAP710 NGD DELOVV~ ` ~ ~ ~
NAME
plea se sce a t4 ich ed
~D~~~ ~~~~, ~~
Jenn Reilly, DAG
S7REETADDRESS
Hugh es Justice Com plex, 2S Ma rket St.
~~~ , ) lJ 20 3
CI TY
STATE ZI P PHONE NUMBER
Trenton
NJ 0 8625 60 9 633' 130 9
_ . _ . _ _
_
EMAI L ADDRESS
j ca n. reilly@ dol. lps. sta te. nj . us
ONAPPEAI , F ROM
~'~~~~- _ ~-
-
~~
TRI AL COURT JUDGE
TRI AL COURT OR STATE AGENCY
TRI AL COURT OR AGENCY NUMBER
Hon. Ma ry C. Ja cobson, A. J. S. C.
Superior Court, La w Division, Mercer County
MF , R- L- 1729- i l
Notice is h ereby given th a t Def enda nts
a ppea ls to th e Appel} a te
Division f rom a ❑~~~~~~~~~or ~ Order entered on Se~tem lier 27, 20 13
in th e ~ Civil
❑~~~~~~~~~or ❑~~~~~~~Pa rt of th e Superior Court or f rom a O Sta te Agency decision entered on
1f not a ppea ling th e entire j udgm ent, order or a gency decision, specif y wh a t pa rts or pa ra gra ph s a re
being a ppea led.
Ha ve a ll issues, a s to a ll pa rties in th is a ction, bef ore th e tria l: court or a gency been disposed of ? (I n
consolida ted a ctions, a )I issues a s to a ll pa rties in a ll a ctions m ust h a ve been disposed of . ) ~ Yes O Na
I f not, h a s th e order been properly certif ied a s f ina l pursua nt to F t. 4 : 4 2- 2? ❑~~~~ u No
F or crim ina l, qua si- crim ina l a nd j uvenile a ctions on(y:
Give a concise sta tem ent of th e of f ense a nd th e j udgm ent including da te entered a nd a ny sentence
or disposition im posed:
Th is a ppea l is f rom a u conUiction D post j udgm ent m otion Dpost- conviction relief .
I f post- conviction relief , is it th e u 'f st u 2nd ❑~~~~~
specif y
is def enda nt inca rcera ted? ❑~~~~u Na
Wa s ba il gra nted or th e sentence or disposition sta yed? D Yes u No
f f in custody, na m e th e pla ce of conf inem ent:
Def enda nt wa s represented below by:
u Pubf ic Def ender ❑~~~~~D priva te counsel
spea ty
Rovlse0 a tlo<N. a 910 t/i0 0 B
Pa ys t ol1
'DA0 99
N o t i c e o f appe al and at t ac h e d c ase i nf o r m at i o n st at e m e nt h ave be e n se r ve d wh e r e appli c able o n t h e
f o llo wi ng :
T r i al Co ur t Judg e
T r i al Co ur t D i vi si o n Manag e r
T ax Co ur t A dm i ni st r at o r
St at e A g e nc y
A t t o r ne y Ge ne r al o r A t t o r ne y f o r o t h e r
Go ve r nm e nt al bo dy pur suant t o
Ot h e r par t i e s i n t h i s ac t i o n:
N am e
Ho n. Mazy C. Jac o bso n, A .J.S.C.
D at e o f Se r vi c e
09/30/2013
N am e and D e si g nat i o n A t t o r ne y Mar ne , A ddr e ss and T e le ph o ne N o .
D at e o f Se r vi c e
Indi vi dual P lai nt i f f s (se e
Lawr e nc e Lt ~ st be r g , Esq.; Gi bbo ns P .C.; 1 Gat e way Ce nt e r ,
09/30!2013
at t ac h e d c apt i o n sh e e t )
N e war k, N J, 07102 (973 596-45'00)
Gar de n St at e Fyuali t y
Ilayle y Go r e nbe r g , Lsq.; Lam bda Le g al; 120 Wall St ., 19t ] i
09/30/2013
Flo o r , N Y, N Y 10005 (212 809-$S85) pr a h ac vi c e
A t t ac h e d t r ansc r i pt r e que st f o r m h as be e n se r ve d wh e r e appli c able o n t h e f o llo wi ng :
T r i al Co ur t T r ansc r i pt Onc e
Co ur t Re po r t e r (i f appli c able )
Supe r vi so r o f Co ur t Re po r t e r s
Cle r k o f t h e T ax Co ur t
St at e A g e nc y
N am e
D at e o f
A m o unt o f
Se r vi c e
D e po si t
Ro be r t Mull
Cat h e r i ne T i i c ks, A c t i ng Supe r vi so r Ct . Rpt r s.
Exe m pt f r o m subm i t t i ng t h e t r ansc r i pt r e que st f i o r m due t o t h e f o llo wi ng :
u N o ve r bat i m r e c o r d.
A ug . 15, 2013
A ug . 15, 2013
$0 (st . vc h r )
$0 (st , vc h r )
U af T r ansc r i pt i n po sse ssi o n o f at t o r ne y o r pr o se li t i g an# (f o ur c o pi e s o f t h e t r ansc r i pt m ust be sub-
m i t t e d alo ng wi t h an e le c t r o ni c c o py).
Li st t h e dat e s) o f t h e t r i al o r h e ar i ng :
A ug ust 15, 2013
Q Mo t i o n f o r abbr e vi at i o n o f t r ansc r i pt f i le d wi t h t h e c o ur t o r ag e nc y be lo w. A t t ac h c o py.
u Mo t i o n f o r f r e e t r ansc r i pt f i le d wi t h t h e c o ur t be lo w. A t t ac h c o py.
c e r t i f y t h at t h e f o r e g o i ng s# at e m e nt s ar e t r ue t o t h e be st o f m y kno wle dg e , i nf o r m at i o n and be li e f .
also c e r t i f y t h at , unle ss e xe m pt , t h e f i li ng f e e r e qui r e d by N .J.S.A . 22A : 2 h as be e n pai d.
0 9/3 012 0 1 3
_
Je an P . Re i lly / _ ) L,a,., ~ , ► 2
D A T E
SIGN A T U RE OF A T T ORN EY P RO SE LIT IGA N T
vas. z o ~ :
D A 100
JOHN J . HOF~M:AN
ACTING AT'~OftNEY GENE~2AL OF NEW JERSEY
Attorney for Defendants-Appellants
R.J". Hughes Justice Complex
25 Market Stx~ee~
P,p, Box 093
Trenton, New Jersey 08625-0093
Iiy : Jean P . Re i ~, ly
Deputy Attorney general
609--633-1309 (phone)
609-347.-5p30 (fax)
Jean.ReillyC~dol.lps.state.n~.us
GARDEN STATE EQUALITY, ET AL.,
Plainta.ffs-Re9pondents,
v.
PAULA. DOw, in her official
capacity as ACtorney General
of New Jersey; JENNIFER VELEZ,
in her offa,cial capacity as
Commissioner o~ the New Jersey
Department of Human Services,
and MARY E . O' I?OW]?, in her
official
capacity as
Commissioner of the New JexSey
Department of Health
and
Senior Services,
Defendants-Appellants.
SUPREME CQURT OF STEW JERSE~C
DOCKED' NO.
APPELLATE pIVISION DOCKET NO.
A-0521-13
(Civil Action
NOTICE OF EMERGENT MOTION P'OR
DTR~C~' C~RTIFTCATION
DA101
Pursuant to R. 2:12.-1 or, alternatively, pursuant to
R. 1:1-2(a), 2:12-2 (a) and 2:2-1(a), John J. Hoffman, Acting
Attorney General of New Jersey, attorney for Defe~dan~s-
Appellants, Jean Reilly appearing, hereby moves the Court to
certify the appeal in the above-captioned case concerning ~ame-
sex marriage ghat is currently pending un-briefed in the
Appellate Division {Docket No. A-0521-13) Tn support of this
motion, the State will rely upgn the certification of Jean
Rei11y.
Respectfully submitted,
JOHN J . ~IOFFMAN
ACTING ATTORNEY GENERAL OF NEW JER~~Y
B y :
~~~~,,~-
Jean P. REi17.y
Deputy Attorney General
Date: October_ 4, 2013
DA102
Get a llocument - by C i tati on - l 12 ~ 1. F . T . R . 2d (R IA) 5597
Page 1 of 12
_ ~ _ _ _
Search ~ Get a Document I Shepard 's~
F OC t1S'"^ T erms
_ _
Servi ce: Get by LEXSEEO
C i tati on: 2013 U. S. Di st. LEXIS 105507
Swi tch C li ent ~ Preferences ~ Help ~ Si gn Out
More (
Hi story Alerts
Ad vanced . . . G~
current , ~
V i ew
T uC ori al
_ _ . . _ _ .
2013 U. S. Di st. LEXIS 105507, *; . T 12 A. F . T . R . 2d (R IA) 5597;
56 Employee Benefi ts C as. (BNA} 1213
C OZEN O'C ONNOR , P. C . , Plai nti ff, v. JENNIF ER J. T OBIT S, et al. , Defend ants.
C IV IL AC T ION NO. 11- 0045
UNIT ED ST AT ES DIST R IC T C OUR "f F OR T HE EAST ER N DIST R IC T OF PENNSYLV ANIA
2013 U. S. Di st. LEXIS 105507; 112 A. F . T . R . 2d (R IA) 5597; 56 Employee Benefi ts C as. (BNA)
1213
July 29, 2013, Deci d ed
July 29, 2013, F i led
C OR E T ER MS: spouse', d eath benefi ts, benefi ci ary, marri age, survi vi ng, i nterplead er,
fed eral law, annui ty, d esi gnati on, benefi t plans, same- sex, ad mi ni strator, marri ed , spousal,
couple's, survi vi ng spouse, d i sposi ti ve, regi stry, d rafted , wai ve, Marri age Act, plan
ad mi ni strators, competi ng clai ms, i nterplead er acti on, j ud i ci al noti ce, wi thd raw, d eposi t,
moot, d esi gnate, wai ved
C OUNSEL: [*1] F or C OZEN O'C ONNOR , P. C . , Plai nti ff, C ounter Defend ant:
H. R OBER T F IEBAC H _ ~ , 7ILL M. C AUGHIE . , C OZEN O'C ONNOR , PHILADELPHIA, PA.
F or JENNIF ER J. T OBIT S, Defend ant: C HR IST OPHER F . ST OLL _ , LEAD AT T OR NEY, PR O HAC
V IC E, SAN F R ANC ISC O, C A; SHANNON PR IC E MINT ER , LEAD AT T OR NEY, SAN F R ANC ISC O, C A;
AMY WHELAN . , SAN F R ANC ISC O, C A; BENJAMIN L. JER NER . . , JER NER & PALMER PC ,
PHILADELPHIA, PA; JULIE H. WILENSKY, PR O HAC V IC E, NINA WASOW, PR O HAC V IC E,
T ER ESA 5. R ENAKER , . , PR O HAC V IC E, LEWIS F EINBER G LEE R ENAKER &JAC KSON PC ,
OAKLl~ ND, C A.
F or DAV ID M. PAR LEY, JOAN F . PAR LEY, h/w, Defend ants: AAR ON H. ST ANT ON _ ~ , PR O HAC
V IC E, JONAT HAN W. MIC HAEL _ ~ , PR O HAC V IC E, BUR KE WAR R EN MAC KAY & SER R IT ELLA PC ,
C HIC AGO, IL; PET ER C . BR EEN . , PR O HAC V IC E, T HOMAS BR EJC HA . , PR O HAC V IC E,
T HOMAS MOR E SOC IET Y, C HIC AGO, IL; R ANDALL LUKE WENGER , HAR R ISBUR G, PA.
F or T HE UNIT ED ST AT ES O~ AMER IC A, R espond ent: JEAN LIN ~ , LEAD AT T OR NEY, U. S. DEPT
OF JUST IC E C T 'V DIV , WASHINGT ON, DC ; JUDSON O. LIT T LET ON, LEAD AT T OR NEY, U. S. DEPT
OF JUST IC E, WASHINGT ON, DC .
F or GAGE R ALEY, Movant: NAT HAN DANIEL F OX . , BEGLEY, C AR LIN &MANDIO, LLP,
LANGHOR NE, PA.
DAi o3
https://www. lexi s. com/research/retri eve?_ m=0e93 a937bd 3d 29$48e0d 07eecd fUcacc&csvc. . . 10/4/2013
Get aDocument - by C i tati on - 112 A . F . " I ' . R . 2d (R I A ) 5597
Page 2 of 12
F or C ONC ER NED WOMEN F OR A MER I C A , Movant: EMI LY M. BELL . , GLYMER & MUSSER PC ,
LA NC A STER , PA .
F or F R EDER I C K [*2] DOUGLA SS F OUNDA TI ON, Movant: DA LE SC HOWENGER DT, LEA D
A TI " OR NEY, PR O HA C VI C E, A LLI A NC E DEF ENSE F UND, SC OTTSDA LE, A Z;
C HA R LES W. PR OC TOR , I I I . , LA W OF F I C ES OF PR OC TOR LI NDSA Y & DI XON, LLC , C HA DDS
F OR D, PA .
F or PA R ENTS A ND F R I ENDS OF EX- GA YS &GA YS (PF OX), Movant: WI LLI A M A . BONNER ~~,
LA W OF F I C E OF WI LLI A M A BONNER , MEDI A , PA .
F or THE HUMA N R I GHTS C A MPA I GN, Movant: MA R Y C A THER I NE R OPER , A C LU OF PA ,
PHI LA DELPHI A , PA .
F or EQUA LI TY F OR UM, Movani : MA R Y C A THER I NE R OPER , A C LU OF PA , PHI LA DELPHI A , PA ;
SUSA N KA TZ HOF F MA N ~~, LI TTLER MENDELSON, P. C . , PHI LA DELPHI A , PA .
F or PR OF ESSOR R OBER T P. GEOR GE, SHER I F GI R GI S, R YA N 7. A NDER SON, Movants: JOSHUA
M. A UTR Y, BOYLE NEBLETE' & WENGER , C A MP MI LL, PA ; R OBER T P. GEOR GE, PR I NC ETON
UNI VER SI TY, DEPA R TMENT OF POLI TI C S, PR I NC ETON, NJ.
F or DA VI D M. PA R LEY, JOA N F . F A R L[Y, h/w, C ross C lai mants, C ounter C lai mants, C ross
Defend ants: PETER C . GR EEN ~, THOMA S MOR E SOC I ETY, C HI C A GO, I L; R A NQA LL I . _ UKE
WENGER , HA R R I SBUR G, PA .
F or JENNI F ER J. TOBI TS, C ross Defend ant, C ross C lai mant: A MY WHELA N _ , SA N F R A NC I SC O, ,
C A ; BENJA MI N L. JER NER . , JER NER & PA LMER PC , PHI LA DELPHI A , PA .
F or JENNI F ER J. TOBI TS, C ounter C lai mant: C HR I STOPHER F . STOLL . , LEA D A TTOR NEY, PR O
HA C VI C E, SA N F R A NC I SC O, C A ; [*3] SHA NNON PR I C E MI NTER , LEA D A TTOR NEY, SA N
F R A NC I SC O, C A ; BENJA MI N L. JER NER , )ER NER & PA LMER PC , PHI LA DELPHI A , PA .
JUDGES: C . DA R NELL JONES, I I _ , 7.
OPI NI ON BY: C . DA R NELL JONES, TI .
OPI NI ON
MEMOR A NDUM
]ones, I T ,, ].
The narrow i ssue presented i n thi s case i s whether the Uni ted States Supreme C ourt' s d eci si on
i n Uni ted States v. Wi nd sor 1, d eclari ng Secti on 3 of the Defense of Marri age A ct
unconsti tuti onal as a d epri vati on of the equal li berty of persons that i s protected by the F i fth
A mend ment, requi res recogni ti on of a vali d C anad i an same- sex marri age for purposes of
benefi ts d i stri buti on pursuant to ER I SA , a fed eral sC atute. 2
F OOTNOTES
z Uni ted States v. Wi nd sor, 570 U,S, 133 S. C t. 2675, 186 L. Ed . 2d 808 (20]. 3).
z ER I SA i s cod i fi ed as 29 U. S. C . §§ 10U1- 1461.
_ _ _
_
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P age 3 of l2
Y. FA C T UA L BA C KGR OUND
Sarah E flyn Farley began w or{ ci ng at the C ozen O'C onnor _law fi rm i n 2004, and subsequently
became eli gi ble to p arti ci p ate i n the Fi rm's P rofi t Shari ng P lan (the "P lan"), 3 T n February of
2006, Ms. Farley marri ed Jean T obi ts i n T oronto, C anad a, as authori zed und er C anad i an law .
Shortly after her w ed d i ng, Ms. Farley w as d i agnosed w i th cancer and unfortunately later p assed
aw ay on Sep tember 13, 2010.
'' FOOT NOT E S
s See C ozen O'C onnor . P rofi t Shari ng P lan (the "P lan") (Dkt. No. 3- 5).
C ozen [*4] O'C onnor's P lan requi res that, up on the d eath of a P arti ci p ant to the P lan, the P i an
A d mi ni strator must p ay d eath benefi ts i n the form oP a quali fi ed P re- R eti rement Survi vor
A nnui ty i n accord ance w i th E R T SA and the Internal R evenue C od e (the "C od e"). 4 T he questi on
herei n i s: Who should recei ve p ayment of the d eath benefi ts? 5 Both Jean ~ T obi ts and Ms.
P arley's p arents (Davi d and Joan, herei nafter "the P arleys") requested p ayment of the
P reR eti rement Survi vor A nnui ty after Ms. P arley's d eath. 6 In resp onse to these comp eti ng
clai ms, p ursuant to Fed . R . C i v. P . 22, C ozen O'C onnor . fi led an i nterp lead er acti on i n thi s
C ourt i n January, 2011 nami ng Ms. T obi ts and the P arleys as Defend ants.
FOOT NOT E S
a See P lan §§ 6. 2 (a),(e),(f).
s T he P lan language requi res that d eath benefi ts w i ll be p ai d to the P arti ci p ant's "survi vi ng
Sp ouse up on the d eath of the P arti ci p ant. See i d . T he P arti ci p ant may also d esi gnate a
Benefi ci ary other than hi s or her Sp ouse to recei ve the d eath benefi ts; how ever, i f the
P arti ci p ant has a Sp ouse, the Sp ouse must fi rst w ai ve hi s or her ri ghts to be the
P arki ci p ant's Benefi ci ary before the d esi gnati on of another Benefi ci ary can be d eemed vali d .
Id . In the event there i s no vali d [*5] Benefi ci ary—Sp ouse or otherw i se—the P lan's d efault
p rovi si ons requi re that the d eath benefi ts are p ai d i n the follow i ng ord er of p ri ori ty: fi rst to
; the P arti ci p ant's survi vi ng Sp ouse, and then to the P arti ci p ant's survi vi ng p arents.
Because there i s no d ebate that Ms, T obi ts d i d not w ai ve her ri ght to be Ms. P arley's
Benefi ci ary, a d etermi nati on of w hether Ms. T obi ts i s Ms. P arley's "survi vi ng Sp ouse"
p ursuant to the P lan i s d i sp osi ti ve of the d i stri buti on of d eath benefi ts. If Ms. T obi ts i s not
Ms. P arley's "survi vi ng Sp ouse," because she i s not li sted as Ms. P arley's Benefi ci ary, she
has no ri ghts to the d eath benefi ts und er the P lan. If Ms. Farley i s Ms. T obi ts' Survi vi ng
Sp ouse, she i s enti tled to recei ve p ayment of the d eath benefi ts—the P re- R eti rement
Survi vor A nnui ty—vi a the P lan's p ri ori ty ord er of p ayment. Id . §6. 2 (f).
i T he C ourt notes that the P arleys submi tted to C ozen a notari zed Desi gnati on of Benefi ci ary
Form d ated Sep tember 12, 2010—the d ay before Ms. P arley's d eath—w hi ch li sts the P arleys
i as "P ri mary Benefi ci ari es". T he authenti ci ty of thi s Form remai ns d i sp uted . A s d i scussed
above, a Desi gnati on of Benefi ci ary Form i s vali d only i f the Sp ouse—i f there i s a Sp ause—
has [*6] w ai ved the P re- R eti rement Survi vor A nnui ty by si gni ng that same Desi gnati on of
`Benefi ci ary Form. T here i s no questi on that Ms. T obi ts d i d not si gn the Desi gnati on of
Benefi ci ary Form, w hi ch w ould thereby w ai ve her ri yhl to the d eath benefi ts, T hus the C ourt
need not make a d etermi nati on regard i ng the authenti ci ty of the Desi gnati on, as a
d etermi nati on regard i ng w hether Ms. T obi as i s Ms, P arley's "survi vi ng Sp ouse" coukd rend er
the i ssue moot.
e T he P arleys, through thei r law yer JonaC han W. Mi chael, fi rst ad vi sed C ozen O'C onnor „
that they beli eved they w ere aw ed Ms. ~ Farley's d eath benefi ts. i n a letter to C ozen's
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P age 4 of 12
Ad mi ni strati ve Managi ng P artner, Vi ncent R . McGui nness, d ated November 11, 2010. (Dkt.
No. 3- 2).
Ms. T obi ts fi rst ad vi sed C ozen O' C onnor . that she i ntend ed to fi l e a cl ai m wi th respect to
Ms. P arl ey' s d eath benefi ts i n a l etter to C ozen O' C onnor' s ~ counsel , H. R obert Fei bach,
`d ated November 30, 2010. (Dkt. No. 3- 3).
As to the Interpl ead er Acti on, there i s no d i spute that C ozen faced mul ti pl e competi ng
cl ai ms und er the P l an.
~ See C ozen O' C onnor' s . . Fi rst Amend ed C ompl ai nt For Interpl ead er (Dkt. No. 3).
_
_ .
After si gni fi cant moti on practi ce between the ori gi nal parti es, the C ourt granted l eave [*7] to
i ntervene to the Uni ted States of Ameri ca and the Bi parti san Legal Ad vi sory Group ("BLAG") of
the U. S. House of R epresentati ves, gi ven the l oomi ng C onsti tuti onal i ssues i n thi s matter. 8 T hi s
C ourt subsequentl y i nvi ted al l i nterested parti es to submi t suppl emental bri efi ng on the
outstand i ng C onsti tuti onal questi ons, and thereafter heard Oral Argument on pend i ng moti ons, 9
Gi ven the l i kel i hood of the Uni ted States Supreme C ourt i ssui ng a rul i ng on the C onsti tuti onal i ty
of DOMA Secti on 3 i n i ts then- upcomi ng term, thi s C ourt pl aced the above matter on the
Suspense Docket pend i ng the outcome of those cases. 10 On June 26, 2013, the Uni ted States
Supreme C ourt rend ered i ts d eci si on i n Uni ted States v. Wi nd sor. On Jul y 8, 2013, BLAG fi l ed an
Unopposed Moti on to Wi thd raw, whi ch thi s C ourt granted .
11
FOOT NOT ES
i s T he C ourt al so granted the moti ons of mul ti pl e parti es to appear as ami cus curi ae. T hese
parti es i ncl ud ed : C oncerned Women for Ameri ca, Fred eri ck Dougl ass Found ati on, P arents
and Fri end s of Ex- Gays &Gays ("P FOX"), T he Human R i ghts C ampai gn, Equal i ty Forum,
P rofessor R obert P . George, Sheri f Gi rgi s, R yan T . And erson, and Gage R al ey,
s T he parti es' bri efs and oral arguments were wel t- prepared [*8] and of great assi stance to
the C ourt. T he parti es are commend ed i n thi s regard .
i s See Dkt. No. 137.
xi In i ts Moti on, BLAG—whi ch al so argued for the consti tuti onal i ty of DOMA Secti on 3 i n
Wi nd sor— stated
T he Supreme C ourt recentl y resol ved the i ssue of DOMA Secti on 3' s
consti tuti onal i ty. See Uni ted States v. Wi nd sor, 570 U. S. 133 S. C t. 2675,
186 L. Ed . 2d 808, 2013 WL 3196928 (U. S. 2013). Accord i ngl y, the Nouse no
l onger has a rol e to pl ay i n thi s l i ti gati on and now seeks to wi thd raw as a party
d efend ant.
Id .
At the heart of thi s matter i s whether Jean T obi ts i s Ms. P arl ey' s "Spouse" pursuant to the P l an
l anguage. T hi s court answers the questi on i n the affi rmati ve. As such, thi s fi nd i ng i s d i sposi ti ve
of i ssues that remai n i n thi s case. ~ 2
;FOOT NOT ES
i 2 C urrentl y before thi s. C ourt are C ozen O' C onnor' s ~ Fi rst Amend ed C ompl ai nt far
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' I nterplead er, d ated January Z4, 2011 (Dkt. No. 3); Defend ant F arleys ' A ns wer,
C ounterclai m, and C ros s clai m, d ated A ugus t 1, 2011 (Dkt. No. 14); Defend ant 7obi ts '
A ns wer, A ffi rmati ve Defens es , C ounterclai m and C ros s- C lai ms To I nterplead er F i rs t
A mend ed C omplai nt, d ated A ugus t 1, 2011 (Dkt. No. 15); Defend ant F arleys ' Moti on To
Di s mi s s Jenni fer J. Tobi ts ' C ros s clai ms Purs uant to F R C P12 (b)(6), [*9] d ated A ugus t 22,
2011 (Dkt. No. 25); Plai nti ff C ozen O' C onnor' s ~ Moti on for Jud gment on the Plead i ngs
Purs uant to R ule 12(c), d ated September 8, 2011, (Dkt. No. 31); C ros s- C lai mant Tobi ts '
Moti on for Jud gment on the Plead i ngs as to the F arleys ' C ras s- C lai m and C ounterclai m F or
ER I SA R eli ef, d ated September 13, 2011, (Dkt. No. 36), and the vari ous res pons es thereto.
F or the reas ons that follow, C ozen O' C onnor' s . Moti on for I nterplead er i s Granted i n Part
`and d eni ed i n Part. Tobi ts ' Moti on for Jud gment on the Plead i ngs i s Granted . The F arleys '
Moti on to Di s mi s s i s Deni ed . A ll other pend i ng Moti ons are Deni ed as Moot.
_ _ . . . . _ _
I I . LEGA L STA NDA R D
A . I nterplead er
C ozen O' C onnor . brought thi s acti on i n i nterplead er purs uant to F ed eral R ule of C i vi l Proced ure
22, reques ti ng that: 1) Tobi ts and the F arleys be requi red to i nterplead and s eC kle among
thems elves thei r res pecti ve clai ms to the money d ue und er the Plan; 2) Tobi ts and the F arleys
be res trai ned from commenci ng any acti on agai ns t C ozen O' C onnor won the Plan; 3)
C ozen O' C onnor . be permi tted to pay i nto the regi s try of the court all amounts d ue und er the
Plan and upon s uch d epos i t be d i s charged from all fi abi { i ty ari s i ng from tl~e Plan; and 4) that
C ozen [* 10] O' C onnor be award ed i ts cos ts and attorneys ' fees .
I nterplead er "allows ' a pers on hold i ng property to j oi n i n a s i ngle s ulk two or more pers ons
as s erti ng clai ms to that property. "' Metro. Lrfe I ns . C o. v. Pri ce, 501 F . 3d 271, 275 (3d
C i r. 2007) (ci tati ons omi tted ). "The plai nti ff i n an i nterplead er acti on i s a s takehold er that ad mi ts
i t i s li able to one of the clai mants , but fears the pros pect of multi ple li abi li ty. " td . A party
s eeki ng C he remed y of i nterplead er und er F R C P 22 "may fi le s ui t, d epos i t the property wi th the
court and then wi thd raw from the proceed i ngs , leavi ng the competi ng clai mants to li ti gate
between thems elves . " A / / s tate Settlement C orp, v. Uni ted States , 2008 U. S. Di s t. LEXTS 41700,
2008 WL 2221897, at *3 (E. D. Pa. May 28, 2008).
B. Jud gment on the Plead i ngs
A party may move for j ud gment "after the plead i ngs are clos ed but wi thi n s uch ti me as not to
d elay the tri al. " F ed . R . C i v. P. 12(c). I n s o d oi ng, "the movi ng party mus t s how that no i s s ues
of materi al fact exi s t and that j ud gment s hould be entered i n i ts favor as a matter of law. " S. B.
v. Uni ted of Omaha Li fe I ns . C o. , C i v. No. 13- 1463, 2013 U. S. Di s t. LEXTS 83642, 2013 WL
2915973, at *3 (E, D. Pa, June 13, 2013) (ci ti ng Bayer C hemi cals C orp. v. A lbermarle C orp. , 171
F ed . A pp' x 392, 397 (3d C i r. 2006); [*i . l] Jablons ki v. Pan A mer. World A i rways , I nc. , 863
F ,2d 289, 290 (3d C i r. 1988)). "I n evaluati ng a R ule ~. 2(c) moti on, a court mus t vi ew the
plead i ngs i n the li ght mos t favorable to, and d raw all i nferences i n favor of, the nonmovi ng
party. " Jablons ki , 863 F . 2d at 290. The court "need not accept as true legal conclus i ons or
unwarranted factual i nferences . " I d .
I n cons i d eri ng a moti on for j ud gment on the plead i ngs , a court i s not li mi ted to the plead i ngs
thems elves but may als o cons i d er facts of whi ch the court may take j ud i ci al noti ce. See Schott
v. Doe, C I VA 05- 1730, 2007 WL 539645 (W. D. Pa. F eb. 15, 2007) (ci ti ng Oran v. Stafford , 226
F . 3d 275, 289 (3d C i r. 2000)).
Before thi s C ourt are both C ozen O' C onnor' s ~ and Ms . Tobi ts ' Moti ons for Jud gment on the
Plead i ngs . I n ad d i ti on to the Moti ons and the res pons es thereto, thi s C ourt cons i d ers a number
of d ocuments that are i ncorporated by reference i n the C omplai nts and vari ous plead i ngs , as
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well as j udicially noticed facts. SeeSouthmark Prime Plus, L . P: v . Falzone, 77b F. Supp. 888,
$92 (D. Del. 1 991 ) (noting that "the consideration of the j udicialiy noticed facts does not
conv ert the motion into a Rule 5G motion for summary j udgment.").
In its [*1 2] Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings, Cozen requests j udyment as to its
interpleader claim, in addition to j udgment as to Tobits' and the Farleys' Counterclaims. Ms.
Tobits, likewise requests, inter alia, "j udgment as a matter of law that she is Ms. Parley's
surv iv ing spouse and is therefore entitled to the Plan benefits."
III. DISCUSSION
A. The Plan Terms
Because the competing claims to Ms. Parley's death benefits require interpretation of the Plan,
sev eral key Plan prov isions are discussed herein.
The Plan prov ides in relev ant part:
ARTICL E I
DEFINITIONS
***
1 .55A "Spouse" means the person to whom the Participant has been married throughout the
one- year period ending on the earlier of (1 ) the Participant's annuity starting date or (2) the
date of the Participant's death. The Plan Administrator may rely on the Participant's written
statement regarding such Participant's marital status.
***
ARTICL E VI
DETERMINATION AND DISTRIBUTION OF BENEFITS
***
6.2 DETERMINATION OF BENEFITS UPON DEATH
(a) Upon the death of a Participant before the Participant's Retirement Date or other
termination of employment, all amounts credited to such Participant's Combined Account shalt
become fully Vested. The Administrator [*1 3] shall direct the Trustee, in accordance with the
prov isions of Sections 6.6 and 6.7, to distribute the v alue of the deceased Participant's accounts
to the Participant's Beneficiary
***
(e) Unless otherwise elected in the manner prescribed in Section G.6, the Participant's surv iv ing
Spouse shall receiv e a death benefit equal to the Pre- Retirement Surv iv or Annuity. The
Participant may designate a Beneficiary other than the Spouse to receiv e that portion of the
Participant's death benefit which is not payable as aPre- Retirement Surv iv or Annuity. The
Participant may also designate a Beneficiary other than the ParticipanC's Spouse to receiv e the
Pre- Retirement Surv iv or Annuity but only if:
(1 ) the Participant and the Participant's Spouse hav e v alidly waiv ed the Pre-
Retirement Surv iv or Annuity in the manner prescribed in Section 6.6, and the
Spouse has waiv ed the right to be the Participant's Beneficiary, or
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***
(3) the Par ticip anfi has no Sp ouse, or
***
In such event, the designation of a Beneficiar y shal l be made on a for m satisfactor y to the
Administr ator .. ,
(f) In the event no val id designation of Beneficiar y ex ists, or if the Beneficiar y is not al ive at the
time of the Par ticip ant's [*14] death, the death benefit w il l be p aid in the fol l ow ing or der of
p r ior ity to:
(1) the Par ticip ant's sur viving Sp ouse;
***
(2) the Par ticip ant's sur viving p ar ents, in equal shar es
~**
ARTICLE IX
MISCELLANEOUS
***
9.3 CONSTRUCTION OF PLAN
This Pl an shal l be constr ued and enfor ced accor ding to the [Inter nal Revenue] Code, [FRIBA]
and the l aw s of the Commonw eal th of Pennsyl vania, other than its l aw s r esp ecting choice of
l aw , to the ex tent not p r e- emp ted by [FRIBA].
The Pl an (DkC. No. 3- 4 at 1- 86).
B. Ap p l icabil ity of ERTSA to the Pl an
The Code 13 and ERISA mandate that emp l oyee benefit p l ans meet sever al r equir ements to be
"qual ified" for tax p r efer ences. 14 Among these mandates is the r equir ement that emp l oyee
benefit p l ans contain cer tain mandator y sp ousal benefits p r ovisions. 15 Cozen O'Connor has
r ep r esented to the Cour t that the Pl an is an ERISA- qual ified Pl an, such that it w as dr afted to
comp l y w ith feder al l aw and to enjoy those benefits that accomp any an ERISA- qual ified p l an. ~E
Indeed, the Pl an contains sever al hal l mar ks of an ERISA- qual ified p l an incl uding those
p r ovisions that r el ate to the distr ibution of death benefits such as: the Pl an's r equir ement that
in or der to qual ify as "Sp ouse," [* 15] the individual must be mar r ied Co the Par ticip ant for at
l east one year ; 17 the Pl an's r equir ement that a "Sp ouse" must w aive his or her r ight to be the
Par ticip ant's Beneficiar y in w r iting; 18 and the Pl an's r equir ement that death benefits shal l go to
the "sur viving Sp ouse," absent a sp ousal w aiver-, 19 Not onl y does it contain l anguage that
mir r or s the mandates of ERISA and the Code, the Pl an ex p r essl y r equir es that the Pl an is ko be
constr ued accor ding to ERISA and the Code. 20 That is, ERISA and the Code shal l sup p l y
meanings to the Pl an not other w ise found ther ein, and the Administr ator is bound by those
ter ms in making any deter mination r egar ding benefits,
zl
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F OOT NOT ES
i s T he C od e i s cod i fi ed as T i tl e 26 of the U. S. C od e,
i s ER ISA requi res that "[e]very empl oyee benefi t pl an shal l be establ i shed and mai ntai ned
pursuant to a wri tten i nstrument. " 29 U. S. C . § 1102(a}(1},
i s ER ISA and the C od e merel y establ i sh a fl oor for pri vatel y sponsored empl oyee benefi t
pl ans wi th respect to spousal benefi ts. Pri vatel y- sponsored pl ans have d i screti on to go
beyond these requi rements—i nd eed many d o. T od ay's hol d i ng makes cl ear, however, that
Wi nd sor l evel ed the fl oor.
i e See Dkt. No. 90 at 4 ("Ms. Parl ey's d eath [*16] benefi t, whi ch i s at i ssue i n thi s case,
al though payabl e by a pri vate empl oyer, i s absol utel y fed eral l y mand ated und er ER T SA and
und er the Internal R evenue C od e. T he Pl an fol l ows thi s fed eral l aw mand ate . . . ,"); see
a/so, Mar. 20, 2013 T r. at 62:12- J. 6; 63:20- 64:10 ("T he C ozen pl an i s an ER ISA - qual i fi ed
pl an. What that means Your Honor, i s i n ord er to get the tax benefi ts and the other benefi ts
I of the pl an, i t has to fol l ow ER ISA . If i t d oes not, i f we d o not compl y wi th fed eral l aw, there
are terri bl e tax consequences C hat fol l ow both from the parti ci pants and to
!C ozen O'C onnor. . . , ~So Your Honor, we then l ook at ER ISA because our pl an was d rafted
to compl y wi th fed eral l aw. . . . and the d efi ni ti ons are there i n ord er to comport wi th
fed eral l aw. ").
~~ 29 U. S. C . Sec. 1055(b)(4); Pl an §1. 55A .
~a 29 U. S. C . § 1055(c)(2); Pl an §§ 6. 2 (e),(f).
i 9 29 U. S. C . § 1055(b); Pl an §§ 6. 2 (e),(f).
Zo Pl an §9. 3.
sl See i d ; see al so Kenned y v. Pl an A d mr for DuPont Say. &Inv. Pl an, 555 U. S. 285, 129 S.
C t. 865, 172 L. Ed . 2d 662 (U. S. 2009). T n Kenned y, the Uni ted States Supreme C ourt hel d
that the d etermi nati on of khe proper benefi ci ary und er an ER ISA - governed pl an wi l l be
d etermi ned by the l anguage of the pl an i tsel f. T he Kenned y C ourt [*17] Hated that "F R IBA
makes cl ear that pl an ad mi ni strators must pay benefi ts "i n accord ance wi th the d ocumenfi s
and i nstruments governi ng the pl an. " 29 U. S. C . § 1104(a)(1)(D). T hus, the ad mi ni strators
of thi s Pl an are requi red to make thei r benefi ts d etermi nati ons} accord i ng to the C od e and
ER ISA , as the Pl an l anguage requi res.
Here, the d efi ni ti on of "Spouse" i s und efi ned , except to the extent that i t requi res that anyone
who i s a "Spouse" must be marri ed for a year pri or to recei vi ng benefi ts. z2 T hi s requi remenC —
whi ch tracks khe ER ISA mand ates regard i ng spousal benefi ts—sti l l l eaves open the questi on of
exactl y who can be a "Spouse. " Sased on the l anguage of the Pl an—whi ch C ozen d rafted
pursuant to F R IBA 's mand ates—the C ourt must l ook to ER ISA and then the C od e for those
d efi ni ti ons.
z3
'F OOT NOT ES
zz Pl an §1. 55A .
Zs C ozen O'C onnor, . - a pri vate empl oyer, d i d not have to create an empl oyee benefi t pl an.
T he F i rm's choi ce to create atax- qual i fi ed empl oyee benefi t pl an "to be construed and
enforced " und er ER T SA , subjects the F i rm's Pl an to fed eral l aw.
. . . . . _ . .
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By reason of the operative language of the Plan, the determination of whether Ms. Tobils is Ms.
Parley's "Spouse" is dispositive of the distribution of death [*18] benefits.
C. Windsor and the Definition of "Spouse"
The Dictionary Act codifies rules of statutory construction for thousands of laws and federal
regulations, including ERISA and the Code. 24 Seckion 3 of the federal Defense of Marriage Act
("DOMA") amended the Dictionary Act, and provided that:
In determining the meaning of any Act of Congress, or of any ruling, regulation, or
interpretation of the various administrative bureaus and agencies of the United
States, the word 'marriage' means only a legal union between one man and one
woman as husband and wife, and the word 'spouse' refers only to a person of the
opposite sex who is a husband or a wife."
1 U.S.C. § 7,
'FOOTNOTES
za See 1 U.S.C. § 1, et seq.
Thus, for purposes of ERISA, the Code and thousands of other regulations, DOMA, by operation
of its Section 3, restricted any reference Co "Spouse" to mean only opposite-sex spouses. 25
FOOTNOTES
zs See Windsor,J.33 S. Ct. at 2683 ("[DOMA's) comprehensive definition of marriage for
purposes of all federal statutes and other regulations or directives covered by its terms,
however, does control over 1,000 federal laws in which maril-al or spousal status is
addressed as a matter of federal law.") (citing GAO, D. Shah, [* 19] Defense of Marriage
': Act: Update to Prior Report 1 (GAO-04 -353R, 2004 )).
In United States v. Windsor, the United States Suprerrie Court considered whether Edith
Windsor, a New York residenfi who married her late-wife, Thea Spyer in 2006 in Canada,
qualified for a federal estate tax exemption as a "surviving spouse," in light of Section 3 of
DOMA. The Windsor Court held treat because the state of New Yark recognized same-sex
marriages as valid—and, to wit, the Canadian marriage of Edith Windsor and Thea Spyer—
DOMA unlawfully deprived those couples of the equal liberty of persons that is protected by the
Fifth Amendment. As it stood, DOMA, "wr[ote] inequality into the entire United States Code."
z6
;FOOTNOTES
26 Id. at 2681.
That "written inequality" in DOMA Section 3 extended ko the ERISA definition of "Spouse." Prior
to the Court's decision in Windsor, under the plain language of ERISA, the Code, and the Plan at
issue in this case, qualified retiremenfi plans were under no obligation to provide benefits to
same-sex Spouses. Following the Court's ruling, the term "Spouse" is no longer
unconstitutionally restricted to members of the opposite sex, but now riyhtfuily includes those
same-sex spouses in "otherwise [*20] valid marriages."
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D. Ms. 7obits is Ms. Par ley' s " Spouse"
Ther e can be no d oubt that Ms. Tobits is Ms. Par ley' s " sur viving Spouse" und er the Plan in light
of the Supr eme Cour t' s d ecision in Wind sor . Ms. Tobits and Ms. Far ley wer e mar r ied in Tor onto,
Canad a in 2006, just a year befor e Ed ith Wind sor and Thea Spyer wed in Ontar io, Ms. Tobits
possesses uncontr over ted evid ence of a valid Canad ian Mar r iage Cer tificate solemnizing that
mar r iage. ~' Ms. Tobits and Ms. Far ley celebr ated that mar r iage with another cer emony in
I llinois, wher e the couple lived together until Ms. Par ley' s untimely d eath in 201 0. 28 Post-
Wind sor , wher e a state r ecognizes a par ty as a " Sur viving Spouse," the fed er al gover nment
must d o the same with r espect to ER I SA benefihs—at least pur suant to the expr ess language of
the ER I SA - qualified Plan at issue her e. Ther e can be no d oubt that I llinois, the couple' s place of
d omicile, would consid er Ms. Tobits Ms. Par ley' s " sur viving Spouse"- - - ind eed it alr ead y has
mad e that specific find +ng und er state law. 29 Wind sor makes clear that wher e a state has
r ecognized a mar r iage as valid , the United States Constitution r equir es that the fed er al laws
and r egulations of this countr y [*21 ] acknowled ge that mar r iage. Tn light of that, this Cour t
find s that Ms. Tobits is Ms. Par ley' s " Spouse" pur suant to the ter ms of the Plan. This find ing
alone is d iapositive of the issue of the pr oper r ecipient of Ms. Par ley' s d eahh benefits.
FOOTNOTES
z~ See Dkt, No. 3- 4.
zs The Cour t need not d ecid e any issues of Pennsylvania state law in this matter , includ ing
that of the constitutionality of Pennsylvania' s state DOMA statuCe. A lthough the Plan
contains a choice of law pr ovision that makes r efer ence to Pennsylvania law, by the Plan' s
ter ms, Pennsylvania law is only applicable to the extent it is not pr e- empted by ER I SA .
Her e, the Cour t find s that, based on the ter ms of this Plan, ER I SA pr e- empts Pennsylvania
law entir ely.
That this Plan belongs to a company head quar ter ed in Pennsylvania matter s not. The issue
her e r egar d s the d efinition of " Spouse" as supplied by ER I SA —a fed er al r egulation, For the
pur poses of d eter mining the d efinition of " Spouse," if Cour ts wer e r equir ed to look at the
state in which the policy was d r afted , this could per mit Plan ad ministr ator s and d r after s to
;for um shop among those jur isd ictions with state DOMA statutes, in an effor t to avoid
pr ovid ing benefits to same- sex couples [*22] with other wise valid mar r iages. A t its hear t,
ER I SA was enacted to establish national unifor mity among benefit plans. 1 20 CONG. R EC.
i 29,1 97 (1 974) (" With the pr eemption of the field , we r ound out the pr otection affor d ed
par ticipants by eliminating the thr eat of conflicting and inconsistent State and local
r egulation. " ); see also A etna Health I nc. v. Davila, 542 U. S. 200, Z08 , lZ4 S. Ct. 24$8 , 1 59
L . Ed . 2d 31 2, (2004). Tod ay' s d ecision is consistent with that goal.
z9 I llinois, like many states, d oes not issue mar r iage licenses to same- sex couples. By vir tue
of its civil union statute, however , I llinois can r ecognize same- sex mar r iages solemnized in
other jur isd ictions, such as Canad a. See 750 I I I . Comp. Stat. A nn. 7S/1 et seq. (West
201 1 ); see also 750 I I I . Comp. Stat. A nn. 75/5 (d escr ibing pur pose of I llinois R eligious
Fr eed om Pr otection and Civil Union A ct as " pr ovid [ingJ per sons enter ing into a civil union
" with the obligations, r esponsibilities, pr otections, and benefits affor d ed or r ecognized by the
law of I llinois to spouses" . )
A n Or d er fr om the Cir cuit Cour t for Cook County, I llinois, d ated October 21 , 201 1 , d eclar ed
Ms. Tobits a par ty to a civil union with Ms. Far ley and d eclar ed her Ms. Par ley' s sole heir .
See [*23] Dkt No. 57, Cir cuit Cour t of Cook, County, I I I . Depar tment - Pr obate Division
Or d er Declar ing Heir ship. Fur ther mor e, that cour t gr anted Ms. Tobits' r equest to become
ad ministr ator , author izing her to take possession of and collect the estate of the d eced ent
and to d o all acts r equir ed by law. I nd eed , because the I llinois pr obate Cour t r ecognized Ms
Tab. its as the sole heir to a civil union, it accepted as valid the mar r iage between Ms. Tobits
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'and Ms. Farley that took place i n C anada i n 2006. Thi s C ourt takes j udi ci al noti ce of these
deci si ons as beari ng a di rect relati on to matkers at i ssue before thi s C ourt. See Golden v .
C ook, 293 F. Supp. 2d 546, 551 (W.D. Pa. 2003) ("[C ]ourts are permi tted to consi der
matters of whi ch they may take j udi ci al noti ce, i ncludi ng records and reports of
'admi ni strati v e bodi es ...and publi cly av ai lable records and transcri pts from j udi ci al
proceedi ngs i n related or underlyi ng cases whi ch hav e a di rect relati on to the matters at
i ssue. "). As thi s C anadi an marri age was deemed v ali d, albei t under the nomi nal ti tle of "ci v i l
uni on" i n Illi noi s, there can be no di spute that Ms. Tobi ts i s a "surv i v i ng Spouse" pursuant to
the Plan.
IV. C ONC LUSION
For the foregoi ng [*24a reasons, j udgment shall be entered for J enni fer- Tobi ts. The proceeds
of the Plan, whi ch shall be pai d i nto the Regi stry of the C ourt pursuant to the accompanyi ng
Order, shall be pai d i n full to J enni fer Tobi ls. Plai nti ff C ozen O'C onnor ,i s enti tled to di scharge
of future li abi li ty to Defendants concerni ng the di stri buti on of the Plan's death benefi ts.
An appropri ate Order follows.
ORDER
AND NOW, thi s 29th day of J uly 2013, upon consi derati on of C ozen O'C onnor's .Fi rst Amended
C omplai nt for Interpleader, dated J anuary 24, 2011 (Dkt. No. 3); befendant Farleys' Answer,
C ounterclai m, and C rossclai m, dated August 1, 2011 (Dkt. No. 14); Defendant Tobi ts' Answer,
Affi rmati v e Defenses, C ounterclai m and C ross- C lai ms To Interpleader Fi rst Amended C omplai nt,
dated August 1, 2011 (Dkt. No. 15); Defendant Farleys' Moti on To Di smi ss J enni fer J . Tobi ts'
C rossclai ms Pursuant to FRC P 12(b)(6), dated August 22, 2011 (Dkt. No. 25); Plai nti ff
C ozen O'C onnor's .Moti on for J udgment on the Pleadi ngs Pursuant to Rule 12(c), dated
September 8, 2011, (Dkt. No. 31); C ross- C lai mant Tobi ts' Moti on for J udgment on the Pleadi ngs
as to the Farleys' C ross- C lai m and C ounterclai m For ERISA Reli ef, dated September 13, 2011,
[*25] (DkC . No. 36), and the v ari ous responses thereto, i t i s hereby ORDERED that:
1) Pursuant to the terms of the C ozen O'C onnorProfi t- Shari ng Plan and appli cable
law, J enni fer Tobi ts i s the "surv i v i ng Spouse" of Sarah Ellyn Farley;
2) C ozen O'C onnor's .Fi rst Amended C omplai nt for Interpleader i s GRANTED to the
extent that C ozen shall pay i nto the Regi stry of the C ourt all amounts due under the
Plan;
3) As Sarah Ellyn Farley's "surv i v i ng Spouse," Defendant J enni fer Tobi ts i s enti tled
to an award of all moni es pai d i n the Regi stry of the C ourt after the deposi t i s
completed;
4) Plai nti ff C ozen O'C onnor .i s enti tled to di scharge of future li abi li ty to Defendants
J enni fer Tobi ts and the Farleys concerni ng the di stri buti on of the Plan's death
benefi ts;
5) Defendants and C ross- C lai mants Farleys' Moti on to Di smi ss i s DENIED;
6) All other pendi ng Moti ons are DENIED as MOOT; and
7) The Parti es shall bear thei r own costs and attorneys' fees.
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P age 12 of 12
BY T HE C OUR T :
/s/ C . Darnell Jones, I I .
C . DA R NELL JONES, I I ~ J.
Servi ce: Get by LEXSEEO
C i tati on: 2013 U. S. Di st. LEXI S 105507
Vi ew: F ull
Date/T i me: F ri d ay, October 4, 2013 - 2:33 P M EDT
I n
A bout LexlsNexi s ~ P ri vacy P oli cy ~ T erms &C ond i ti ons ~ C ontact Us
C opyri ghtO 2013 Lexi sNexi s, a d i vi si on of R eed Elsevi er I nc. A ll ri ghts reserved ,
DA 114
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Of f ic ia l - S u b j e c t t o f in a l Re vie w
1N THE S UPI2FME COURT OI' THE UNITED S TATES
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - x
DENNIS HOLLINGS WORTH, ~T AL. ,
Pe t it io n e rs
No . 12- 144
v.
KRxS TTN M. PERRY, ET AL.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - x
.
Wa shin gt o n , D. C.
Tu e sda y, Ma rc h 26, 2013
The a b o ve - e n t it l e d ma t t e r c a me o n f o r o ra l
a rgu me n t b e f o re t he S u pre me Co u rt o f t he Un it e d S t a t e s
a t 10:07 a . m.
APPEARANCES :
CHARLES J. COOPER, ES Q. , Wa shin gt o n , D. C. ; o n b e ha l f o f
Pe t i. ~io n e rs.
THEOD012E B. OLS ON, ~S Q. , Wa shin gt o n , U. C. ; o n b e ha l f o f
Re spo n de n t s.
DONALD B. VERRTLLI, JR. , ES Q. , S o l ic it o r Ge n e ra l ,
De pa rt me n t o f Ju si~ic e , Wa shin gt o n , D. G. ; f o r Un it e d
S t a ke s, a s a mic u s c u ria e , su ppo rt in g Re spo n de n t s.
1
Al de rso n Re po rt in g Co mpa n y
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O f f ic ia l -Subjec t to F in a l Review
C O N T E N T S
O RAL A~ 2G'UMENT O F
CHART,~ S J. CO O PER, ESQ.
O n . beha l f . o f the Petitio n ers
O RAL ARGi7M~ NT O F
THEO DO RE B. O LSO N, ESQ.
O n beha l f o f the Respo n den ts
O RAL ARGUMENT O F
DO NALD II. VERRILLI, JR. , ESQ.
~ 'o r Un a . ted Sta tes, a s a mic us c uria e,
suppo rtin g Respo n den ts
REBUTTAL ARGUMENT O F
CHARLES J. CO O PER, ESQ.
O n beha l f o f the Petitio n ers
2
Al derso n Repo rtin g Co mpa n y
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O f f i c i a l - S u b j e c t t o F i n a l Re vi e w
L
P R O C E E D X N G S
2
(10:07 a .m.)
3
CHIEF ,7US TICE RO BLRTS : We 'l 1 he a r a rgu me n t
4 t hi s mo rn i n g i n Ca se 12- 144, EIo l l i n gswo rt h v. Pe rry.
5
Mr. Co o pe r?
6
O RAL ARGUMENT O L' CHARLES a '. CO O PER
7
O N BEHALF O F 7~ 'HE PETI`i TO NERS
8
MR. CO O PER: Tha n k yo u , Mr. Chi e f Ju st i c e ,
9 a n d ma y i t pl e a se t he Co u rt :
10
Ne a r Xo rk's hi ghe st c o u rt , i n a c a se si mi l a r
11 t o t hi s o n e , re ma rke d t ha t u n t i l qu i t e re c e n t l y, i t wa s
12 a n a c c e pt e d t ru t h f o r a l mo st e ve ryo n e who e ve r l i ve d i n
13 a n y so c i e t y xn whi c h ma rri a ge e xi st e d - -
14
CHEF JUS TICE RO BERTS : Mr. Co o pe r, we ha ve
15 j u ri sdi c t i a n a ]. a n d me ri t s i ssu e s he re . Ma yb e i t 'd b e
16 b e st i f yo u c o u l d b e gi n wi t h t he st a n di n g .i ssu e .
17
MR. CO O PER: I'd b e ha ppy t o ,
1£i Mr. Chi e f Ju st i c e .
19
Yo u r Ho n o r, t he o f f i c i a l pro po n e n t s o f
2d Pro po si t i o n 8, t he i n i t i a t i ve , ha ve st a n di n g t o de f e n d
21 t ha t me a su re b e f o re t hi s Co u rt a s re pre se n t a t i ve s o f t he
22 pe o pl e a n d t he S t a t e o L Ca l i f o rn i a t o de f e n d t he
23 va l i .di ~ y o f a me a su re t ha t t he y b ro u ght f o rwa rd.
29
JUS TICE GTNS BURG: Ha ve we e ve r gra n t e d
25 st a n di n g t o pro po n e n t s o f b a l l o t i n i t i a t i ve s?
3
Al de rso n Re po rt i n g Co mpa n y
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O f f i c i a l - 3u b j e ~ c : t t o F i n a i Rc vi c w
St a t e t ha t do e s n o t hi n g, b u t n o t go o d e n o u gh t o o ve rc o me
Ca l i f o rn i a whe re t he y do a l o t ?
G~ NERAI, VEF t RILLI: We l l , we - - wha t we 're - -
wha t we 're sa yi n g a b o u t t ha t i s t ha t we 're n o t pre pa re d
t o c l o se t he do o r ~ o a n a rgu me n t i n a n o t he r St a ke whe re
t he St a t e 's i n t e re st s ha ve n 't c u t t he l e gs o u t f ro m
u n de r t he a rgu me n t s. An d I t hi n k - - X su ppo se t he
c a u t a .o n ra t i o n a l e t ha t Mr. Co o pe r i de n t i f i e d wi t h
re spe c t t o t he e f f e c t s o n c hi 7.d~- e n , i f i t c a me u p i n a
di f f e re n t c a se wi t h a di f f e re n t re c o rd, a f t e r a 7.1 he re ,
t hi s c a se wi a s Li t i ga t e d b y Pe t i t i o n e rs o n t he t he o ry
t ha t ra t i a n ~ l b a si s a ppl i e d a n d t he y di dn 't n e e d t o sho w
a n yt hi n g, a n d so t he y di dn 't t ry t o sho w a n yt hi n g.
O u r vi e w i s t ha t he i ght e n e d sc ru t i n y sho u l d
a ppl y, a n d so Y do n 't wa n t t o - - I do n 't wa n t t o ki d
a b o u t t hi s, we u n de rst a n d, t ha t wo u l d b e a ve ry he a vy
b u rde n f o r a St a t e ~ ~ o me e t . Al l we 're su gge st i n g i s
t ha t i n a si t u a t i o n i n whi c h t he - - t he St a t e i n t e re st s
a re n .'t c u t o u t f ro m u n de r i t , a s t he y - - a s t he y a re
he re , t ha t t ha t i ssu e o u ght t o re ma i n o pe n f o r. a f u t u re
c a se . ..An d Z - - a n d I t hi n k t he c a u t i o n ra t i o n a l e wo u l d
b e t he o n e pl a c e whe re we mi ght l e a ve i t o pe n . Be c a u se
yo u c a n 't l e a ve i t o pe n i n t hi s c a se .
JUSTICL•; SO TO MAYO R: Ge n e ra ]., t he re i s a n
i ro n y i n t ha t , whi c h i s t he St a t e s t ha t do mo re ha ve
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O f f i c i a l - Subjec t to F i n a l Revi ew
l ess ri ghts.
GENERAL VERRIT_,LI: Wel l . - - wel l , I
un dersta n d tha t, Yo ur Ei o n o r, but I do thi n k tha t yo u
ha ve. to thi n k a bo ut the c ]_a i m o f ri ght o n the o ther si de
o f the equa ti o n here. An d i n thi s si tua ti o n ,
Ca l i f o rn i a - - the a rgumen t here tha t - - tha t ga y a n d
l esbi a n c o upl es c a n be den i ed a c c ess tea ma rri a ge o n the
gro un d o f a n i n terest i n respo n si bl e pro c rea ti o n a n d
c hi ~. d rea ri n g just c a n 't sta n d up gi ven tha t the pa ren ts
ha ve f ul l equa l i ty, the ga y a n d l esbi a n pa ren ts ha ve
f ul l . equa l i ty a pa rt f ro m - -
JUSTICE ALTTa : Yo u wa n t us to a ssess the
e. ~f ec ts o f sa me- sex ma rri a ge, the po ten ti a l ef f ec ts
o n - - o f sa me- sex ma rri a ge, the po ten ti a l - - the ef f ec ts
o f Pro po si ti o n a . But wha t i s yo ur respo n se t; o the
a xgumen t whi c h ha s a l rea dy been men ti o n ed a bo ut the n eed
to be c a uti o us i n l i ght o f the n ewn ess o f the - - the
c o n c ept o ~ - - o f sa me- sex ma rri a ge.
The o n e thi n g tha t the pa rti es i n thi s c a se
seem to a gree o n i s tha t ma rri a ge a . s very i mpo rta n t.
It's tho ught to be a f un da men ta l bui l di n g bl o c k o f
so c i ety a n d i ts preserva ti o n essen ti a l f o x the
preserva ti o n o ~ so c i ety. Tra di ti o n a l ma rri a ge ha s been
a ro un d f o r tho usa n ds o f yea rs. Sa me- sex ma rri a ge i s
very n ew. Z thi n k i t wa s f a _rst a da pted i n The
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O f f i c i a l - S u b j e c t t o F i n a l R e v i e w
me t ha t yo u r po si t i o n gha t yo u a re su ppo rt i n g i s
so me w ha t i n t e rn a l l y i n c o n si st e n t . We se e t he a rgu me n t
ma de t ha t t he re i s n o pro b l e m w i t h e xt e n di n g ma rri a ge ~o
sa me- .se x. c o u pl e s b e c a u se c hi l dre n ra i se d b y sa me - se x
c o u pl e s a re do i n g j u st f i n e a n d t he re i s n o e v i de n c e
t ha t t he y a re b e i n g ha rme d. An d t he o t he r a rgu me n t i s
Pro po si t i o n 8 ha rms c hi l dre n b y n o t a l l o w i n g sa me - se x
c o u pl e s t o ma rri a ge .. Whi c h i s i t ?
GENER AL V~Tt It ILLI: We l l , I - - T t hi n k w ha t
Pro po si t i o n 8 do e s i s de n y t he l o n g- - t e rm st a b i l i zi n g
e f f e c t t ha t ma rri a ge b ri n gs. Tha t 's - - t ha t 's t he
a rgu me n t f o r - - f o r ma zri a ge , t ha t - -
CHIEF JUS TICE R O BER TS : Bu t yo u a l so t e l l me
t he re ha s b e e n n a ha rm sho w n t o c hi l dre n a t sa me - se x
c o u pl e s.
GENER AL VER R ILLI: Ca l i f o rn i a - - t he re a re
37,O d0 c hi l dre n i n sa me - se x f a mi l i e s i n Ca l i f o rn i a n o w .
The i r pa t e n t s c a n n o t ma r..ry a n d t ha t ha s e f f e c t s o n i .he m
i n t he he re - a n d n o w . A st a b i l i zi n g e f f e c t i s n o t t he re .
Whe n t he y go t o sc ho o l , t he y ha v e t o , yo u kn o w - - t he y
do n 't ha v e pa re n t s l i ke e v e ryb o dy e l se 's pa re n t s.
Tha t 's a re a l e f f e c t , a re a l c o st i n t he he re a n d n o w .
JUS TICE BR ~XER : We l l , t he re a l c o st ri ght
n o w w o u l d b e yo u 're a ska .n g me t o w ri i :e t he se w o rds: "A
S t a t e t ha t ha s a pa c t ha s t o sa y 'ma rri a ge ,"' b u t I'm
6 J.
n l de rso n R e po rt i n g Co mpa n y
.
- DAi Z o
O f r i c i a l -Subjec t to Fi na l Revi ew
1 no t tel l i ng yo u a bo ut Sta tes tha t do n't. Wel l , I wo ul d
2 guess ther e i s a r ea l -wo r l d ei tec t ther e, to o . Tha t ~~~~~
.\
3 Sta tes tha t a r e c o nsi der i ng pa c ts wi l l a l l sa y "we wo n't
4 do i t," o r no t a l l , but so me wo ul d. And tha t wo ul d ha ve
5 a r ea l ef f ec t r i ght no w. And a t the mo ment, I'm
6 thi nki ng i .t's muc h mo r e ha r mf ul to the ga y c o upl e, the
7 l a tter tha n the f o r mer . But yo u wo n't gi ve me a dvi c e a s
8 the Go ver nment a s to ho w to dea l wi th tha t.
9
GENERAL V~RRTLLI: Wel l , we -- ta e thi nk
l d tha t, a:s I sta r ted my a r gument, Yo ur Ho no r , tha t. a l l the
11 wa r ni ng f l a gs f o r exa c tzng equa l pr o tec ti o n sc r uta .ny a r e
12 pr esent her e. Th9.s i s a gr o up tha t ha s suf f er ed a
13 hi sto r y o f ter r i bl e di sc r i mi na ta .o n. The Peti ti o ner s
] .4 do n ' t deny i t .
15
Pet9.ti o ner s sa i d a t the po di um to da y tha t
1.6 thew i s no justi f i c a ta .o n f o r tha t di sc r i mi na ti o n i n a ny
17 r ea l m o ther tha n the o ne po sed i n thi s c a se, a nd the --
18 a nd so when tk►osetwa f a c ~o r .s a r e pr esent, tho se a r e
19 pa r a di gm c o nsa .der a ti o ns f o r the a ppl i c a ti o n o f
20 hei ghtened sc r uti ny, a nd so I do n't wa nt to suggest tha t
21 the Sta tes tha t; ha ven't ta ken tho se steps --
22
JUSTICE SO TO MAYO R: But they a xe no t i :he
23 o nl y o nes..
24
GENERAL VLRR2LLT: -- tha t Sta tes tha t
25 ha ven't ta ken thi s si :ep, tha t they a r e go i ng to ha ve a n
62
Al der sun Rc po r i i ng Co mpa ny
- DA121
GARDEN STATE EQUALITY,
et a1.,
Plaintiffs,
v.
PAULA DOW, et al.,
Defendants.
BE k'ORE
SUPERIOR COURT OF NEW JliRSEY
LAW DIVISION, CIVIL PART
MERCER COUNTY, NGW JERSEY
DOCKET NOS. MliR-L-1729-11
A.D.#
TRANSCRIPT
OF
MOTION E'OR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
Place: Mercer County Civil
Courthouse
175 South Broad Street
Trenton, NJ OB650
Date: August 15, 2013
THE HON. MARY C. JACOBSON, A.J.S.C.
TRANSCRIPT ORDERED BY:
JEAN P. REILLY, DAG (Office of the Attorney General}
APPEARANCES:
LAWRENCE S. ~,USTBERG, ESQ. (Gibbons P.C.)
Attorney for the Plaintiffs
HAYLEY GORENBERG, ES9•
(Lambda Legal)
Attorney for i.he Plaintiffs
ED BAROCAS, ESQ. (ACLU of New Jersey)
Attorney for Amicus
Transcriber, Wendy Antosiewicz
and Andrea Foy
J&J COURT TRANSCRIBERS, INC.
268 Evergreen Avenue
H~Inilton~ NJ' 08619
(609)586-2311
FAX NO. (609) 587-3599
E-xaail: jjcourt@jjcourt.com
Websi~e: www,jjcourt.com
Audio Recorded
Audio Operator, Jeff Starr
DA~22
APPEAR.ANC~S: (Cont'd)
KEVIN JESP~RSON, Assistant Attorney General
Attorney for the Defendants
JEAN P. RETLLY, Deputy Attorney General
Attorney for the State
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COURTROOM DEPUTY: A11 rise. Mercer County
SuperS.or Court is now in session. The Honorable Mary
C. Jacobson presiding.
THE COURT: Good morning, everyone.
UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER: Good morning.
THE COURT: You may be seated.
This morning we have the oral argument in the
matter of Garden State Equality, et al. versus Paula
Dow as Attorney General of New Jersey. Docket Number
Mer-L-1729-11. Tf I could have the appearances of
counsel fo~r~the record starting with counsel for~~the
plaintiffs?
MR. LUSTB~RG: Good morning, Your Honor.
Lawrence S. Lustberg, from Gibbons P.C. on behalf of
the plaintiffs.
MS. GORENBERG: Good morning, Your Honor,
Hay~ey Gorenberg, Lambda Legal, for the plaintiffs.
THE COURT: And I think we have counsel here
for the amicus?.
•MR. BRROCAS: Yes, Your Honor. Ed Barocas,
ACLU of. New Jersey for amicus.
THE COURT: And for the defendants?
MR. JESPERSON: Good morning, Your Honor,
Assistant Attorney General Kevin Jesperson for the
defendants.
Lustberg - Argument
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MS. REILLY: Jean Reilly, Deputy Attorney
General for the Stake.
THE COURT: And this is a summary judgment
motion that's been brought by the plaintiffs and so
we'll start with Mr.. Lustberg.
MR. LUS~'BERG: Thank you, Your Honor. Good
morning again and may it please the Court. Today is a
truly historic day. The tirst time that same sex
couples in New Jersey will have their day in court to
show that their exclusion from marriage and relegation
~o civil union violates their constitutional rights to
equal protection of the law. To be sure, they don't
here seek to establish all of the ways which are
described in their complaint that civil union is not
equal to marriage. There are -- and we agree with the
State -- disputed facts that preclude summary judgment
with regard to many of those issues and they are not
the subject o~ this motion.
Instead, today's motion relies on a
straightforward syllogism that is true strictly as a
matter of law and without the need to resolve any
factual disputes. That syllogism, Your Honor, is as
follows. First, under Lewis v. Harris the New Jersey
Supreme Court said that same-sex couples must have all
of the same rights and benefits as different-sex
~
DA124
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couples. The specific language of the New Jersey
Supreme Count's decision was that, quote, under the
equal protection guarantee of Article I, Paragraph 1 of
the New Jersey Constitution, committed same-sex couples
must be afforded on equal terms the same rights and
benefiCs enjoyed by married apposite-sex couples.
Indeed, the Court said, the unequal dispEnsation of
rights and benefits to committed same-sex couples can
no longer be tolerated under our constitution. That's
point one.
Point two'is that federal benefits in fact -"
depend upon marriage. After the United States Supreme
Court's decision in Windsor that is true whether the
couples are same or different-sex and that's what
Windsor changed. Because of course before Windsor
same-sex couples could not get federal benefits as a
matter of DOMA, bud with.DOMF1 out of the way the only
thing that prevents New Jersey couples from getting the
same rights and benefits -- New Jersey same-sex couples
as getting the same rights and benefits as
different-sex couples is the fact that they are not in
permitted ~ o married, are instead only permitted to
enter into civil unions.
So with those two steps, third, the fact that
New Jersey precludes same-sex couples from marriage and
Lustberg - Argument
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relegates them to civil union means that .federal
benefits are denied them and therefore the mandate of
Lewis is violated. In addition, we raise a federal
constitutional claim which is that given New Jersey's
professed commitment expressed by all three branches of
government to equality as between same and
different-sex couples, there is no conceivable
justification, let alone a rational basa.s, for a state
sysL-em that by denying plaintiffs' marriage
discriminates agaa.nst them with regard to their. federal
rights and benefits. Now, that's --
THE COURT: First, if you could address the
issue as -- some of the issues raised by the State in
whether -- as to whether this is the appropriate time?
They have raised issues of rightness, and I also have
the situation as the Trial Court I'm bound by Lewis and
I realize also that plaintiffs in Lewis made a motion
in aid of litigant's rights to the Supreme Court a
couple of years ago after the Civil Union Commission
rendered ii.s report ---
MR. LUSTBERG: Right.
THE COURT: -- asking the Supreme Cou.r.t to
take the case at that point and the Supreme Court said
we need a factual record and then this Garden State
Equality case was subsequently brought as in the midst
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of discovery.
MR. LUSTBERG: Right.
THE COURT: So, you know, I `m very concerned
about whether this is the right time to bring this case
when I know the Supreme Court wanted a factual record
and the facts in terms of what federal agencies may be
doing are in flux.
MR. LUSTBERG: Okay. That's -- let me see it
I can unpack that question cause there are a lot of
parts to it, Judge. Let me first go to the Supreme
Court's'~rulirig on the motion in the aid of litigant's'
rights, which you're 100 percent correct, requested,
required that a factual record --- a trial-like record
was the term -- be developed. That was based upon a
specific arguments that were being made in ~ha~ motion
in aid of litigant's rights and those arguments were
that as -- that civil union just is not equal to
marriage. I n essence, the allegations of. our complaint
-- in addition to Paragraph 95, which we'ii get to in a
moment -- but the complaint basically alleges in
paragraph after paragraph that in real life having a
civil union is not the same as having a marriage.
At the time of the motion that aided
litigant's rights we believed thati there was a full
enough record based upon proceeding that had occurxed
Lustberg - Argument
9
befpre the Civil Union Review Commission and the
legislature. But what the Court said was, no, there
should be a trial-like record developed with regard to
those issues. At the time, we did not have the clean
question of law that Xaur Honor has before you today as
a result of the Supreme Court's decision in Windsor.
Thai a. s to say, what has changed and what has made it
so ghat you really don't need that trial-like record
and indeed with all candor, I believe that it would be
a tremendous waste oL the Court's time and resources
and the parties' times and resources to now go litigate
the questions that are in that complaint and that the
Supreme Court wanted a trzal-)_ike record on.
`i'oday we know that federal rights are -- wi17.
be -- are being and wi1. 1 continue to be distributed on
the basis of whether_ a couple is married or not, not
whether they have some other status -- and I 'l1 get to
that in a moment and how you know that -- but whether
they're married or not, that is the fact today and it
is an undisputed fact and i. t is an indisputable fact
and in fact; it's a conceded fact to a great extent by
the State. There's no longer a material issue of fact
that precludes summary judgment as a matter of law.
True, air the time of the motion in aid of
litigant's rights, we were raising issues that were
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Lus~berg - Argument
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d isputed by the State then and are d isputed by the
State now. Those facts, as I mentioned in my opening
remarks, are not however the subject of this motion.
Let's ~a1k though about your question about
aren't things in flux and d on't know -- d on't we nod
know what fed eral agencies are going to d o. The answer
is this. First of all, we alread y have a smattering of
what fed eral agencies are going to d o and that
smattering, I should say -- and as Your Honor consid ers
phis matter -- I suspect that there will be more d ata
points as ~pou go along. There have been ~inoze even in~
the last i:wo d ays. We know from the rulings of the
Office of Personnel Management, which governs all
employee benefits for all employees, that marriages axe
treated d ifferently than civa. ] . unions, that for every
fed eral employee, whether they get health insurance or
1a. fe insurance, turns not upon whether they're in a
committed same-sex relationship that's called something
other than marriage, but whether they can call their
relationship a marriage. That's -- that is the law as
it's pronounced xn the wake o£ Wind sor by the Office of
Personnel Management.
Similarly, we know from the Department of
State's ruling that post-d ated the submission of the
State's brief, but was d iscussed in our reply brief,
Lustberg - Argument
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that the State Department is taking the position that
for purpose of immigration that the question is not
whether you're in a marriage or its equivalent, the
question is whether you're in a marriage. And so the
State's posh:ion that fed eral rights will flow to
people who are in marriage or their equivalent -- and
they say that civil union is the equivalent, and fox
purposes of. this argument only, w~ can accept that
representai:ion. And certainly as a matter of New
Jersey law that's what the statute the Civil Union Act
says in i~. s introd uction. But the fed eral agencies are
not i_n~erpreting it that way. So that's point one.
THE COURT: And -- but at least as to those
two areas, the Department of State and Office of
Personnel Management, the State points out that on the
basis of the current complaint there are no allegations
that any member of Gard en State Equality is a fed eral
ernployee or is affected by the Department of State's
immigration status, so i:here's been no motion to amend
the complaint and without having ind ivid uals and facts
regard ing those ind ivid uals id entified , it makes i~
d ifficult for the Court to reach out where the harm --
I d on't see the concrete harm even as to these two
areas,
MR. LUSTBERG: Okay. We11 --
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THE COURT: That's another issue I
understand.
MR. LUSTBFRG: It's not necessarily another
issue and it's a completely legitimate question and
you're correct that the State had pointed that out in
their brief_. -Let's talk about that. In -- you say
that ther.e's -- or you ask whether there's anything in
the complaint. The complaint doesn't specifically
point to those two areas. But in Paragraph 95 of the
complaint it states that plaintiffs will not gain the
rights~and~benefits that will be available after the
repeal or striking down of DOMA. Under New Jersey law
they are not married spouses but rather civil union
partners, a term that has no established legal meaning
in relation to marriage-based federal benefits, and
that's a quote from our complaint.
So the complaint anticipated these
developments. Zt couldn't anticipate which agencies
would go one way and which would go the other.
Although, I woutd note that no agency has said that the
distinction between marriage and civil union is
meaningless. There's -- no agency has come out with
that opinion. And since the time of our filing of our
reply brief -- and we have -- we can provide
supplemental submissions ~o the Court on this -- as
7,ustberg - Argument
13
recently as Friday, the Department o~ Labor made clear
that for purposes of the federal -- the Family Leave
and Medical Act, that the -- the Family -- make ghat
Family Medical and Leave Act. You know the one I'm
talking about -- the -- that the -- that the -- that
whether there's a marriage or something other than
marriage maters a great deal, that: benefits the
ability ~o take family leave would turn on whethex one
was married or not.
Similarly, I believe just yesterday or
certainly within the last couple of days, the
Department of Defense issued guidance to the same
effect, that is to say marriage matters. And the
Department of Defense made clear that if you were not
married you could not gaa.n the sori:s of benefits i:hat
the Department of Defense gives out unless you went
ahead and got married and if you were in a jurisdiction
that didn't allow marriage you would have to go to one
that did. So agency after agency is going in that
direction. Now, we filed the complaint and had
Paragraph 45. The State nea.ther now nor at any other
time has raised a motion to dismiss that paragraph oz
any other on grounds of standing, which would be the
appropriate way to litigate this issue.
Having said that, I can assure the Court, and
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we can da this if we have to, but I -- honestly, I
think it would be a waste of time -- we could either
amend the complaint or we could -- you know, or we
could create a certification that showed which members
of Garden State Equality, one of the plaintiffs in this
case, in fact have members -- you know, which members
fall. into the categories that would be covered by each
of L- hese areas of benefits. I can assure the Court as
an officer of the court that that is something that we
can do with regard to each one of these.
Having said that though, for purposes~of
family or medical leave, certainly it would apply to
any couple going forward in the future. Can we say
that somebody -- it's happening right this second? Of
course not. Bud why should we have to wait for that.
Tn essence, that would adopt the State's position that
what we ought to do here is wait for the deprivation to
occur and then have the plaintiffs file independent
sepazate litigation challenging their denial of federal
rights.
That, respectfully, would be -- it would be
wrong and it would be harmful. And that harm is always
a part of the rightness inquiry. This matter is
appropriate that is fit for judgment under the
rightness analysis because there are no disputed facts.
Lustberg - Argument
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It is appropriate for summary judgment and also
satisfies any rightness inquiry because there is
ongoing harm every single day for people who are denied
their federal benefits because of the fact that they
are not permitted to be married.
I mean, let's just think about this in a most
commonsense way. We've provided Your Honor in our
papers with lists of the federal statutes that are
applicable and applicable in a sense that they turn on
whether someone is married or not, They go to issues
like healthcare, domestic support, tax benefits, the
right to buried together., survivor annuities, welfare,
family and medical leave, as I've mentioned, loans, VA
benefits. People will be, as time goes along and
without question, some of them will be members of
Garden Sate equality, wi_lI be denied these rights and
benefits simply because New Jersey says you can only
have a civil union, you can't be married.
THG COURT: And the State says you've got the
wrong defendant. How can you blame the New Jersey
Legislature for the actions of federal agencies? I
don't have the jurisdiction over the federal agencies
to order them to treat civil unions differently. I do
have the jurisdiction under the New Jersey Constitution
to address the state statutes so -- but what -- why --
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yo u kno w, they talk abo ut State acti o n, but, yo u kno w,
why do n't yo u go to federal co urt, I guess, and --
MR. LUSTBERG: Ri ght.
THE COURT: -- challenge the federal
go vernment?
MR. LUSTBERG: Ri ght. So let me answer that
i n a co uple o f ways. F i rst, thi s i s i n fact a speci es
o f the State acti o n argument that the State rai sed
befo re Judge F ei nberg o n the mo ti o n to di smi ss and that
was rejected by thi s Co urt and i s therefo re barri ng
...
- so me change i n ci rcumstances o r barri ng i ts- beng""~
clearly erro neo us the Iaw o f the case. And that i s to
say the State argued back then that what we were really
allegi ng i n o ur co mplai nt was that -- yo u kno w, a1.1 .
these hardshi ps that were bei ng vi si ted upo n o ur
cli ents were bei ng do ne by pri vate i ndi vi duals, o r
ho spi tals, o r busi nesses, and so fo rth, and that the
State co uldn't be held respo nsi ble fo r that.
Judge F ei nberg, i n her o pi ni o n whi ch we've
quo ted ~ :o Yo ur Ho no r T thi nk i n bo th o f o ur
submi ssi o ns, made clear that ghat was no t the law, that
the State by creati ng a regi me i n whi ch so me peo ple
co uld be marri ed and o thers co uldn't had and her term
was, created the i nfrastructure fo r just these so rts o f
vi o lati o ns. In essence, that i s thi s argument redux.
Lustberg - Argument
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What we're seei ng no w i s the State sayi ng do n't blame
us. Even tho ugh we co uld let yo u marry and yo u co uld
havE all yo ur benefi ts, i t's the federal go vernment's
fault fo r no t respecti ng o ur determi nati o n that cz.vi l
uni o n co uples sho uld be treated equally to marri age,
leavi ng asi de whether i f they felt so stro ngly that way
why they do n't just change the law o r why they
themselves i nstead o f spendi ng all thi s ti me fi li ng
papers i n o ppo si ti o n to o urs, do n't go to co urt o n
behalf o f i :hea.r ci ti zens who are demandi ng equali ty.
Leavi ng all. o f that asi de, the o ri gi n o f the pro blem
Here resi des clearly wi th the State whi ch has created
thi s separate, and we say unequal and clearly after
Wi ndso r unequal system, where di fferent-sex co uples can
marry and same -sex co uples canno t. That i s the o ri gi n
o f the pro blem.
But beyo nd that, there`s case law and we've
ci ted that case law to the Co urt. It's fo r Yo ur
Ho no r's reference Pages 1a and 19 o f o ur reply. 'tho se
are -- there we ci te pages i n whi ch federal benefi ts
were, i t was alleged, unco nsti tuti o nally wi thheld o n
the basi s o f state law. In that case i t was state law
that had to do wi th legi ti macy and i ntestacy. And what
tho se F ederal Co urts di d i n each o f tho se cases was say
we have --- what we'11 do here i s stri ke do wn the- state
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. law that creates those distinctions. Yes, it's the
f ederal government that's ultimately providing the
benef its, but the -- because it originates with sate
law provisions, it's the si~ate ]. aw that causes the
problem in the f irst place and it's the state law that
we're going to declare unconstitutional.
So not only does it make sense sort of f rom a
causation perspective, this is all caused by the State,
it begins with the State, and it could end with the
State if all they did with a stroke of the pen let
people not Piave, not just the equality t}iat they
proclaim, but the marriage that actually creates that
equality.
THE COURTS But it's somewhat anomalous,
though. 1 mean, I think that the legislature in
attempting to -- or not attempting -- in providing
equal rights and benef its under the state law is now
being challenged, you know, by plaintif f s f or going
beyond what many other states have done. There are no
civil unions or no equivalencies in many, many states
in the country. And in Windsor -- Z mean, the bedrock
of the Windsor decision is f ederalism, recognizing that
it's the state that: is -- has primacy in the area of
domestic relations and in def ining marriage.
I think in -- and even the State cites -- I think
Lustberg - Argument
19
it was Justice Sotomayor in the Hollingsworth argument
-- saying. it's sort of anomalous, isn't it? Because in
Hollingsworth, where the Supreme Court did not reach
the merits, but decided under procedural grounds, they
had domestic partnership which is the same as civil
unions here. So your initial brief , in any event,
didn't talk about f ederalism at all. and the Supreme
Court's acknowledgment that the states have the rights
to choose. So how do you handle i:hat anomaly?
MR. LUSTBERG: Yeah. So the question is how
f ar did Windsor go? And T think we did -- we at least
tried to address this in our initial brie:E but
obviously it was raised more f ront and center as a
result of the State's submission. Here's what --
here`s, in a nutshell I think, Your Honor, and maybe
hopef ully this will assist the Court, where the line
seems to be drawn. We agree with the State
wholeheartedly that the State gets to def ine who can
and who can't marry. 'That is -- that is a -- that is a
matter as to which f ederal agencies can and must def er.
And so in Windsor, what the Supreme Court
says is New York says same-sex couples can marry, we
have to respect that, we the f ederal. government, and
because DOMA does not, it must be invalidated, of
course on equal protection grounds as well. The State
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here says that beyond the question o~ who may and may
not marry, that what Windsor stands for is the
proposition that federal courts also ~- federal courts,
federal agencies, the federal government, also must
defer to the State's determination that some other
category should be deemed equal; that is, that in this
case that because the legislature said we're going to
create civil unions, we're not going to allow same-sex
couples to marry, but we're going to create civil
unions, that because they -- the -- both the court, the
legislature; and then the governor, have~alT"saSd~that
those civil unions are equal to marriages, that
therefore the federal government must treat them as
equal to marriages.
Z wish, we wish, the plaintiffs wish, that
Windsor necessarily wend that far. But, Your Honor,
when you read Windsor, by its very holding, by the last
line o~ the opinion, as we point out, it says -- and
I'm going to quote it to you exactly so we have no
misunderstanding about that. This opinion and its
holding are confined to those lawful marriages. This
was an opinion about marriage. When you read it up one
side and down the other i~ is all about who may and who
may not marry and what the consequences of a state's
allowing those marriages is. 1t does not demand that
Lustberg - Argument
21
federal agencies o~ federal courts long into the future
wi11 ascertain whether some states domestic partnership
law, civil union law, or who knows what they may call
it, are the equal of marriages.
What it says is that marriage is what matters
and it says it in extremely clear language. I mean, it
you read -- and this is, I know, in our opening brief
-- if you read the Windsor opinion it describes
marriage as, quotes, more than a routine classification,
as quote, a far-reaching acknowledgment of the intimate
relationship between two people, as, quote, a
relationship deemed worthy of dignity in the community.
It is a discussion of marriage, and by the Supreme
Court's own terms, t}~a~'s what it was a discussion
about. The fact that New Jersey has chosen to allow
civil unions and therefore it given same-sex couples
more rights than they may have in other jurisdictions
is, respectfully, very much beside the point. That is
a good thing compared to not having that. But the fact
that it's not marr9. age matters a great deal. It
matters a great deal because Windsor says it matters a
great deal and it matters a great deal because that's
what congress and the agencies that have promulgated
regulations pursuant to statutes have said, as well.
Each of the statutes that we cite use the term
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Lustberg - Argument
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marriage. They don't say marriage or its equivalence.
They say marriage. They say spouse in the context of a
marriage, They talk about marriage. And Courts -- and
Your Honor does this every day of the week -- you look
at those statutes and you read those statutes and
you're urged by advocates to apply the plain language
of the statutes.
Courts are going to, respectfully, I would
predict, interpret those statutes according to their
language, the language of marriage and they're going to
deny people their benefits if they're hot married, aril
we know that because Lhose are the canons of statutory
construction end we know that because the -- because
the agencies that have begun to look at i~ do just
exact7. y that. They --
THG COURT: except the Sta~:e -- you know, in
their argument they show how the same argument used by
Justice Kennedy in Windsor applying to marriage
statutes because that's what Edie Windsor. -- she had a
marriage I think from Canada and then New York
recognized it -- but the same arguments apply to civil
unions. 2 mean, that's what -- because it's the
state's prerogative to decide what the domestic
relations laws are for each state. So they say that
the same analysis applies to civil unions and therefore
Lustberg - Argument
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there's no constitutional violation at this point.
MR. LUSTBERG: The mentions of cavil union in
Windsor are passing references and are in the context
of describing the background of the case. There is no
place in the decision in Windsor, and T wish there
were, in which the Court says civil unions -- i:hat the
Windsor opinion applies to civil unions as well as
marriages. Again, the argument that the Stake is
making is that because it in its -- in -- because in
passing the Civil Union Act, that the legislature said
civil unions shall be deemed equal to marriages in all
regards, that therefore the federal agencies have to
defer to that.
But put yourself in the position of the clerk
in the Social Security Office who gets an application
for some sort of -- well, social security is bad
example, which I'll get to in a second -- but let's say
somebody in the Veteran's Administration, and you get
an application for some sort of benefit thai~'s based
upon marriage and a person says, no, you know, I have a
civil union and under New Jersey law it's equal to
marriage. Well, then the next person comes in and
says, you know, I'm from Illinois and I have a civil
union and well. maybe the language is a little
different. I mean, it's not possible. The truth a. s
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Lustberg - argument
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that these statutes -- each and every one of the over a
thousand statutes that are cited by the Supreme Court
in Lewis -- and they're not just statutes and
regulations to be fair -- use the term marriage and use
the term spouse in connection with lawful marriages.
And in order for federal agencies or federal
courts to then say no they apply to czvil unions and we
have to do that because we have to defer to New
Jersey's statement that civil unions are equal ~o
marriage, you know, we're going to interpret them as
marriage~~or equivalentis -- it raises supremacy caused
problems. I t raises statutory construction problems.
And --
THE COURT: Well, federal isn't as messy. I
mean, that doesn't mean that you don't honor the rights
of the sate vis-a-vis the federal government.
MR. LOSTBERG: Absolutely. I absolutely
agree with that. I t's messy and it may require
interpretation. But it's not what's happening. 1
mean, we can come back here in six weeks or eight weeks
or three months and we'll have more examples of more
agencies that are doing what OPM has done, what the
Department of State has done, what the Department of
State has done, what the Department of Defense has now
done, what the Department of Labor has now done.. And
Lustberg - Argument
25
what they're going to do is they're going to say when
congress said marriage .it meant marriage. And one of
the reasons they're going to do that is because of the
Social Security Act, because in the Social Security Act
~t talks about marriage or its equivalent in essence.
Tt says if you're either married or you have the same
status as marriage based upon state intestacy law.
Congress knows how when they want to say
marriage or its equivalent, to say marriage or its
equivalent. 'They know how to do ghat. And -- but they
haven't in these statutes. What they've said is
marriage. And so, respectfully, I think that what will
have happened if we were to go to federal court and ask
for relief, maybe we'll win some, but more than likely
what's going to happen is that Courts are going to say
to us, no, no, no, go to congress. Congress is the one
that said marriage. Go back to your state and get
marriage because our stal-utes are based upon marriage.
And while it's true that therefore the federal agencies
will have to defer to the states on who may marry,
which is what the message of Windsor is and what Your
I lonor is pointing to. I t is 100 percent correct.
The federal government, through its agencies
and courts, must defer to state determinations as to
who may marry. Z'hat is the message -- the federalism
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Lustberg - Argument
26
message of Windsor. Windsor does not, respectfully,
stand for the proposition that federal agencies and
courts must defer to all of state domestic relations
law in that same way and that it has to rewrite its
statutes to say marriage or its equivalence or when --
it knows how to do so and has chosen not to. And the
way we know this for 100 percent sure is that Windsor
says it's limited to marriage.
The question ghat you're asking and the
argument that the Stake makes portends that that
statement is not in the opinion, that i~ applies to
something more than marriage. It doesn't. Tf it did
it would have been a much broader victory for -- it may
nab have mattered to Ms. Windsor, but i.t would be a
broader victory from our perspective, but that's not
what it says. And if that had happened we would be
continuing to engage in discovery here and litigate as
to. whether as a practical mater in day-to-day affairs
civil unions are in fact treated dif.f_erently than
marriages. But today, as a matter of law, we know for
at least four agencies and we can come back here in a
while and they'll be more,. but you don't even need to
have a whole bunch.
Let's say there's just a few and in fact, you
know, let me just say in that regard that the State's
Lustberg - Argument
27
position, in a sense, concedes this issue because what
the Stake's brief says -- and this is a quote -- is
that a size -- quote, a sizeable but indeterminate
number of the thousand benefits and responsibilities
that were inapplicable to civil union couples under
DOMA are now available to civil union partners under
New Jersey law. A sizeable but indeterminate number.
Not all of them, but some o~ them. Maybe most of ~h~m.
Although, developments thus far would seem to indicate
that their sanguine predictions about how many i~ will
be may be off.
But if any of them are not applicable then we
don't have the equality that Lewis v. Harris mandated
because what Lewis v. Harris said in no uncertain
terms, Your Honor, was that under the equal protection
guarantee of Article I, same-sex couples must be
afforded on equal terms the same rights and benefits
enjoyed by married opposite-sex couples. Not some of
it. Nod a portion of it. Nod even a lot of it. They
have ~o be afforded all of it. There has to be
equality. And we now know with certainty that there
won't be, that you can wait because the law is in flux.
Although, most respectfully, there is no case
that stands for the proposition ~ria~ a Court ought not
decide matters ghat are properly presented to it
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Lustberg - Ar.gument
28
because matters are in flux. .Just to recall, back at
the time of Lewis v. Harris the law was very much in
flux in the sense that some states were recognizing
marriage and some states weren't. And the S tate a~ the
time, I would note, was making an argument with regard
to uniformity. Easily a Court could have said, you
know, T'm going to stay out of phis because the law is
in flux. Maybe a uniformity will be achieved this
year, next year, next decade, next century, but it
didn't do that because flux is not a basis to avoid
difficult judicial decision-making. Judicial derision=
making is required when constitutional rights are
violated.
Here, a constitutional promise that was made
to these plaintiffs -- some of whom were plaintiffs in
Lewis v. Harris, as we11 -- was that if they are
treated differently on the basis of the fact that they
have a civil union versus a marriage then they can come
back to Gourt and complain about it. And this is not
just a silly complaint. This is real. This is people
who will be affected day in and day out who have to
worry day in and day out that they won't have the same
rights to a whole host of federal benefits, such an
important host- of. federal benefits that the S upreme
Court said in Windsor that if you have them you are a
Lustberg - Argument
29
first class marriage and it you don't have them you're
a second class marriage.
THE COURT: Well, what about though the
arguments that he -- even Justice Albin I think took
the dissenters in Lewis to task for not letting this
play out in the legislative process? I mean, Windsor
-- you came right in with your motion within a couple
of days or at least made known you wanted to file the
motion within a couple of days of Windsor, so the New
Jersey Legislature has not had the opportunity to look
at Windsor, to see whether that would have effect in
the political process. We don't know what congress is
going to do in the political process. Many judges and
justices on the state and federal level say in a matter
of such far reaching social consequences as same-sex
marriage, it ought to be decided by the political
process, by democratic process rather than by a judge.
MR. LUS TBERG: S o the democratic process here
in New Jersey is pretty well. defined in one regard,
which is as to whether there will or there won't be
marriage. And let me first go back to talk about what
Justice Albin was describing there. What Justice Albin
said first and -- what the Court said, unanimously,
first and foremost, was that it was unlawful and
unconstitutiona]_ to discriminate between same-sex
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Lustberg -Argument
30
couples and different-sex couples. That was the
fundamental essential holding of the first part of
Lewis v. Harris. It -- he then decreed -- the Court
then decreed that a regimen -- a regime had to be set
up whereby those equal rights could be achieved.
It said we will leave to the legislature what
that will be called, whether marriage or something else
like civil union. And sure enough it was left to the
legislature and the legislature chose civil union. As
the Court is well aware that decision has been
questioned. There has been legislation and there have
been vetoes. It is still within the democratic process
and for all you or 7 0~ anybody else knows it may be in
the democratic process for years to come.
Today, we know as a result of Windsor that
the rights and benefits, the federal rights and
benefits, are being distributed unequally. We can read
the statutes and it doesn't take any amount of crystal
ball. gazing to be at least concerned that those rights
and benefits will continue to be distributed unequally
based upon civil union versus marriage, and there's no
reason to wait far the democratic process which may
take who .knows how long to play out in this regard.
Bud in a way you don't have to because we already see
it playing out. We already see the federal agencies
Lustberg - Argument
31
which promulgate regulations taking action. We have no
reason to believe that congress will override that
action and wailing means waiting indefinitely. All the
while my clients and other same-sex couples are denied
the incredibly important rights that we've been
discussing here today.
The -- your point about the democratic
process taking hold is of course an important one. And
T. would be -- I would not be candid with the Court if I
didn't say T wish that the democratic process would do
what's right. But there are times in our ha.story when
the democratic process doesn't do what's right and then
Courts are called upon to measure what the democratic
process has done against the constitutional rights that
are so fundamental and sacrosanct to us all. This is
one of thosa times. And because this is one of those
times this Court does not have -- there's no doctrine
under which this Court can Latch onto and say I'm just
going to wait. flow long would you -- would you wait?
Would you wait 'tit I come in a few months from now
with 12 more rights? Would you have to wait until we
play out questions that really are not relevant to this
question about whether our clients would get their
federal rights?
And by the way, you asked about could the --
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Lus~ berg - Argumen t
32.
what -- you kn ow, why shouldn 't we wai t an d see what
the New Jersey Legi slature does? Well, you kn ow,
there's n othi n g that the New Jersey Legi slature can do
to say -- they couldn 't pass a statute that says we
gi ve ci vi l un i on s -- but we -- but the -- but you
federal agen ci es, you have to gi ve federal ri ghts based
upon our gi vi n g ci vi l un i on s. Thai would clearly
vi olate the supremacy clause. There's n o way ghat the
state legi slature can decree what the federal -- what
federa]_ agen ci es can do. That we kn ow for sure.
So part of the democrati c -- quote,
democrati c respon se to thi s i s n ot even con cei vable,
but the part ghat i s -- but the part that i s -- ghat
you -- on e worri es about, i s the fact that after all
phi s ti me an d un derstan di n g the di fferen ces between
ci vi l un i on an d marri age, the State adheres to the
posi ti on that i t doesn 't make an y di fferen ce. That i s
a very, very di ffi cult posi ti on to take. The State
argues i n thi s -- i n these papers -- an d a really
extraordi n ary argumen t an d when on e -- you kn ow, wi th
whi ch on e mi ght agree from a poli cy perspecti ve that
ci vi l un i on i s just a label, that i t's n ot somethi n g
that the federal -- the federal agen ci es should look
beyon d that label. But that i s a label that the State
-has fought very hard for man y years at thi s poi n t --
Lustberg - Argumen t
33
I'm sorry, the State here i n New Jersey has fought very
hard for man y years n ow to mai n tai n . So for the State
to at on ce say, you kn ow, we're goi n g to fi ght you i n
court so that you keep the label of ci vi l un i on an d
di fferen t-sex couples can marry, even -- an d then say
but i t's just a label, feels a li ttle i ron i c or -- an d
wi thout n ame calli n g -- perhaps a li ttle di si n gen uous.
I mean , the State has the power to make i t somethi n g --
to evi scerate an y questi on of labels an d just let
people marry, an d that's what ought to happen as a
matter of con sti tuti on al law.
THE COURT: Do you wan t ~ o get i n to an y of
the federal i ssues? We've been speaki n g mostly about
Lewi s an d n ot i n to federal con sti tuti on al --
MR. LUSTBERG: Sure.
THE COURT: -- i ssues. I mean , the Lewi s
case i tself -- I mean , does the Lewi s case i tself have
an y beari n g on the federal con sti tuti on al i ssue you
rai se?
MR. LUSTBERG: On ly tan gen ti ally an d i t's
thi s tan gen t. Our federal clai m, i n a n utshell, i s the
followi n g. In our complai n t an d i n thi s li ti gati on we
have mai n tai n ed that the questi on of whether you can
di scri mi n ate between same-sex couples on the on e han d
an d di fferen t sex-couples n n the other i n terms of
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Lustberg - Argument
34
allowing marriage to the latter but not the former, is
something that should be subject to some form of
heightened scrutiny.
For purposes of this motion we don't press
that heightened scrutiny claim and we don't because
whether heightened scrutiny applies is something that
has been and is ongoing as part of the discovery
pr~c~ss in this case. So we concede for purposes of
this motion only that a rational basis test applies.
Here -- and again this is for purposes of
federal equal protection because 'in New Jersey, of
course, we don't have those tiers of scrutiny, as Your
Honor is away. And our argument is that it can't
possibly be rational to have the Supreme Court and the
legislature and the governor proclaiming in official
pronouncements, the Supreme Court's in Lewis, the
legislatures in the Civil Union Act, and the governor's
in his veto message, that civil unions are equal to
marriage and then keep in place a regime that so
clearly denies certain federal benefits to people based
upon that very classification. That is our argument
that that can't possibly be rational, nar can it
possibly be rational for the State to claa. m that the
difference between cavil union and marriage is just a
mater of labels. It doesn't mean anything. But at
Lustberg - Argument
35
the same time, keep in place a system, an architecture,
an infrastructure, as Judge Feinberg called it, that in
and of itself lays the groundwork Lor the kind of
discrimination that is at issue here, which is the
denial of a whole range of federal benefits.
When one engages in equal protection
jurisprudence under federal law, you measure the fit
between the state interest and the policy at issue.
The state interest here, as it's been expressed by all
three branches of government, is inequality. The
policy is one that Fosters inequality. How,
respectfully, can that possibly be rational? And that
is our L-ederal equal protection claim. It was a claim
that Judge Feinberg initially dismissed and then
reinstated. It's a very important claim, but it is
also a claim ghat this Court can avoid addressing if it
decides this matter on state equal protection grounds,
And, most respectfully, it is our view that
the state equal protection argument is so clear because
in a post Lewis world inhere must be equality in the
rights and benefits that flow to same-sex couples and
different-sex couples. And we know after Windsor, we
know atL-er the decisions of the agencies that are
coming down, we know as a matter o~ the way statutes
are interpreted and construed, we know as a result of
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Lustberg - Argument
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Windsor's limitation to marriage, that not allowing New
Jersey same-sex couples to marry will have those
devastating consequences.
Let me conclude with'-- and o~ course if Your
!lonor has further questions?
THE COURT: No.
MR. LUSTBERG: Okay. As I was driving down
to court phis morning I was listening an the radio and
heard a mention of the tact that in a little less --
actually, in two weeks from yesterday will be the
fiftieth anniversary of what I think is the greatest
thing ever written in the English language, which is
the Martin Luther King I have a dream speech. Tn that
speech Martin Luther King said that it is -- it was his
dream that it would be the content of one's character
and not the color of their skin that would be
determined how they're treated in society.
Four years later ~~he Supreme Court began to
make that dream a reality anal it is not a reality
today. Today, many years later, we sti11 fight racism.
But four years later the Supreme Court jumped into that
in -- specifically in a marriage context. And in
Lavinia v. Virginia said -- it really consigned to the
dustbin of history the notion that interracial couples
-- interracial couples could not marry.
Lustberg/Jesperson - Argument
37
Well, today, all these people here, we have a
dream, too, and ghat dream is that the content of their
character, and not their sexual orientation, w~ii
determine the way they're treated in our society. Like
in the ease of race, nothing that phis Court can do
today will create equality fo.r all purposes. The
matter will be a battle and war perhaps that wi11 go on
for generations to come. But. like race -- like in the
case of race, marriage is an important- part of it.
It's an important part of it that this Court is
considering today, especially given all of the right
and benefits that flows from it.
Today, this Court can take a significant step
towards realizing the dream of "the plaintiffs in this
case, not only because it's really the right thing to
do but because it's the law. Most respectfully, the
plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment should be
granted. Thank you.
THE COURT: Okay. Thank you, Mr, Lustberg.
We'11 turn to Mr. Jesperson on behalf of the State of
New Jersey.
MR. JESPERSON: Good morning, Your Honor.
THE COURT: Goad morning.
MR. JESPERSON: And may it please the Court.
There is substan~i.vely no legal difference between a
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Lustberg/Jesperson - Argument
3E 3
ci vi l uni on and a ci vi l marri age under New Jersey
statutes. New Jersey statutes have made i t perfectl y
cl ear that al l of the l egal benefi ts and obl i gati ons of
marri age are extended ~o ci vi l uni on coupl es,
And for New Jersey l aw purposes, a ci vi l
uni on partner i s the absol ute equi val ent of a spouse i n
a marri age, that's exactl y the l anguage of the statute,
the ci vi l uni on statute i n New Jersey . The onl y
di sti ncti on, the onl y l egal di sti ncti on between
marri age and ci vi l uni ons i n New Jersey i s a
desi gnati on i . n~name.
The pl ai nti ffs are argui ng today that thi s
di fference i n name al one consti tutes a vi ol ati on of
equal protecti on and permi ts thi s Court to i mpose upon
the State of New Jersey a parti cul ar remedy . Z note
ghat the pl ai nti ffs' argument i s consi derabl y narrow.
What the argument i s, i s because the federal government
wi 11 not extend federal benefi ts to New Jersey cYvi l
uni on coupl es, the pl ai nti ffs of thi s case are enti tl ed
to a remedy agai nst the State.
There are tour reasons T'd l i ke ~o tal k about
today why that anal y si s i s wrong. F i rst, the Stake
bel i eves that the readi ng of Wi ndsor that the
pl ai nti ffs rel y upon i s mi spl aced. If GVi ndsor stands
for any thi ng, i t stands for the proposi ti on that the
Lustberg/Jesperson - Argument
39
federal government ordi nari l y shoul d defer to the
states when try i ng to defi ne the constructi on or
understand the constructi on of domesti c rel a~i onshi ps. ~
THE COURT: But, ho. w can y ou get away from
the fact that Justi ce Kennedy sai d the -- thi s opi ni on
and i ts hol di ng are confi ned to those l awful marri ages.
And at the same ti me they were -- the Supreme Court was
say i ng that they had Ho. 11i nets_worth v. Perr. ~ where they
had -- ri ght i n front of them, argued the same ti me
deci si ons came out cl ose together. domesti c partnershi ps
that offered the same thi ngs ci vi l uni ons do i n New
Jersey , as far as S coul d tei i . And so, thi s had ~o be
del i berate, a del i berate choi ce of words knowi ng that .
there were al ternati ve l abel s i n other states. So, how
can I -- how can we i gnore thi s? The federal
government doesn't seem to be i gnori ng i t.
MR. JE SPE RSE N~: Wel ]. , ri o, Z don't thi nk y ou
can -- I'm not suggesti ng that y ou i gnore i t, but Z
thi nk we have to understand what ghat fi nal sentence
and deci si on meant. And one enl i ghtena. ng pl ace to l ook
i s the di ssent from the Chi ef Justi ce where the Chi ef
Justi ce sai d, what the Court real l y meant to say i s --
and what Wi ndsor stands for i s that where the states
have created an equal i ty , the federal government cannot
create an i nequal i ty . Where the State has deci ded to
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40
treat two classes of citizens the same, the federal
government cannot use its power to treat them
differently.
However, we wiii not -- this Court wi11 not
decide in this case whether or not a state has an
obligation to treat any sets of classes of citizens the
same; that is, where the state has extendEd equal
benefits ~o same-sex couples, the federal government
has to honor that decision from the sates, but we are
not compelling the states to extend equal benefits to
same sex couples. ~ ~~~ - ~~
That part of the decision and that sentence
is irrelevant here because the State of New Jersey has
decided to extend the same benefits, the same
protections and the same obligations to same sex
couples through the institution of civil marriage, as
it extends to different sex couples through the
institution of marriage. I think that's what the Court
was talking about.
Now, you -- there's some other factors to
bear in mind, the Court had before it Per. ~v and may
have addressed this issue, but it didn't, so we don't
know what the Supreme Court would have done on that.
And the tact thai~ the Supreme Court did nod decide to
deal with Perrv, provides us with no guidance, we have
Lustberg/Jesperson - Argument
41
to look at the Windsor decision to find guidance in
this area from the federal court.
And again, S think the two fundamental
premisses of Windsor are one, ordinarily the federal
government ought to look to the states when trying to
determine what a particular domestic relationship is,
principle one. Principle two is the federal government
can't use its power -- should not use its power to
create an inequality where the states have created an
equality.
THE COURT: But, the -- 1 think even in your
own brief you may have acknowledged the Office of
Personnel Management saying that they will acknowledge
marriages in states; but nab. civil unions. And so, you
suggest I think, in the brief that plaintiffs go sue
the federal government. But, one of the things --
going back to Lewis -- one of the reasons that the New
Jersey Supreme Court found that the Domestic
Partnership Act there was -- violated New Jersey Equal
Protection, was precisely because litigation expenses
had been incurred by plaintiffs to cross --- you know,
to adopt all different kinds of things to try to fill
in the inequality gap between the former -- well, I
guess it's still in effect in New Jersey -- but the
Domestic Partnership Act and an equal arrangement.
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So, doesn't the burden on them, on the
plai nti ffs here for li ti gati on casts, i sn't that part
of -- ki nd of an i nequali ty that Justi ce Albi n hi mself,
you know, i denti fi ed as somethi ng that led them to the
Lewi s deci si on and shouldn't I look at that here, even
when the State i tself i s acknowledgi ng i t could be
si gni fi cant li ti gati on expense?
MR. JESPGRSEN: I t could be si gni fi cant
li ti gati on expense, but I thi nk there i s a more
fundamental questi on that the Court has ~ o address; and
that rs, does the Court have the~ power~ to~ ~ :mpose upon
the State a remedy under the State Consti tuti on for
somethi ng that ari ses from federal conduct, and we ---
the answer to that T beli eve i s no.
Because the federal government -- I mean, the
argument -- or I beli eve the questi on presupposes that
the federal government can correctly deny benefi ts to
New Jersey ci vi l uni on partners. We vi gorously di spute
that posi ti on, we thank that goes agai nst the very
essence of Wi ndsor. But, let's accept, for purposes of
argument, that the federal government can correctly
deny those benefi ts. Well. i f that's true, Chen denyi ng
benefi ~ :s to New Jersey cavi l uni on couples must be i n
compli ance wi th federal law, that's the premi ss of the
argument.
Lustberg/Jesperson - Argument
93
And so therefore, federal consti tuti onal 1. aw
can't provi de any remedy, you have to Look st. ri ctJ. y to
the State Consti tuti on. But, the State Consti tuti on
can't afford a remedy for some consequence of federal,
conduct. We've ci ted the search and sei zure cases i n
or bri ef that talk about that very fundamental
doctri ne.
I n those cases,, for example, federal
offi ci als i n compla. ance wi th federal law, sei zed
evi dence that was ulti mately used by the State i n a
stake court proceedi ng even though acqui ri ng that
evi dence the way the federal agents di d would have
vi olated New Jersey Consti tuti onal law. New Jexsey
courts, consi stent wi th the we11-establi shed doctri ne,
have sai d New Jersey Consti tuti on doesn't provi de a
remedy i n that ci rcumstance because ghat i s a federal
actor, the source of thi s conduct i s -- or the source
of thi s di lemma i s the acta. ons of a federal actor
acti ng under federal law and New Jersey's Consti tuti on
doesn't govern that -- doesn't provi de a remedy for
that, not even agai nst the S~ ate. -
THE COURT: But, here you have the 1abe1 ~ ---
whi ch you say i s just a label, under the ci vi l uni on
statute and that i n and of i tself i s State acti on. And
I mean, Judge Fei nberg -- I mean, what do you feel
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Lustbe rg/Je spe rson - Argume nt
~ 4
about Stake action law -- the case argume nt that M r. .
Ltistbe rg made ?
M R. J~ SPERSEN: We 11. , Z think it'S a
diffe re nt, -- I do not be lie ve that law of the case
applie s to 'the particular issue that this Court is
addre ssing. The particular issue this addre sse d again,
is whe the r a Ne w Je rse y court e mploying i:he Ne w Je z~ se y
Constitution can impose a re me dy against Ne w Je rse y
be cause the fe de ral gove rnme nt has de nie d fe de ral
be ne fits. That issue has not be e n be fore this Court or
be fore Judge Fe inbe rg, and obviously it couldn't be ~
be cause Windsor was de cide d on June 26th.
This is a -- i~ is not an issue of the
infrastructure of discrimination, it is a comple te ly
diffe re nt analysis, a comple te ly diffe re nt issue . It's
an issue of the prope r e xte nt of judicial powe r to de al
with conduct of the fe de ral age ncy. That issue was not
raise d be fore in phis case , at le ast not as far as I
know. I know that the re we re alle gations in the
complaint, but the particular issue was not raise d
be cause we did nat have Windsor.
Okay. The ripe ne ss -- so, I want to
e mphasize to the Court that Z think that if we look at
the fundame ntal pre miss of Windsor it is the fe de ral
gove rnme nt can't inje ct ine quality whe re the State has
Lustbe rg/Je spe rson - Argume nt
95
de cide d to te at two type s of e a. tiz~ ns as e qual. And
it's inte re sting to note ghat the plaintiffs cite the
social se curity inte state case s, but the y re ally spe ak
to some thing e lse and ta1. k about some thing e lse .
7 n those case s, the -- a fe de ral court, in
applying fe de ral be ne fits, looke d at state law and
de cide d that state law tre ate d two classe s of citize ns
une qually and, the re fore , the fe de ral courts would
disre gard i~ he Stake 's une qual t. ~ e atme nt. In that case
-- in those case s, it de alt with childre n wha we re born
within a marriage and those who we re born outside of a
marriage and the courts, for inte state purpose s,
tre ate d those two classe s of citize ns diffe re ntly.
He re , we have some thing comple te ly diffe re nt.
The State tre ats both classe s of citize ns e qually, that
is unde r our law. Again, civil union partne rs have all
the same be ne fits, obligations and prote ctions as
marrie d couple s,. but the fe de ral gove rnme nt is ign. orinq
that, so it's the e xact opposite of the case that we
have he re .
The re is a ripe ne ss issue in this case and
it's an a. mportant ripe ne ss issue be cause we do not
know, ultimate ly, how this wi11 be de cide d by the
fe de ral gove rnme nt. It. is true that the re are Le de ral
age ncie s who are de nying be ne fits, but we don't know
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Lustberg/Jesperson - Argument
~6
which particular benefits will be at issue in this
case. The plaintiffs say that they can produce other
parties ghat will claim that they've been denied
benefits, that may be true, but it has not happened.
The Court does not have the factual context.
in which those benefits were denied. And more
impori:antly, we do not know, as we stand here today,
whether the federal. government's decision to ignore New
Jersey's domestic -- l. aw on domestic- relationships will
withstand scrutiny. There is also --
THG COURT: Bud. ; you have ttie plaintiff
saying why must they wait when there's currently
unequal treatment and the New Jersey Supreme Court,
under Lewis, said we want you 'Created the same way.
MR. JESPERSEN: Well, I think that goes
again, Your Honor, into the issue of does the Court --
does this Court have the power to invoke a remedy.
Just because there is a remedy for a wrong, doesn't
mean the Caurt has the power to impose that remedy upon
the State. We're dealing here not with an
interpretation -- or the plaintiffs are invoking this
Court s constitutional power to impose a remedy upon a
co-equal branch of government.
This is not a ease where we're dealing with
statutory -- where the Court's decision is based on
Lustberg/Jesperson -- Argument
97
statutory interpretation or the common law. So,
because they are ittvo-king the Court's constitutional
powers, the fundamental question that the Court has to
answer is, is there a remedy under the State
Constitution for this par~icul. ar disadvantage that the
plaintiffs are complaining of and there isn't. Again,
the Court can't look to the Stake Constitution to
impose upon the State a remedy ~o addre_ ss conduct of a
federal actor aci:inq under federal ] . aw:
THE COURT: One of the things, in terms oL
the language used in the Windsor decision, you know,
you've argued in your brief, as Mr. Lustberg pointed
out, that the choice of civil union versus marriage was
a label with no independent significance. But, we have
Justice Kennedy observing in Windsor that marriage is
more than a routine classification for purposes of
certain statutory benef- its that ret'lects both the
community's considered perspective on the historical
roots oL' the institui:ion of marriage and its evolving
understanding of the meaning of equality.
And the opinion also acknowledges the
substantial societal impact of the State's
classifications in the area of domestic relations. So,
how do you square your argument that it's just a 1abe1
with what the Unified States Supreme Court has held?
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48
MR. J ESPERSEN: We11, Y thi nk, Yo ur Ho no r,
that they're -- the pl ai nti ffs are cl ai mi ng a number o f
wro ngs and we're o nl y deal i ng wi th a l egal anal ysi s
hers. What J usti ce Kennedy was tal ki ng abo ut there o r
-- refl ects an argument that the pl ai nti ffs have made
here, and they sai d, because we can't use the term
marri age, there are certai n so ci al , ci vi c and psychi c
co nsequences o f that, that's i n thei r co mpl ai nt.
That i s no t the subject o f thi s mo ti o n fo r
summary judgment. What the subject o ~ thi s mo ti o n fo r
summary judgment i s a £ar narro wer i ssue;~and that i s,
whether o r no t New J ersey's l aw that says, what i s the
l egal si gni fi cance upo n ano ther go vernment i n th:e
federal system o f New J ersey's do mesti c l aw t. ha~ says
ci vi l uni o ns are the l egal equi val ent o f ci vi l
marri ages, i t's a far narro wer i ssue.
So , Y thi nk what J usti ce Kennedy was
o bvi o usl y expo undi ng and taki ng a very bro ad vi ew o f
the si gni fi cance o f marri age, but that bro ad vi ew and
the bro ad co nsequences o f marri age, al tho ugh they're a
subject o f thi s case and al tho ugh the State i ntends to
co ntest tho se arguments o f so ci al , ci vi c and psychi c
damage, that's no t part o f thi s mo ti o n. Thi s mo ti o n's
narro wl y fo cused o n whether o r no t the federal
go vernment can appro pri atel y i gno re the State's
Lustberq/J esperso n - Argument
49
deci si o n to treat ci vi l uni o ns as the l egal . equi val ents
o f ci vi l marri ages.
And i f the Federal go vernment can do that,
despi te Wi ndso r, whether o r no t thi s Co urt has the
po wer under the State Co nsti tuti o n -- because i t they
-- i f the federal go vernment can do that, then i t's
appro pri ate under federal l aw, federal l aw pro vi des no
remedy ~o anyo ne. Yo u can o nl y l o o k to the State
Co nsti tuti o n to pro vi de remedy. And the State
Co nsti tuti o n canno t pro vi de thi s Co urt wi th the po wer
to i nd:i . rectl y co ntro l the co nduct o f a federal acto r
under• federal l aw by i mpo si ng a remedy upo n the State.
I f the Co urt were to determi ne that the
federal co urt o r the federal go vernment co ul d deny
benefi ts appro pri atel y, I thi nk that fl i es i n the face
o f the underl yi ng l o gi c o f Wi ndso r. No w, the
pl ai nti ffs have sai d, we11, why do esn't the State, i n
i ts parens patri ae po wers, bri ng an acti o n agai nst the
federal go vernment. We11, we can't, the very case that
we ci ted says i n a fo o tno te very cl earl y that the
parens patri ae juri sdi cti o n o f the State do es no t
permi t a state to bri ng an acti o n agai nst the federal .
go vernment o n behal f o f i ts ci ti zens, so the Stake
can't do that.
Al tho ugh, i t i s so mewhat perpl exi ng that the
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pla intiffs in this ca se so willingly concede tha t the
federa l government, despite the underlying logic a nd
doctrine of Windsor, ca n ignore New Jersey la w tha t so
clea rly sa ys tha t civil union pa rtners a nd spouses a re
lega l equiva lents.
THE COURT: We11, you represent the sta te
government a nd the government is a lwa ys looking for
uniformity a nd ea se of a dministra tion. I mea n, tha t
wa s one of the a rguments to justify DOMA tha t's
referenced in the va rious dissents. So, when the
la ngua ge in the opinion explicitly limits it to la wful
civil ma rria ges, it is certa inly a pra ctica l response
by a gencies to sa y this is -- the decision -- the
Windsor decision a llows the current terminology in a ll
the federa l -- thousa nd plus federa l sta tues to rema in
a nd to a pply to sta tes tha t ha ve tha t terminology.
So, it seemed a s if you'r. e a sking the federa l.
government to do something tha t would be very
complica ted, look a t every sta te to see wha t the
definition of ma rria ge is or is there a nother term a nd
I -- you know, I don't know tha t we ca n expect them to
do tha t. It certa inly -- the couple of a gencies tha t
ha ve sent out their interpreta tions of Windsor -- some
of them in a ny event, ha ve limited its a pplica tion ~o
la wful ma rria ges.
Lustberg/Jesperson - Argument
57.
MR. JESPERS~N: Well, I believe, Your Honor,
tha t the federa l government very often looks to sta te
la w too determine the a pplica bility of federa l la w. I
mea n, one of the prime exa mples is under the Socia l
Security Administra tion, the Socia l Secura . ty looks to
the sta te inherita nce la ws to ma ke certa in
determina tions, so tha t is done by the federa l
government a ll the time.
And just beca use it ma y be diff9. cult to get
something right in a pa rticula r ca se, doesn't mea n tha t
to expect a r require the government to do tha t is
wrong. But, a ga in, there's a nother issue tha t ha s to
be a ddressed a nd tha t is does the Court ha ve the power
under the Constitution to require the sta te to ta ke
some a ction i:ha t will remedy conduct by a federa l a ctor
a pplying federa l la w a nd the a nswer to tha t is no. It
ma y be -- ma ke pra ctica l sense, it ma y ma ke good policy
sense, but those a re not the questions before the
Court. The Court is whether or not constitutiona lly
the Court ca n impose tha t remedy.
THE COURT: Is there a ny other ca se la w you'd
point me to besides the -- I think the -- wha t is it,
the crimina l investiga tory --~
MR. JESPERSEN: Sea rch a nd seizure ca ses.
THE COURT: -- yes, the sea rch a nd seizure --
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Lus tberq/Jes pers on - Argument
52
MR. JESPERSEN: Thos e are Lhe only ones that
we could fi nd, Your Honor, but they're bas ed on pretty
well-es tabli s hed pri nci ples and there are a number of
cas es that talk about the avai labi li ty of a s tate
remedy for s ome cons equence of a Federal actor's
conduct under federal law.
THE COURT: -- but, there's -- they come up
i n s uch a di ~Eerent context and part of what s tri kes me
here i s that we`re wri ti ng on a clean s late and s ome of
thes e exi s ti ng precedents don't help much. But, 1 know
that the New Jers ey Supreme Court wanted there to~be
equal treatment - and they di dn`t -- they s ai d that,
equal treatment, and now under -- ypu know, thes e --
wi th thes e Offi ce of Pers onnel Management, I know Lhat
the -- that s ame-s ex couples are not bei ng treated --
New Jers ey s ame-s ex couples are not bei ng treated
equally. So, wouldn't you anti ci pate the Supreme Court
would try -- you know, would s ay that Lewi s would apply
to requi re the equal treatment now i n li ght of what's
happened, i n the li ght of the Wi nds or deci s i on?,
MEt. JESPERSEN: T thi nk the Supreme Court
wi ll follow pretty well-es tabli s hed doctri ne that the
New Jers ey Cons ti tuti on can't afford a remedy for the
cons equences of the conduct of a fede. ra]. actor acti ng
under federal law. Now, I ---
Lus tberg/Jes pers on - Argument
53
THE COURT: Except we have the label. I
mean, i t's really -- i t's that they d~. rected i t at -- I
mean, I thi nk Jus ti ce Alvi n s ai d you can -- we -- at
thi s poi nt, back when ewi was deci ded, we s ee that
you. have two opti ons . Although, I don't thi nk he
pres umed that a ci vi l uni on opti on would be.
cons ti tuti onal, I thi nk he -- you know, but he --
MR. JESPERSEN: -- well --
THE COURT: -- you know, the -- certai nly the
s trong s ugges ti on was you can do ei thex/or and we'll
s ee what happens . But, there was a very s trong opi ri a. on
on how i mpo~i :ant equali ty was . And s o, i n thi s area
you know, of domes ti c relati ons and not s earch and
s ei zure, I don't know that i t would be s uch a -- you
know, s o unthi nkable that the New Jers ey Supreme Court
would extend s tate cons ti tuti onal guarantees to protect
New Jers ey ci ti zens from di s advantages i mpos ed upon
them by another government.
MR. JESPERSEN: Your Honor, I thi nk what
Jus ti ce Albi n s ays , and i t would be cons i s tent agai n
wi th longs tandi ng doctri ne, i s that the Court s hould
not pres ume that any legi s lati on i s uncons ti tuti onal,
that the burden falls upon the plai nti ff to es tabli s h,
very clearly, that a parti cular s tatute vi olates the
Cons ti tuti on and - that i t i s appropri ate for the Court
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to empl oy a constitutional zemedy.
That's what Judge Al bin said, he didn't
presume -- rather he said that one of the options that
was open to the State was to create a paral l el
institution that gave al l the same benefits and
obl igations but under a different name. But, in that
same decision he cited and quoted l ong establ ished l aw
that says, the Court shoul d not presume that
l egisl ation i. s unconstitutional , but it fa1Zs upon the
person who chal l enges the statute to demonstrate that
it is unconstitutional and more tY i~ an ghat, - that "~ here~
is a remedy, an appropriate remedy, that the Court can
invoke.
Here again, New Jexsey, as a matter of l aw,
l egal l y says, civil union coupl es have al l of the
benefits and al l of the obl igations of partners in a
mar. ra. age, that: wherever you use the term marriage, or
husband, or wife, or spouse for purposes of New Jersey
l aw, that is the same as a civil union partner, that's
cl ear under the l aw.
The fact that the federal government has
chosen i:o ignore that even though Windsor -- and create
an inequal ity now between these two cl asses of New
Jersey citizens even though Windsor says that that's
inappropriate for the federal government to do, does
Lustberg/Jesperson. - Argument
55
not suggest that the New Jersey statute i, s
unconstitutional or defective, it suggests that there
is something amiss in the conduct of ~ h~ federa. l
government.
THE COURT: Zn terms of the -- you know, the
procedural issues, one of the things I was asking Mr.
Lustberg is real l y are there dangers in a Court
deciding a case -- this is real l y a fa. eial chal l enge at
this stage with this motion. And ar_e there -- what are
i:he particul ar dangers from the Skate's point of view
of this Court deciding a facial chal l enge without
further tactual devel opment eii:her as to what federal
agencies are doing ar the discovery process that you're
al l in the midst of?
MR. JESPERSEN: I t's hard to predict what is
important and what's not impori:an. t in a factual
scenario when you don't have that factual scenario. So
al though Z do not imagine that this may happen, there
may be a pl aintiff who comes forward and. sa. ys, I 've
been denied federal benefits because I 'm a civil union
partner and to and behol d, we discover it through
discovery that that was not the basis for the dena. al .
The other danger that the Court has -- and
ii:'s real l y a ripeness sort of issue, of making this
decision now is that the federal government or the
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Lustberg/Jesperso n - Argument
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t~edera l system ha e no d fully develo ped a La w o n this
yet. We do n't kno w where the federa l go vernment
ultima tely wi11 sta nd, we kno w where they -- pa rticula r
bra nches o f the federa l go vernment sta nd with
pa rticula r benefits, but the decisio n in Windso r is
less tha n a mo nth o ld a t this po int a nd we ha ve no t ha d
a develo pment o f 'the la w o r the -- we ha ve no t ha d a
full develo pment o f --
THE COURT: I think it's less tha n two
mo nths.
MR. JESPGRSEN: -- wha t wa s tha t?
'PE-1~ COURT: I think it's less tha n two
mo nths.
MR. JESPERSEN: Less tha n two mo nths, T'm
so rry.
THE COURT: I think it wa s June 26th.
MR. J~SPERS~N: June 26th, less tha n two
mo nths. And a ltho ugh, there a re certa in edicts tha t
were co ming o ut fro m the federa l go vernment, we do n't
ha ve much guida nce a s to whe. ~her o r no t they`re
co rrect.
THE COURT: They ma de it effective I think
the twenty -- in so me time in July.
MR. JESPERSEN: Right.
THE COURT: So , tha t's the --- less tha n o ne
T~ustberg/J'esperso n - Argument
57
mo nth since it beca me effective.
MR. JESPERSEN: Right. So , T think tha t
tha t's the da nger when we a re dea ling with a new
decisio n, we're dea ling with o ver 1,000 different
federa l benefits, we do n't ha ve a fa ctua l co ntext, wc,
do n't ha ve a ny a utho rita tive interpreta tio n o f whether
a r no t wha t the federa l go vernment is do ing is co rrect:
o r inco rrect a r is co nsistent with Windso r o r
inco nsistent with Windso r. We wo uld be stepping into a
very fa st-flo wing strea m where the fo o ting is very
uncerta in.
But, I think o ne o f the certa inties tho ugh --
a nd a ga in, T co me ha ck to this, tha t the Co urt. sho uJ. d
fo cus o n -- is tha t a ga in, i£ the federa l go vernment
ca n deny tho se benefits -- a nd a ga in, we do n't tha nk
tha t they ca n under Windso r -- but if they ca n, tha t
mea ns tha t the federa l go vernment is co mpo rting with
federa l la w, therefo re there ca n be no federa l cla im
a ga inst New Jersey's la w.
The o nly so urce o f a remedy ca n b~ the New
Jersey Co nstitutio n, but a ga in, the New Jersey
Co nstitutio n ca n't crea te a co nsta . tutio na l remedy fo r
co nsequences o f the co nduct o f a federa l a cto r under --
a cting under federa l la w.
Na w, yo u're co rrect, YQll~' Ho no r, the ca ses
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Lustberq/Jesperson - Argument
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that we've cited, they are criminal law cases, they
deal with search and seizure, but they articulate basic
doctrines in the federal system.
A basic doctrine that a State Constitution
can only govern -- and can only govern the conduct of
State officials, it cannot reach to the conduct of
federal officials and, therefore, it cannot form a
basis to remedy the consequences of the acts of a
federal actor.
THE COURT: Now, in the -- that Hollingsworth
and Perrv, the district court, the US~ District Court
re:Lied upon federal equal protection and due process
rights to strike down the California domestic
partnership statute and to say that marriage was
necessary. So, the -- that's one of the cases where --
that apply federal law. So, in terms of the federal
right here, should 1 not look to that as a analogy? I
mean, you're suggesting T shouldn't even -- I shouldn't
get into the federal equal. protection analysis.
MR. JESPERSEN: No, because again, it's a
federal actor that you're dealing with here. So,
you've got to xeach a conclusion -- if the federal
government treats state -- if the federal government
treats civil union partners and civil marriage partners
dif. Lerently, that raises the question, well, is that --
Lustberg/J"esperson - Argument
59
does that comport: with federal equal protection. If
the answer is no, then it's the federal government
that's violated their equal protection rights, if the
answer is yes, then surely there's no federal remedy
against the State.
THE COURT: And you'd -- maybe you'd say that
Hollingsworth and Perrv. is essentially the parallel to
what's been going on in terms- of the discovery process,
they had a full-blown trial there. :
MR. JESPERSEN: Right.
THE COURT: And so, the -- even though they
decided the federal constitutional claims, it was based
upon the clear. state action. .
MR. JESPERSEN: Right. And T think that that
case also dealt with all of the other elements that are
in this case that are subject to discovery. And again,
from my -- and it's my own peculiar analysis, there are:
really dour sort of types of claims, one is the legal
claim Lhat they've raised here -- and I'm using legal
in a sort. of colloquial sense, social, civic and
psychic.
They're saying, because we can't be married
we suffer certain legal consequences -- in this case
and on this motion and this motion's limited to that.
There are certain social consequences to that, there
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Lustberg/Jesperson - Argument
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are certain civic consequences to that and there's
certain psychic consequences to that. Social, civic
and psychic, those are all parts of the underlying case
in Perry that, of course, are the subject of a trial_ .
Those issues are in this case, but they're not in this
motion for summary judgment.
So, Your Honor, I think that there are four
fundamental reasons why the Court should not grant
summary judgment in this case. One is we think that
the federal government, to the extent that it denies
benefits, would be violating"the fundamental premsses
of the Windsor case. The federal government would be
treating as unequal classes o£ citiz ens that the State
of New Jersey has decided should be treated equally . in
terms of legal benefits and protections.
Secondly, it's not ripe yet, we don't know
what the state of federal law will be as we sand here.
We do know that certain federal actors have made'
decisions, but we do not know the validity of those
decisions or how long those decisions wi] . 1 stand.
Third is that there is no appropriate remedy
oz r. at. her third is that the -- it is the federal
government z f -- that would be engaging in misconduct
here or it is the federal actor that . is the source of
this -- these consequences. Tt would be the federal
I,ustberg - Argument
61
government that would be treating civil union partners
and married couples differently in contravention of New
Jersey law.
And finally, there has to be a remedy, a
constitutional remedy under New Jersey constitutional
law in order for this Court to act. Again, this is a
constitutional case,. it's an extraordinary power. And
there is no state constitu. tiona] . remedy to cure the
consequences o. ~ the conduct of a federal actor acting
under federal Law. So, we suggest at this point, Your
Honor, ghat summary judgment would be inappropriate.
THE COURT: Okay. Thank you very much, Mx.
Jespersen. We'll g9. ve Mr. Lustberg a chance to reply.
MR. LUSTBGRG: Thank you very -- Your Honor,
very briefly. There is no authority, none, for the
proposition that there is no state constitutional
remedy it the consequences of state action apply at the
federal level. These cases are very different from the
search and seiz ure cases that the State cites.
Those are cases in which federal agents,
acting puxsuant to federal law, are measured by their
-- by the Federal Constitution. What distinguishes
those cases from this case is that fundamentally, this
case is about state action, the consequences of that
state acta. on are visited upon my clients and all
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Lus~berg - Argument
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same sex couples in New Jersey at the federal benefits
level. Bud, the action -- 1et there be no mistake
about it, is the action of the State, it is the State,
not the federal government -- contrary to Mr.
Jespersen's argument, that is the source of the problem
here.
The problem results because the State of New
Jersey says to my clients, 'you can't marry, you can
only have civil unions, that's all you can have.
Whether those result in various indignities and so
forth, Mr. Jespersen's right, that's what the factual
record needed to be developed for. But Your Honor
doesn't need a factual record to understand ghat it is
the State that, by dint of not -- of deciding whether
or nor to allow one to marry, decides whether they're
going to give you the vouchers that you can turn in to
gel those federal benefits, the State acts here.
That is so different from the State search
and -- from the search and seizure cases upon which the
State relies and it is revealing that those are the
cases upon which the State relies. . We have shown Your
Honor that there are cases in which Stake
constitutional -- State actions that . cause
unconstitutional deprivations of federal benefits
result in the invalidation of state provisions. . .
Lustberg -Argument
63
Those cases are xight nn point and they go
directly to the power ghat the State contends that Your
Honor does not have. What the State says is, you don't
have the power to correct state action, to address
state action because the consequence of that state
action is visited upon the plaintiffs at the federal
level. That is not and cannot be the law and will
never. be the I. aw.
THE COURT: But, what precedent do you have?
MR. LUSTBERG: Well, Z've -- respectfully,
that -- we've shown Your Plonoz --
THE COURT: From state court, not the
intestacy cases, from --
MR. LUSTBERG: -- well, the state -- those
happen to be federal cases. But, what the federal
court does there is strike down state provisions.
There's --
THE COURT: -- b. u~, that's the only thing you
came up with were those intestacy cases, that was all
that was in your reply brief I think.
MR. LUSTBERG: -- well, those were the cases
that we cited to address the -- was addressing a
somewhat slightly different question. I mean frankly,
it's a little hard to -- I guess we didn't exactly
address this question about whether a state court has
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Lustberg - Argument
64
the paver ~ o correct a state action because i~ has
consequences at the federal level. We didn't really
understand that the question -- we understood that the
issue was whether there was state action and that --
and there is state action and because there's state
action, it naturally flows that the Court has that
authority.
You know, we can look for more cases that
stand for the propos9. tion that when that state action
effects an inequality at the federal 1 . eve1 , it -- you
know, that they are -- the state can ~ -- ~ cour~ "can do
something about it, but at the end of the day you don't
even need to get there because the whole thing flows
from the state actions in the very first place. The
federal constitutional problem is one -- the federal
benefits problem is one that is a consequence, a direct
consequence of the State's unconstitutional action we
contend.
Tt shows -- so, this is not a matter of us
protesting -- in other words, let's put it ~ hfs way,
Mr. Jespersen would be right, if I went to the
Veteran's Administration -- if my -- I had a client who
was not getting their -- some VA benefit -- or let's
take the OPM case because it's --- we know that`s -- so,
someone challenges him, goes there and says, listen,
Lustberg -- Argument
65
OPM, you can't do this to my clients because the New
Jersey State Constitution says so and they're going to
say, what does the New Jersey State Constitution say to
us, that's a supremacy -- that's not my problem.
That's a very different thing than what we're saying.
What we're saying hire is that Lewis said that same-sex
and different-sex couples have to be treated equally.
THE COURT: But, Lew' also said no view as
to federal law. I mean, there was something --
MR. LUSTBERG: Okay. Well, Z would -- so,
that -- you need ~ a read that: whole quote from Lewis
because the State quotes that, but they leave out the
second half of that quote from Lewis. What Lewis said
was, we don't express any view as to what phis might
mean for the federal government because of DOMA, it
specifically cites DOMA.
And so, that part of it -- ghat part of that
quote is out the window, read the whole quote,
respectfully, not the part that the government cites iri
their brief. Because the whole quote says, obviously,
we can't do anything that would run afoul of D4MA
because DOMA existed at that time, DOMA's gone now.
And so, what Lewis is fundamentally about is Lewis. is
fundamentally about are there going to be different
benefits, it doesn't say state versus federal, it says
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Lustberg - Argument-
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are the benefits going to be different as a result of
the State's action.
Here, your job, respectfully, is to determine
the constitutionality of the state action. And all
you're doing -- you're not second guessing what these
federal agencies are doing, that isn't your job, your
job is to look -- and you don't have the authority -- I
agree, you don't have the authority to strike down
OPM's actions, you don't have the authority to say the
Department of State is wrong.
But, you Have the authority ~ to say tYie State
is wrong in creating a classification that renders the
opportunity for those agencies to act -- the
opportunity that it is and the opportunity that they're
clearly sea. zing in light of the language of Windsor and
in light of the 7. anguage of their own statutes that- say
marriage. Now, let me just say Mr. Jespersen says that
we conced that Windsor doesn't apply broadly in a way
that would affect those agencies.
Look I mean, we don't concede that, what we
concede is that -- two things. Number one, ghat
agencies are not acting as a. f it would, as if it does.
Number two, that the language of Windsor suggests that
it doesn't and number three, that the ]:anguage of the
individual statutes at issue make ~ . t highly un,li. kely
Lustberg - Argument 67
that we're going to prevail in those challenges.
But, Mr. Jespersen says, but wait, wait until
ultimately -- ultimately is his word, when we know what
all these agencies are cjoing to do. Respectfully,
Judge, we're supposed to wait until 1,132 statutes are
interpreted by their agencies and then get challenged
in Court. He says, you can't say what O. PM -- OPM
hasn't even been challenged, when is ultimately?
Your Honor, respectfully, ulta. mately is now,
we know now how this i. s going, we know now from the
data points that we have, we know now from principles
of statutory construction that you know courts are
going to apply, we know now from the limitations o~
Windsor and I would urge Your Honor to read Justice
Roberts' dissent an which the State relies. In Justice
Roberts' dissent he says, keep in mind, everybody --
he's the sixth vote for this, the Court meant what it
said in that final -- in that penultimate sentence of
the opinion, that's what Justice Roberts says.
Now, Justice Scalia may say something very
different, and he says that the opinion sweeps more
broadly. Bud, what Justice Roberts is saying is,
remember, this only applies~ to marriage. And so you
know, that's not only the opinion of the Court, that is
the opinion of the Chief Justice i. n -dissent as well.
---
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Lustberg - A rgumen t
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Listen , I mean the -- respectfully, the time
-- the reason that Your Hon or does n ot n eed to await a
full factual record is because -- an d we've been very
busily makin g that full factual record an d we're very
comfortable with our litigation position with regard to
the question of whether stigma in dign ities are visited
upon our clien ts as a result of Cheir bein g con sign ed
to civil un ion s an d there n ot bein g allowed to marry,
we're very comfortable with that position . But, you
don 't have to decide that today because without even
reachin g that, there's a -~ you 'caTlecl~i~ facial, it
really is.
A s a matter of law, our clien ts are n ow bein g
den ied extraordin ary broad ra. ghts, ben efits,
obligation s that are -- that arise as a resu] :t of
federal law. A n cl less you're con cern ed that there aze
-- what we'll. call stan din g issues which again , have
n ot been , i. n my view, appropriately raised, but the. re's
lots --
THE COURT: Except the Court always has --
MR. LUSTBERG: Of. course.
THE COURT: -- the ability to raise stan din g
issues an d Z mean , that's somethin g that n o party has
to raise.
MR. LUSTBERG: N. o, agreed.
Lustberg - A rgumen t
. •
THE COURT: I mean , it's -- there's always
con cern that there b. e you kn ow, con crete harm an d proof
of the con crete harm.
MR. LUSTBERG: A greed. A lthough, as Your
Hon or well kn ows -- an d I do n ot in an y way mean ~o
disparage the Court's ability to raise that or an y
oi~her issue sua spon te, you are doin g sa thoughtfully
an d we appreciates the opportun ity to respon d to it, but
keep in min d a couple of thin gs here. First of a. 11,
on e of the plain tiffs in this case, Garden State
Equality, is an organ ization al plain tiff with you kn ow,
ten s if n ot hun dreds of thousan ds of members an d so,
the likelihood that there will be on e or more ~ha~ will
be affected by these provision s is very great.
But, even if you don 't wan t to -- an d keep in
min d -- I'll . come back to that in a min ute. Keep in
min d as well that the New Jersey stan din g l,aw -- an d
Xour Hon or. I kn ow is aware of this, is very differen t
from federal stan din g law un der A rticle III of the
Un ited States Con stitution , we don 't have an A rticle
zzz.
A n d while there n eeds a sufficien t stake in
the outcome, most respectfully I thin k all of the
plain tiffs here have a sufficien t stake in the outcome
of whether they're goin g to be eligible for their
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Lustberg - Argument
70
federal. benefits or not. Keep in mind a hypothetical
just for example, if one of these plaintiff couples --
and some of them are elderly, if one of the members of
one of those couples were to die today -- and we hope
that doesn't happen today or any time soon, the other
membex of that couple would not ever be eligible for
the death benefits that could flow their way.
Because this is not Like Edith Windsor who
was married and so, they -- you could come back later
and say, you know, the marriage should have been
recognized. I f the courts ultiiinately 'say" -- as we~
think they may very well, that a civil union is not a
marriage, then you can'i: retroactively marry someone --
par_ticularly because you have to be -- consent to be
married, after death, so the rights would be lost
forever.
Sa, i~ hey have a sufficient stake in the
outcome,. as we sit here today, for standing purposes.
And third, Your Honor knows that, as a matter of New
Jersey standing law, the courts here really look to
substance and try not to impose procedural infirmities
toward -- a. n the face of a just and expeditious
resolution of cases, particularly, whereas here,
mat ers ire in the public interest. The case law --
and I believe we cited it bra. efly to the Court in a
Lustberg - Argument
71
footnote, is to the effect that issues that axe in the
public interest are dealt with differently in terms o~
standing, fox sure there has ~ o be concrete harm.
And Your Honor can wait until there are more
federal statutes ghat gel -- o. r regulations ghat get
interpreted the way OPM and Department of State and
Department ~ f De~ ~ nse and Departmenti of Labor have now
interpreted theirs. You can waif until somebody --
until we come here with an affidavit -- which we can do
tomorrow, with -- of our -- of couples who have -- who
are federal employees and are affected because there
are at least four in Garden State Equality and we can
show that to the Court.
And I puzzle over what Mr. Jespersen says
when he says, well, we have to do da. scovery on the
context, Y don't understand ghat, if they're Federal
employees, that should end it. And he can do a
deposition in which he says, are you a federal employee
and they say, yes and I would probably object to
further questions after that because there really would
be nothing more that would be relevant to show that
they would be, in fact, adversely affected by OPM's
decision.
So, I 'm not sure what factual development
would be required. And under our law when a case is
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Colloquy
72
thus posttared, whi ch i s that i t' s ready for deci si on as
a matter of law, i t' s ri pe. And we don`t have to wai t
for that ulti mate day when every. si ngle fact i s
explored because that' s noi : what the Sup. ~ eme Court
meant when they sai d that a tri al-li ke record had to be
developed, they meant those other i ssues that Mr.
Jespersen was talki ng about.
And i f we have to have a tri al on those,
we' 1 1 have a tri al on those, but you don' t need i t now
because now, as a matter of law, we should prevai l.
And unless the Court has any further ~ ques~ ~ i ori s, I ~ want
to thank Your Honor for your ti me i :oday, I know i t' s
been a lengthy argument, we appreci ate i t.
THE COURT: Okay. Well, thank you very much.
TYi e Court i s goi ng to reserve deci si on on the case and
i f ei ther si de wants to supplement the -- thei r
bri efi ng by further ci tati ons on -- growi ng out of some
of the questi ons I asked today, i t you would get me a
letter bri ef by August 28th, I `d appreci ate i t.
And certai nly i n li ght of that, I don' t thi nk
you could expect a deci si on before September at the
earli est. But i n any event, T want to thank counsel
for i ~ he thoughtful arguments today and the excellent
wri tten submi ssi ons, very di ffi cult i ssues and yo. u`ve
helped to eluci date them for me, Thank you.
73
C E R T I F I CAT T O N
We, WENDY ANTOSI EWI CZ and ANDREA E' OY, the
assi gned transcri bers, do hereby certi fy the foregoi ng
transcri pt of proceedi ngs on compact di sk, playback
numbers 1 0:0 :46 to 1 1 :39:06, i s prepared i n full
compli ance wi th the current Transcri pt Format for
Judi ci al Proceedi ngs and. i s a true and accurate
compressed transcri pt of the proceedi ngs as recorded,
and to i :he best of our abi li ty.
WENDY A~ SI WI CZ AOC, #6Q3 ~ (~ ~
J
_ R~ ~ A OY
Ap roved by: ' r
~ ; `
?~ rr~ R~ ~ A AO 2
J&J COURT TF< SCRI BERS, TNC. DATE:
~,,uA~
kr
~„
DEPARTMENT OF THE Tf2EASURY
INT EFiNAL ftE- V f° . N U[ SERVICE
y `=~~ap°~
WAS}iINGTON, D. C. 20224
O/FIDE OF THE CHIEF CDUNS EL
August 30, 2011
Mr. Robert Shair
Senior Tax Advisor
H&R Block
114 N Vine Sfreet
Urbana, IL 61802
Qear Mr. Shair,
CC:PA:02:SLahabi
CONEX- 13335. 0- 11
axana its s
DOCUMENT 5 RVICE
Doc 2011- 23347 ( 1 pg)
This responds to your J uly 14. , X011, fetter to Commissioner Shulman rec}uestir~g
information on the filing status for Federal income• ' tax purposes of parties tv an lliinois
civi{ union who are~of oppAsite sex.
In general, the status. of individuals: of the ~oppos. ite sex living: i' r~ a relationship that the
sta~e~ wauid fteat acs' husband arid: wife. ~ia,~foc fe~ierai. income #ax pueposes, f- hat of
husband and wife. Section ~0 of the Illinois ' Religious freedom Protection and' Civ( (
Union. Act provides that " [A] party to a civil union is entitled fo the dame legal
obligations, re~ponsi6ilities~, ~rot~ctions, and behe~ts' as are afforded ~or recogniz es by
the law of IIIlnois~ to spouses . . . . " 75~ III. Comp. tat. 75/ 0 ( 2011' ). A~ecordingly, if
fllinois treats ttie patties to an I. Ilinois civil . unio. n who are of opposife sex as . husband and
wife, they are considered " husband and wife" for purppses of Section 6013 of the
Intemat Revenue Cody, and are not precluded from filing j ointly, unless prohibited by
other exceptions under the Code.
Sincerely,
~~
~
Pamela Wilson Fuller
Senior Technician Reviewer, Branch 2
( Procedure &Administration)
DA159
Rev. Rul. 2 0 1 3 - 1 7
ISSUES
1 . Whether, f o r Federal tax purpo ses, the terms "spo use," "husband and w i f e,"
"husband," and "w i f e" i nclude an i ndi vi dual marri ed to a perso n o f the same sex , i f the
i ndi vi duals are law f ully marri ed under state law , and w hether, f o r tho se same
purpo ses, the term "marri age" i ncludes such a marri age betw een i ndi vi duals o f the
same sex .
2 . Whether, f o r Federal tax purpo ses, the i nternal Revenue Servi ce (Servi ce)
reco gni zes a marri age o f same- sex i ndi vi duals vaf i d(y entered i nto i n a state w ho se law s
autho ri ze the marri age o f i w o i ndi vi duals o f the same sex even i f the state i n w hi ch they
are do mi ci led do es no t reco gni ze the vali di ty o f same- sex marri ages.
3 . Whether, f o r Federal tax purpo ses, the terms "spo use," "husband and w i f e,"
"husband," and "w i f e" i nclude i ndi vi duals (w hether o f the o ppo si te sex o r same sex ) w ho
have entered i nto a regi stered do mesti c partnershi p, ci vi l uni o n, o r o ther si mi lar f o rmal
relati o nshi p reco gni zed under state law that i s no t deno mi nated as a marri age under the
' Fo r purpo ses o f thi s ruli ng, the term "state" means any do mesti c o r f o rei gn j uri sdi cti o n
havi ng the legal autho ri ty to sancti o n marri ages.
DA1 6 0
laws of t h at st at e , and wh e t h e r, for t h ose same purpose s, t h e t e rm "marriage " inc lude s
suc h re lat ionsh ips.
LAW AND ANALYSIS
1 . Bac kground
In Re ve nue Ruling 58-66, 1 958-1 C. B. 60, t h e Se rvic e de t e rmine d t h e marit al
st at us for Fe de ral inc ome t ax purpose s of individuals wh o h ave e nt e re d int o a c ommon-
law marriage in a st at e t h at re c ognize s c ommon-law marriage s.2 Th e Se rvic e
ac knowle dge d t h at it re c ognize s t h e marit al st at us of individuals as de t e rmine d unde r
st at e law in t h e administ rat ion of t h e Fe de ral inc ome t ax laws. In Re ve nue Ruling 58-
66, t h e Se rvic e st at e d t h at a c ouple would be t re at e d as marrie d for purpose s of Fe de ral
inc ome t ax filing st at us and pe rsonal e x e mpt ions if t h e c ouple e nt e re d int o a c ommon-
law marriage in a st at e t h at re c ognize s t h at re lat ionsh ip as a valid marriage .
Th e Se rvic e furt h e r c onc lude d in Re ve nue Ruling 58-66 t h at it s posit ion wit h
re spe c t t o a c ommon-law marriage also applie s t o a c ouple wh o e nt e re d int o a
c ommon-!aw marriage in a st at e t h at re c ognize d suc h re lat ionsh ips and wh o lat e r
move d t o a st at e in wh ic h a c e re mony is re q uire d t o e st ablish t h e marit al re lat ionsh ip.
Th e Se rvic e t h e re fore h e ld t h at a t ax paye r wh o e nt e rs int o ac ommon-law marriage in a
st at e t h at re c ognize s suc h marriage s sh all, for purpose s of Fe de ral inc ome t ax filing
st at us and pe rsonal e x e mpt ions, be c onside re d marrie d not wit h st anding t h at t h e
2 A c ommon-law marriage is a union of t wo pe ople c re at e d by agre e me nt followe d by
c oh abit at ion t h at is le gally re c ognize d by a st at e . Common-law marriage s h ave t h re e
basic fe at ure s: (1 ) A pre se nt agre e me nt t o be marrie d, (2) c oh abit at ion, and (3) public
re pre se nt at ions of marriage .
DA1 61
taxpayer and the taxpayer' s s pous e are c urrentl y domic iied in a s tate that req uires a
c eremony to es tab l is h the marital rel ations hip. Ac c ordingl y, the Servic e hel d in
Revenue Rul ing 58-66 that s uc h individual s c an f il e j oint inc ome tax returns under
s ec tion 6013 of the I nternal Revenue Code (Code).
The Servic e has appl ied this rul e w ith res pec t to c ommon-l aw marriages f ar over
50 years , des pite the ref us al of s ome s tates to give f ul l f aith and c redit to c ommon-f aw
marriages es tab l is hed in other s tates . Al though s tates have dif f erent rul es of marriage
rec ognition, unif orm nationw ide rul es are es s ential f or ef f ic ient and f air tax
adminis tration. A rul e under w hic h a c oupl e' s marital s tatus c oul d c hange s impl y b y
moving f rom one s tate to another s tate w oul d b e prohib itivel y dif f ic ul t and c os tl y f or the
Servic e to adminis ter, and f or many taxpayers to appl y.
Many provis ions of the Code make ref erenc e to the marital s tatus of taxpayers .
U ntil the rec ent dec is ion of the Supreme Court in U nited States v. Winds or, 570 U . S.
_, 133 S. Ct. 2675 (2013), the Servic e interpreted s ec tion 3 of the Def ens e of
Marriage Ac t (DOMA) as prohib iting it f rom rec ognizing s ame-s ex marriages f or
purpos es of thes e provis ions . Sec tion 3 of DOMA provided that:
I n determining the meaning of any Ac t of Congres s , or of any
rul ing, regul ation, or interpretation of the various adminis trative
b ureaus and agenc ies of the U nited States , the w ord ' marriage'
means onl y a l egal union b etw een one man and one w oman as
hus b and and w if e, and the w ord ' s pous e' ref ers onl y to a pers on of
the oppos ite s ex w ho is a hus b and or a w if e.
1 U . S. C. § 7.
K 3
DA162.
I n Win dsor, the Supreme Court hel d tha t sec tion 3 of DOMA is un c on stitution a l
bec a use it v iol a tes the prin c ipl es of equa l protec tion . I t c on c l uded tha t this sec tion
"un dermin es both the publ ic a n d priv a te sig n ific a n c e of sta te-sa n c tion ed sa me-sex
ma rria g es" a n d foun d tha t "n o l eg itima te purpose" ov erc omes sec tion 3' s "purpose a n d
effec t to dispa ra g e a n d to in j ure those whom the Sta te, by its ma rria g e l a ws, soug ht to
protec t[ . ] " Win dsor, 133 S. Ct. a t 2694-95. This rul in g prov ides g uida n c e on the effec t
of the Win dsor dec ision on the Serv ic e' s in terpreta tion of the sec tion s of the Code tha t
refer to ta xpa yers' ma rita l sta tus.
2. Rec og n ition of Sa me-Sex Ma rria g es
There a re more tha n two hun dred Code prov ision s a n d Trea sury reg ul a tion s
rel a tin g fo the in tern a l rev en ue l a ws tha t in c l ude the terms "spouse," "ma rria g e" (a n d
deriv a tiv es thereof, suc h a s "ma rries" a n d "ma rried") , "husba n d a n d wife," "husba n d,"
a n d "wife" The Serv ic e c on c l udes tha t g en der-n eutra l terms in the Code tha t refer to
ma rita l sta tus, suc h a s "spouse" a n d "ma rria g e," in c { ude, respec tiv el y, (1) a n in div idua l
ma rried to a person of khe sa me sex if the c oupl e is l a wful l y ma rried un der sta te l a w,
a n d (2) suc h a ma rria g e between in div idua l s of the sa me sex. This is the most n a tura l
rea din g of those terms; it is c on sisten t with Win dsor, in whic h the pl a in tiff wa s seekin g
ta x ben efits un der a sta tute tha t used the term "spouse," 133 S. Ct. a t 2683; a n d a
n a rrower in terpreta tion woul d n ot further the purposes of efF ic ien t ta x a dmin istra tion .
I n l ig ht of the Win dsor dec ision a n d for the rea son s disc ussed bel ow, the Serv ic e
a l so c on c l udes tha t the terms "husba n d a n d wife," "husba n d," a n d "wife" shoul d be
in terpreted to in c l ude sa me-sex spouses. This in terpreta tion is c on sisten t with the
4
DA16 3
Supreme C o urt ' s s t at ement s abo ut t he C o de i n Wi nds o r, avo i ds t he s eri o us
c o ns t i t ut i o nal ques t i o ns t hat an al t ernat e readi ng wo ul d c reat e, and i s permi t t ed by t he
t ex t and purpo s es o f t he C o de.
F i rs t , t he Supreme C o urt s o pi ni o n i n Wi nds o r s ugges t s t hat i t unders t o o d t hat i t s
dec i s i o n s t ri k i ng do wn s ec t i o n 3 o f DOMA wo ul d affec t t ax admi ni s t rat i o n i n ways t hat
ex t ended beyo nd t he es t at e t ax refund at i s s ue. See 133 S. C t . at 2694 ("The part i c ul ar
c as e at hand c o nc erns t he es t at e t ax , but DOMA i s mo re t han s i mpl y a det ermi nat i o n o f
what s ho ul d o r s ho ul d no t be al l o wed as an es t at e t ax refund. Amo ng t he o ver 1,000
s t at ut es and numero us F ederal regul at i o ns t hat DOMA c o nt ro l s are l aws pert ai ni ng t o
. .t ax es ."). The C o urt o bs erved i n part i c ul ar t hat s ec t i o n 3 burdened s ame-s ex
c o upl es by fo rc i ng "t hem t o fo l l o w a c o mpl i c at ed pro c edure t o fi l e t hei r F ederal and
s t at e t ax es j o i nt l y" and t hat s ec t i o n 3 "rai s e[ d] t he c o s t o f heal t h c are fo r fami l i es by
t ax i ng heal t h benefi t s pro vi ded by empl o yers t o t hei r wo rk ers ' s ame-s ex s po us es ." I d.
at 2694-2695.
Sec o nd, an i nt erpret at i o n o f t he gender-s pec i fi c t erms i n t he C o de t o ex c l ude
s ame-s ex s po us es wo ul d rai s e s eri o us c o ns t i t ut i o nal ques t i o ns . Awel l -es t abl i s hed
pri nc i pl e o f s t at ut o ry i nt erpret at i o n ho l ds t hat , "where an o t herwi s e ac c ept abl e
c o ns t ruc t i o n o f a s t at ut e wo ul d rai s e s eri o us c o ns t i t ut i o nal pro bl ems ," a c o urt s ho ul d
"c o ns t rue t he s t at ut e t o avo i d s uc h pro bl ems unl es s s uc h c o ns t ruc t i o n i s pl ai nl y c o nt rary
t o t he i nt ent o f C o ngres s ." Edward J . DeBart o l o C o rp. v. F l a. Gul f C o as t Bl dg. & C o ns t r.
Trades C o unc i l , 485 U.S. 56$, 575 (1988). "Thi s c ano n i s fo l l o wed o ut o f res pec t fo r
C o ngres s , whi c h [ pres umabl y] l egi s l at es i n l i ght o f c o ns t i t ut i o nal l i mi t at i o ns ," Rus t v.
5
DAl 6 4
S u l l i v a n , 500 U.S . 173, 191 (1991), a n d i n s t r u c t s c o u r t s , wher e p o s s i b l e, t o a v o i d
i n t er p r et a t i o n s t ha t "wo u l d r a i s e s er i o u s c o n s t i t u t i o n a l do u b t s , " Un i t ed S t a t es v . X-
Ci t emen t Vi deo , I n c ., 513 U.S . 64, 78 (1994).
The F i f t h Amen dmen t a n a l y s i s i n Wi n ds o r r a i s es s er i o u s do u b t s a b o u t t he
c o n s t i t u t i o n a l i t y o f F eder a l l a ws t ha t c o n f er ma r r i a ge b en ef i t s a n d b u r den s o n l y o n
o p p o s i t e-s ex ma r r i ed c o u p l es . I n Wi n ds o r , t he Co u r t s t a t ed t ha t , "[ b ] y c r ea t i n g t wo
c o n t r a di c t o r y ma r r i a ge r egi mes wi t hi n t he s a me S t a t e, DOMA f o r c es s a me-s ex c o u p l es
t o l i v e a s ma r r i Ed f o r t he p u r p o s e o f s t a t e f a w b u t u n ma r r i ed f o r t he p u r p o s e o f F eder a l
l a w, t hu s di mi n i s hi n g t he s t a b i l i t y a n d p r edi c t a b i l i t y o f b a s i c p er s o n a l r el a t i o n s t he S t a t e
ha s f o u n d i t p r o p er t o a c kn o wl edge a n d p r o t ec t ." 133 S . Ct . a t 2694. I n t er p r et i n g t he
gen der-s p ec i f i c t er ms i n t he Co de t o c a t ego r i c a l l y exc l u de s a me-s ex c o u p l es a r gu a b l y
wo u l d ha v e t he s a me ef f ec t o f di mi n i s hi n g t he s t a b i l i t y a n d p r edi c t a b i l i t y o f l ega l l y
r ec o gn i zed s a me-s ex ma r r i a ges . Thu s , t he c a n o n o f c o n s t i t u t i o n a E a v o i da n c e c o u n s el s
i n f a v o r o f i n t er p r et i n g t he gen der-s p ec i f i c t er ms i n t he Co de t o r ef er t o s a me-s ex
s p o u s es a n d c o u p l es .
Thi r d, t he t ext o f t he Co de p er mi t s a gen der -n eu t r a l c o n s t r u c t i o n o f t he gen der-
s p ec i f i c t er ms . S ec t i o n 7701 o f t he Co de p r o v i des def i n i t i o n s o f c er t a i n t er ms gen er a l l y
a p p l i c a b l e f o r p u r p o s es o f t he Co de when t he t er ms a r e n o t def i n ed o t her wi s e i n a
s p ec i f i c Co de p r o v i s i o n a n d t he def i n i t i o n i n s ec t i o n 7701 i s n o t ma n i f es t l y i n c o mp a t i b l e
wi t h t he i n t en t o f t he s p ec i f i c Co de p r o v i s i o n . The t er ms "hu s b a n d a n d wi f e, " "hu s b a n d, "
a n d "wi f e" a r e n o t s p ec i f i c a l l y def i n ed o t her t ha n i n s ec t i o n 7701(a )(17), whi c h p r o v i des ,
f o r p u r p o s es o f s ec t i o n s 682 a n d 2516, t ha t t he t er ms "hu s b a n d" a n d "wi f e" s ha l l b e
6
DA165
read t o i n c l u de a fo rmer hu sban d o r a fo rmer w i fe, resp ec t i v el y , an d t hat "hu sban d"
shal l be read as "w i fe" an d "w i fe" as "hu sban d" i n c ert ai n c i rc u mst an c es. Al t ho u gh
Co n gress's sp ec i fi c i n st ru c t i o n t o read "hu sban d" an d "w i fe" i n t erc han geabl y i n t ho se
sp ec i fi c p ro v i si o n s c o u l d be t aken as an i n di c at i o n t hat Co n gress di d n o t i n t en d t he
t erms t o be read i n t erc han geabl y i n o t her p ro v i si o n s, t he Serv i c e bel i ev es t hat t he bet t er
u n derst an di n g i s t hat t he i n t erp ret i v e ru l e set fo rt h i n sec t i o n 7701(x)(17) makes i t
reaso n abl e t o ado p t , i n t he c i rc u mst an c es p resen t ed here an d i n l i ght o f Wi n dso r an d
t he p ri n c i p l e o f c o n st i t u t i o n al av o i dan c e, a mo re gen eral ru l e t hat do es n o t fo rec l o se a
gen der- n eu t ral readi n g o f gen der- sp ec i fi c t erms el sew here i n t he Cade.
Sec t i o n 7701(p ) p ro v i des a sp ec i fi c c ro ss- referen c e t o t he D i c t i o n ary Ac t , 1
U, S.C. § 'i , w hi c h p ro v i des, i n p art , t hat w hen "det ermi n i n g t he mean i n g o f an y Ac t o f
Co n gress, u n l ess t he c o n t ext i n di c at es o t herw i se, ...w o rds i mp o rt i n g t he masc u l i n e
gen der i n c l u de t he femi n i n e as w el l ." The p u rp o se o f t hi s p ro v i si o n w as t o av o i d hav i n g
t o "sp ec i fy mal es an d femal es by u si n g a great deal o f u n n ec essary l an gu age w hen o n e
w o rd w o u l d exp ress t he w ho l e." Co n g. Gl o be, 41st Co n g., 3d Sess. 777 (1871)
(st at emen t o f Sen . Tru mbu l l , sp o n so r o f D i c t i o n ary Ac t ). Thi s p ro v i si o n has been read
t o req u i re c o n st ru c t i o n o f t he p hrase "hu sban d an d w i fe" t o i n c l u de same- sex marri ed
c o u p l es. See Pedersen v . O ffi c e o f Perso n n el Mgmt ., 881 F. Su p p . 2d 294, 306- 07 (D .
Co n n . 2012) (c o n st ru i n g sec t i o n 6013 o f t he Co de). The D i c t i o n ary Ac t t hu s su p p o rt s
i n t erp ret i n g t he gen der- sp ec i fi c t erms i n t he Co de i n agen der- n eu t ral man n er "u n l ess
t he c o n t ext i n di c at es o t herw i se." 1 U.S.C. § 1. "'Co n t ext " fo r p u rp o ses o f t he
D i c t i o n ary Ac t "mean s t he t ext o f t he Ac t o f Co n gress su rro u n di n g t he w o rd at i ssu e, o r
7
D A166
the tex ts o f o ther rel a ted co ngres s io na l A cts . " Ro wl a nd v . Ca l . Men's Co l o ny, U nit I I
Men's A d v is o ry Co uncil , 506 U . S. 194, 199 (1993). Here, no thing in the s urro und ing
tex t f o recl o s es a gend er-neutra l rea d ing o f the gend er-s p ecif ic terms . Ra ther, the
p ro v is io ns o f the Co d e tha t us e the terms " hus ba nd a nd wif e," " hus ba nd ," a nd " wif e" a re
inex trica bl y interwo v en with p ro v is io ns tha t us e gend er-neutra l terms l ik e " s p o us e" a nd
" ma rria ge," ind ica ting tha t Co ngres s v iewed them to be eq uiv a l ent. Fo r ex a mp l e,
s ectio n 1(a ) s ets f o rth the ta x imp o s ed o n " ev ery ma rried ind iv id ua l (a s d ef ined in
s ectio n 7703) who ma k es a s ingl e return j o intl y with his s p o us e und er s ectio n 6013,"
ev en tho ugh s ectio n 6013 p ro v id es tha t a " hus ba nd a nd wif e" ma k e a s ingl e return
j o intl y o f inco me. Simil a rl y, s ectio n 2513 o f the Co d e is entitl ed " G if ts by Hus ba nd o r
Wif e to T hird P a rty," but us es no gend er-s p ecif ic terms in its tex t. See a l s o , e. g_ , §§
62(b)(3), 1361(c)(1).
T his interp reta tio n is a l s o co ns is tent with the l egis l a tiv e his to ry. T he l egis l a tiv e
his to ry o f s ectio n 6013, f o r ex a mp l e, us es the term " ma rried ta x p a yers " intercha ngea bl y
with the terms " hus ba nd " a nd " wif e" to d es cribe tho s e ind iv id ua l s who ma y el ect to f il e a
j o int return, a nd there is no ind ica tio n tha t Co ngres s intend ed tho s e terms to ref er o nl y
to a s ubs et o f ind iv id ua l s who a re l ega l l y ma rried . See, e. g. , S. Rep . No . 82-781,
Fina nce, P a rf 1, p . 48 (Sep t. 18, 1951). A cco rd ingl y, the mo s t l o gica l rea d ing is tha t the
terms " hus ba nd a nd wif e" were us ed beca us e they were v iewed , a t the time o f
ena ctment, a s eq uiv a l ent to the term " p ers o ns ma rried to ea ch o ther. " T here is no thing
in the Co d e to s ugges t tha t Co ngres s intend ed to ex cl ud e f ro m the mea ning o f thes e
terms a ny co up l e o therwis e l ega l l y ma rried und er s ta te l a w.
8
DA 16 7
Fourth, other considerations al so strong l y support this interpretation. A g ender-
neutral reading of the Code fosters fairness by ensuring that the Service treats same-
sex coupl es in the same manner as simil arl y situated opposite-sex coupl es. A g ender-
neutral reading of the Code al so fosters administrative efficiency because the Service
does not col l ect or maintain information on the g ender of taxpay ers and woul d have
g reat difficul ty administering a scheme that differentiated between same-sex and
opposite-sex married coupl es.
Therefore, consistent with the statutory context, the Supreme Court' s decision in
Windsor, Revenue Rul ing 58-66, and effective tax administration g eneral l y , the Service
concl udes that, for Federal tax purposes, the terms "husband and wife," "husband," and
"wife" incl ude an individual married to a person of the same sex if they were l awful l y
married in a state whose l aws authoriz e the marriag e of two individual s of the same sex,
and the term "marriag e" incl udes such marriag es of individual s of the same sex.
3. M arital Status Based on the Laws of the State Where a M arriag e I s I nitial l y
Establ ished
Consistent with the l ong standing position expressed in Revenue Rul ing 58-66,
the Service has determined to interpret the Code as incorporating a g eneral rul e, for
Federal tax purposes, that recog niz es the val idity of a same-sex marriag e that was val id
in the state where it was entered into, reg ardl ess of the married coupl e' s pl ace of
domicil e. The Service may provide additional g uidance on this subj ect and on the
appl ication of Windsor with respect to Federal tax administration. Other ag encies may
~ ' . :~
provide guidance on other Federa) programs that they administer that are af f ected by
the Code.
Under this rul e, individual s of the same sex w il l be considered to be l aw f ul l y
married under the Code as l ong as they w ere married in a state w hose l aw s authoriz e
the marriage of tw o individual s of the same sex, even if they are domicil ed in a state
that does not recogniz e the val idity of same-sex marriages. For over hal f a century, f or
Federal income tax purposes, the Service has recogniz ed marriages based on the l aw s
of the state in w hich they w ere entered into, w ithout regard to subsequent changes in
domicil e, to achieve unif ormity, stabil ity, and ef f iciency in the appl ication and
administration of the Code. Given our increasingl y mobil e society, it is important to
have a unif orm rul e of recognition that can be appl ied w ith certainty by the Service and
taxpayers al ik e f or al l Federal tax purposes. Those overriding tax administration pol icy
goal s general l y appl y w ith equal f orce in the context of same-sex marriages.
I n most Federal tax contexts, astate-of -domicil e rul e w oul d present serious
administrative concerns. For exampl e, spouses are general l y treated as rel ated parties
f or Federal tax purposes, and one spouse's ow nership interest in property may be
attributed to the other spouse f or purposes of numerous Cade provisions. I f the Service
did not adopt a unif orm rul e of recognition, the attribution of property interests coul d
change w hen asame-sex coupl e moves f rom one state to another w ith dif f erent
marriage recognition rul es. The potential adverse consequences coul d impact not onl y
the married coupl e but al so others invol ved in a transaction, entity, or arrangement.
This w oul d l ead to uncertainty f or both taxpayers and the Service.
10
DA169
A r u l e of r e c og n i t i on base d on t he st at e of a t axpaye r 's c u r r e n t dom i c i l e wou l d
al so r ai se si g n i fi c an t c hal l e n g e s for e m pl oye r s t hat ope r at e i n m or e t han on e st at e , or
t hat have e m pl oye e s (or for m e r e m pl oye e s) who l i ve i n m or e t han on e st at e , or m ove
be t we e n st at e s wi t h di ffe r e n t m ar r i ag e r e c og n i t i on r u l e s. S u bst an t i al fi n an c i al an d
adm i n i st r at i ve bu r de n s wou l d be pl ac e d on t hose e m pl oye r s, as we l l as t he
adm i n i st r at or s of e m pl oye e be n e fi t pl an s. For e xam pl e , t he n e e d for an d val i di t y of
spou sal e l e c t i on s, c on se n t s, an d n ot i c e s c ou l d c han g e e ac h t i m e an e m pl oye e , for m e r
e m pl oye e , or spou se m ove d t o a st at e wi t h di ffe r e n t m ar r i ag e r e c og n i t i on r u l e s. To
adm i n i st e r e m pl oye e be n e fi t pl an s, e m pl oye r s (or pl an adm i n i st r at or s) wou l d n e e d t o
i n q u i r e whe t he r e ac h e m pl oye e r e c e i vi n g pl an be n e fi t s was m ar r i e d an d, i f so, whe t he r
t he e m pl oye e 's spou se was t he sam e se x or opposi t e se x fr om t he e m pl oye e . I n
addi t i on , t he e m pl oye r s or pl an adm i n i st r at or s wou l d n e e d t o c on t i n u al l y t r ac k t he st at e
of dom i c i l e of al l sam e-se x m ar r i e d e m pl oye e s an d for m e r e m pl oye e s an d t he i r
spou se s. Ru l e s wou l d al so n e e d t o be de ve l ope d by t he S e r vi c e an d adm i n i st e r e d by
e m pl oye r s an d pl an adm i n i st r at or s t o addr e ss t he t r e at m e n t of sam e-se x m ar r i e d
c ou pl e s c om pr i se d of i n di vi du al s who r e si de i n di ffe r e n t st at e s (a si t u at i on t hat i s n ot
r e l e van t wi t h r e spe c t t o opposi t e-se x c ou pl e s). For al l of t he se r e ason s, pl an
adm i n i st r at i on wou l d g r ow i n c r e asi n g l y c om pl e x an d c e r t ai n r u l e s, su c h as t hose
g ove r n i n g r e q u i r e d di st r i bu t i on s u n de r se c t i on 4 0 1 (a)(9 ), wou l d be c om e e spe c i al l y
c hal l e n g i n g . Adm i n i st r at or s of e m pl oye e be n e fi t pl an s wou l d have t o be r e t r ai n e d, an d
syst e m s r e wor k e d, t o c om pl y wi t h an u n pr e c e de n t e d an d c om pl e x syst e m t hat di vi de s
m ar r i e d e m pl oye e s ac c or di n g t o t he i r se xu al or i e n t at i on . I n m an y c ase s, t he t r ac k i n g of
1 1
DA1 70
employee and spouse domiciles would be less than per f ectly accur ate or timely and
would r esult in er r or s or delays. These er r or s and delays would be costly to employer s,
and could r eq uir e some plans to enter the S er v ice' s v oluntar y compliance pr ogr ams or
put benef its of all employees at r isk . A f l of these pr oblems ar e av oided by the adoption
of the r ule set f or th her ein, and the S er v ice ther ef or e has chosen to av oid the imposition
of the additional bur dens on itself , employer s, plan administr ator s, and indiv idual
taxpayer s. A ccor dingly, Rev enue Ruling 58-66 is amplif ied to adopt a gener al r ule, f or
Feder al tax pur poses, that r ecognizes the v alidity of a same-sex mar r iage that was v alid
in the state wher e it was enter ed into, r egar dless of the mar r ied couple' s place of
domicile.
4. Register ed Domestic Par tner ships. C iv il Unions, or Other S imilar For mal
Relationships Not Denominated as Mar r iage
For Feder al tax pur poses, the ter m "mar r iage" does not include r egister ed
domestic par tner ships, civ il unions, or other similar f or mal r elationships r ecognized
under state law that ar e not denominated as a mar r iage under that state' s law, and the
ter ms "spouse," "husband and wif e," "husband," and "wif e" do not include indiv iduals
who hav e enter ed into such a f or mal r elationship. This conclusion applies r egar dless of
whether indiv iduals who hav e enter ed into such r elationships ar e of the opposite sex or
the same sex.
HOLDINGS
1 . For Feder al tax pur poses, the ter ms "spouse," "husband and wif e,"
"husband," and "wif e" include an indiv idual mar r ied to a per son of the same sex if the
1 2
DA 1 71
i n d i v i d u a l s a re l a w f u l l y m a rri ed u n d er s t a t e l a w , a n d t he t erm "m a rri a ge" i n c l u d es s u c h a
m a rri a ge bet w een i n d i v i d u a l s of t he s a m e s ex.
2. For Fed era l t a x pu rpos es , t he Serv i c e a d opt s a gen era l ru l e rec ogn i z i n g a
m a rri a ge of s a m e-s ex i n d i v i d u a l s t ha t w a s v a l i d l y en t ered i n t o i n a s t a t e w hos e l a w s
a u t hori z e t he m a rri a ge of t w o i n d i v i d u a l s of t he s a m e s ex ev en i f t he m a rri ed c ou pl e i s
d om i c i l ed i n a s t a t e t ha t d oes n ot rec ogn i z e t he v a l i d i t y of s a m e-s ex m a rri a ges .
3. For Fed era l t a x pu rpos es , t he t erm s "s pou s e," "hu s ba n d a n d w i f e,"
"hu s ba n d ," a n d "w i f e" d o n a t i n c l u d e i n d i v i d u a l s (w het her of t he oppos i t e s ex or t he
s a m e s ex) w ho ha v e en t ered i n t o a regi s t ered d om es t i c pa rt n ers hi p, c i v i l u n i on , or ot her
s i m i l a r f orm a l rel a t i on s hi p rec ogn i z ed u n d er s t a t e l a w t ha t i s n ot d en om i n a t ed a s a
m a rri a ge u n d er t he l a w s of t ha t s t a t e, a n d t he t erm "m a rri a ge" d oes n ot i n c l u d e s u c h
f orm a l rel a t i on s hi ps .
EFFECT ON OTHER REVENUE RULINGS
Rev . Ru l . 58-66 i s a m pl i f i ed a n d c l a ri f i ed .
PROSPECTIVE APPLICATION
The hol d i n gs of t hi s ru l i n g w i l l be a ppl i ed pros pec t i v el y a s of Sept em ber 16,
2013.
Exc ept a s prov i d ed bel ow , a f f ec t ed t a xpa y ers a l s o m a y rel y on t hi s rev en u e
ru l i n g f or t he pu rpos e of f i l i n g ori gi n a l ret u rn s , a m en d ed ret u rn s , a d ju s t ed ret u rn s , or
c l a i m s f or c red i t or ref u n d f or a n y ov erpa y m en t of t a x res u l t i n g f rom t hes e hol d i n gs ,
prov i d ed t he a ppl i c a bl e l i m i t a t i on s peri od f or f i l i n g s u c h c l a i m u n d er s ec t i on 6511 ha s
n ot expi red . If a n a f f ec t ed t a xpa y er f i l es a n ori gi n a l ret u rn , a m en d ed ret u rn , a d ju s t ed
13
DA17 2
r e t u r n , or c l a i m f or c r e d i t or r e f u n d i n r e l i a n c e a n t h i s r e ve n u e r u l i n g , a l l i t e m s r e q u i r e d
t o be r e por t e d on t h e r e t u r n or c l a i m t h a t a r e a f f e c t e d by t h e m a r i t a l s t a t u s of t h e
t a xpa ye r m u s t be a d ju s t e d t o be c on s i s t e n t w i t h t h e m a r i t a l s t a t u s r e por t e d on t h e r e t u r n
or c l a i m .
Ta xpa ye r s m a y r e l y (s u bje c t t o t h e c on d i t i on s i n t h e pr e c e d i n g pa r a g r a ph
r e g a r d i n g t h e a ppl i c a bl e l i m i t a t i on s pe r i od a n d c on s i s t e n c y w i t h i n t h e r e t u r n or c l a i m ) on
t h i s r e ve n u e r u l i n g r e t r oa c t i ve l y w i t h r e s pe c t t o a n y e m pl oye e be n e f i t pl a n or
a r r a n g e m e n t or a n y be n e f i t pr ovi d e d t h e r e u n d e r on l y f or pu r pos e s of f i l i n g or i g i n a l
r e t u r n s , a m e n d e d r e t u r n s , a d ju s t e d r e t u r n s , or c l a i m s f or c r e d i t or r e f u n d of a n
ove r pa ym e n t of t a x c on c e r n i n g e m pl oym e n t t a x a n d i n c om e t a x w i t h r e s pe c t t o
e m pl oye r-pr ovi d e d h e a l t h c ove r a g e be n e f i t s or f r i n g e be n e f i t s t h a t w e r e pr ovi d e d by t h e
e m pl oye r a n d a r e e xc l u d a bl e f r om i n c om e u n d e r s e c t i on s 106, 117(d ), 119, 129, or 132
ba s e d on a n i n d i vi d u a l ' s m a r i t a l s t a t u s . For pu r pos e s of t h e pr e c e d i n g s e n t e n c e , i f a n
e m pl oye e m a d e a pr e -t a x s a l a r y-r e d u c t i on e l e c t i on f or h e a l t h c ove r a g e u n d e r a s e c t i on
125 c a f e t e r i a pl a n s pon s or e d by a n e m pl oye r a n d a l s o e l e c t e d t o pr ovi d e h e a l t h
c ove r a g e f or a s a m e -s e x s pou s e on a n a f t e r -t a x ba s i s u n d e r a g r ou p h e a l t h pl a n
s pon s or e d by t h a t e m pl oye r , a n a f f e c t e d t a xpa ye r m a y t r e a t t h e a m ou n t s t h a t w e r e pa i d
by t h e e m pl oye e f or t h e c ove r a g e of t h e s a m e-s e x s pou s e on a n a f t e r -t a x ba s i s a s pr e -
t a x s a l a r y r e d u c t i on a m ou n t s .
Th e Se r vi c e i n t e n d s t o i s s u e f u r t h e r g u i d a n c e on t h e r e t r oa c t i ve a ppl i c a t i on of t h e
Su pr e m e Cou r t s opi n i on i n Wi n d s or t o ot h e r e m pl oye e be n e f i t s a n d e m pl oye e be n e f i t
pl a n s a n d a r r a n g e m e n t s . Su c h g u i d a n c e w i l l t a ke i n t o a c c ou n t t h e pot e n t i a l
14
DA173
consequences of r et r oa ct i v e a p p l i ca t i on t o a l l t a xp a yer s i nv ol v ed , i ncl ud i ng t he p l a n
sp onsor , t he p l a n or a r r a ng ement , emp i a yer s, a ffect ed emp l oyees a nd b enefi ci a r i es.
The Ser v i ce a nt i ci p a t es t ha t t he fut ur e g ui d a nce w i l l p r ov i d e suffi ci ent t i me for p l a n
a mend ment s a nd a ny necessa r y cor r ect i ons so t ha t t he p l a n a nd b enefi t s w i l l r et a i n
fa v or a b l e t a x t r ea t ment for w hi ch t hey ot her w i se qua l i fy.
DRAFTING INFORMATION
The p r i nci p a l a ut hor s of t hi s r ev enue r ul i ng a r e Ri cha r d S. Gol d st ei n a nd
Ma t t hew S. Coop er of t he Offi ce of Associ a t e Chi ef Counsel (Pr oced ur e &
Ad mi ni st r a t i on) . For fur t her i nfor ma t i on r eg a r d i ng t hi s r ev enue r ul i ng , cont a ct Mr .
Gol d st ei n a nd Mr . Coop er a t 202-622-3400 (not a t ol l-t r ee ca l l ) .
15
DA17 4
Defense.gov News R el ea se: DOD Announces Sa me-Sex Spouse B enefi t s
Pa ge 1 of 2
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IMMEDIATE R ELEASE
No. 6 81 .1 3
Mescxges
August 1 4, 20 1 5
Oi ogrey hy
N~e~c
DOD Announces Sa ma Sex Spouse Dena fl t s
Toda y i n DoD
Na wa R ni cnses
Todey , t he Depa rt ment of Defense a nnounced i t s pl a n t o ext end b eneFi ~s t o sa me-sex spouses of uni formed servi ce memb ers a nd Qepa rl ma nt oI
Press Advl a ori os Defense C i vi l i a n empl oy ees.
Pub i t ea t i ons
rrnnscrl pt s Aft er a revi ew of t he depa ri menPs b enefi t pol i ci es foi l owi np t ho Supreme C a rr1 's rul l np t ha t Sect i on Three o(t he Defense of Ma rrl a 8e Act (DOMA) i s
unconst i t ut i ona l , a nt l In consul l a t l on wi t h t he Depa rt ment of J ust i ce end ocher a xecut i ve b ra nch a genci es, t he Oet ense Depa rt ment wi l l ma ke spousa l a nd
Phot os fa mi l y b a nel i l a a va i l a b l e no l a t er [hen Sept . 3 , 2p1 3 , repa rcl l ess of sexua l ori ent a t i on, a s Iona a s servi ce memb er-sponsors provi de a va l i d ma rri a ge cert ~ca t e.
Imny ery Arcl t i vo
H~0„~~U„~ The Depa rt ment of Defense roma i ne commi t t ed t o ensuri ng t ha t a l l men a nd women who serve i n t he U.S. mi l i t a ry , a rxf t hei r fa mi l i es, a re t rea t ed fa i rl y
rnoeo essa y s ~ a nd eq ua l l y es t he l a w di rect s.
Weck i n Phot w
Enl l t l ement s such a s TR IC AR E enrol l ment , b a si c a l l owa nce for housi ng (B AW) a nd fa mi l y sepa ra t i on a l l owa nce a re ret roa ct i ve t o t he da l e of t he
Doo Inro Supremo C ourPs deci si on. Any cl a i ms t o ent i t l ement s b efore t ha t da t e wt l i not b a gra nt ed. For t hose memb ers ma rri ed a ft er J une 28, 20 1 3 , ent i t l ement s
Pa st 9 / 1 1 Gi B i l l b egi n a t t he da t e of ma rri a ge.
Tra nsferr6 i l i t y
con, muni ~y
We recogni z e t ha t sa me-sex mi l i t a ry coupl es who a re not st a t i oned i n a ~uri sdi ct b n t ha t perml l a sa me-sex ma rt i a ge woul d ha ve t o t ra vel t o a not her
R el a t i ons
uri a di ct i on t o ma Tha t l a why t he de a rt menl wi l l i m l a ment t i t l es t o a l l ow mi l i
p non• chergea b l e l ea ve for t he
scnrs a St a pes ~
m'
P
P Po ~
t ery personnel i n such e rel et l onshi
purpose of b evel l i ng t o a j uri sdi ct i on where such a ma ni a Ae ma y occur. ThI9 wi l l provi de a ccel era t ed a ccess t o t he ful l ra nge of b enel i t e offered t o ma rri ed
R et ovcry Act
mi l kery coupl es t hroughout t he depa Amenl , a nd hel p l evel t he pl a y i ng fi el d b et ween opposi t e-sex a nd sa me-sox coupl es seeki ng t o b e ma rri ed.
Si t e Ma p
For ci vi l i a n b enefi t s edmi ni sl ered government-wi de t o federa l empl oy ees, t he Depa rt ment of Det ensa wi l l fol l ow t he Offi ce of Personnel Ma na gement
a nd t he Depa rt ment of La b ors gui da nce t o ensure t ha t t he sa me b enefi t s curcent l y a va i l a b l e t o het erosexua l spouses a re a l so eva i l a b l a t o l ega l l y ma rt i ed
ea me• sex spouses.
R ea d t he Imei emenfa t fon memo from Secret a ry of Defense C huck Ha a el onl i ne a s wel l a s (unb a r gui da nce on ext endi ng b enefi t s t o sa me-sex spouses
of mi l i t a ry memb ers from Ai l i ng Under Secret a ry of Defense t a r Personnel end R ea dl nesa J essi ca Wri ght ,
~1 P1 J nt pr-, f(j endl y Va rsl on
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10/4 /2013
USCIS -Same-Sex M ar r i ag es
Pag e 1 of 2
` ~ ~ ` ' ' U S. Ci t i z en s h i
y 4 an d Immi g r at i on
~ Ser v i c es
---- HORM S
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_ . . _ _ _ . . _ . . _
I.
! ' Fami ly of U. S. Ci li z en a
fami y of Gr een Car d Hoi dar a
(Per man en t Res i dc n la)
' Fami ly of Refug ees 8 As y lees
Same-Sox M ar t i ag es
Home ~ E s p a~ lol~ Blop ~ Ar c h i v e ~ In dex
_ _ _
Sear c h
NE WS RE SOURCE S LAWS OUTRE ACH A[30UT US
Homs > Femi ly > Seme~ Sox M ar t i ap es ~ r i n t et Fr i en dly
Relat ed Li n lc ~
Same-Sex M ar r i ag es
•For m 1 . 7 30, Peli t i an for Ali en
Relat i on
U. S. Vi s as for SamaSex
6t aleman t fr om 8eor ot ar y of Homolan d Se¢uAt y Jan ot Nap olft an a on Judy i , 201 7 : Sp ous es (Dep ar t men t of Slat e)
' ANer las t week' s dec i s i on by t h e Sup r eme Couh h oldi n g t h at SeGi on 3 of t h e Defen s e of M ai r i eg e ~ - - ~ - -- ~ -
AU (DOM A) i s un c on s t i t ut i on al, Pr es i den t Obamp di r ec t et l feder el dep ar t m¢n t s t o en s ut n t h e CJ At lt l Our RSS Feed
dec i s i on an d It a i mp li c at i on t ot feder al ben e(i ls for s ame•s ex leg ally mar t i ed Coup les ar e
C1 Sh ar e Th i s Pag e
i mp lemen t ed s wi ft ly an d s moot h ly . To t h at en d, eHec Gv e i mmodlalely , I h av e di r ec t ed U. S.
Ci t lz en s h lp an d Immi g r at i on Ser v i c es (USCIS) t o r ev i ew i mmi g t ali on v i s a p uli li on s fi let l on bah all of
a s ame-s ex ap ouee i n t h e s ame man n er as t h os e fled on beh al! of an op p os i t e-s ex s p ous e. `
Fr equen t ly As ked Ques t i on s
Pet i t t on i n g for my Sp ous e
q1 : 1 am a U. 9. Ci t i z en of lawful p ai man en t r oalden t i n a s ame-aex mer r i eg e t o a lor ei g n
n at i on al. Can I n ow s p on s or my s p oua~ for afami ly -bas ed ~ mmlg r an t v i s a?
~ A1 : Yae, y ou p n fi le t h e p et i t i on . You may fi le a For m I-1 30 (an d an y ep p li wble ac c omp an y i n g
ap p li c at i on ). Your eli g i bi li t y t o p et i t i on for y our s p ous e, an d y our s p ous e' s admi s s i blli ly es an
i mmi p r en t at t h e Immi g r at i on v i s a ap p li c at lon or adjus lmo~ t of s t at us s t ag e, wi ll h e det er mi n at l
ec eor di n p t o ap p li c able Immi g r at i on Imo en d wi ll n ot be t len led as e r es ult of t h e s ame-s ex n at ur e o1
y our mar r i ag e.
4 2. I ~ m o U. 3, c ki z en wh o Is en g eg at l t o ba mar t i ed t o a for olg n n at i on al of t h e s ame aez .
Cen I Olo o fi an e6 or Ti an c 6e p et lt lon for h i m or h ar t
A2. Yes . You ms y fi le a For t h I-1 29F. As lon g ae all ot h er i mmi g r at i on r aqui r emeM s ar e mei , a
i s ame-s ex en g ag emen t may allow y our fi an c b b en t er t h e Un i t ed 9t ai as (or mer c i ag e.
s Q~ : M y i p ouae an t l I wer e mar r i ed In a U. 3. s t at e or e for oi g n c oun t r y t h at r ec og n i z es s ame•
s ax mar t i ap e, but we Ilv e t o a s et a t h at does n ot . Can 1 fi le an i mmi g r an t v i s a p et llfon for my
s p ous al NE W
j A3: Yea, Aa a 9an er ei mat t er , t h e law of t h e p lac e wh er e t h e mar r i ag e was c elebr at eA t lei er mi n es
wh et h er t h e mar c i ep a la leg ally v ali d for i mmi g r at i on p ur p os es , Jus ! as USCIS ap p li es ai l r elev an t
j laws i o delemt i n 0 t h e v ali d(t y of an op p os llo-eex mar r i ag e, we wi ll ap p ly all r elev an t laws t o
~ t let er t n i n e t h e v ali di t y of a s ame•s ez meM eg e. Th a domi dle s t ele' s laws en d p oli c i es on s ame•s ex
mar t fep as wi ll n ot bear on wh eNer USCI3 wi ll r ec og n i z e a mar t i ag e as v aNd.
Ap p ly i n g (or Ben eSt ~
Now Ap p i leet lon s an d Pet lllon s :
Q4 . Do 1 h av e t o wai t un t i l USCIS i s s ues n ew r eg ulat i on s , g ui dan ee o~ for ms t o
ap p ly for ben efi t s bas od up on t h e Sup ~ ome Cour t doc i s i on In r i fn ds or 7
A4 . No. You may ap p ly r i g h t axn y for ben ollt s for wh i c h y ou h ellav a y ou ar e alfg i ble.
Pr ev i ous ly Submkt ad Ap p li eat lon s an d Pet i t i on s :
q5. M y For n ~ I-1 30, or olh or p ~ Ht lon or ap p llc at i on ~ was p r ov i ous ly den i ed s ololy
' : bec aus e of DOM A. r i h at s h ould 1 doT
AS. USCIS wi ll n op an t h os e p et klon s or ep p lloat lon s t h at wer e den t ed s olely 6s c aus e of
i DOM A s eet i on J. If s uoh a eas o Is kn own t o us or br oug h t t o our at t en t i on , USCIS wi ll
r eeon s ldar Ir a p r i or dools lon , es wall as r eop en as aoc i at ad ap p li c at i on s t o t h e axt n n t t h ey
wer e als o den lod es a r es ult of t h e den t al of t h e For m I-1 J0 s uc h as c on eur r en t ly fllad
For ma H85).
. USCIS wi ll make a oon c ar t ed effor t fo i den l(t y den t at e of I-1 90 p ut i t lon s t h at oeeur r ed on
t h e 6as ls of DOM A s ac t lon 3 alt er Febr uar y 23, 201 1 . USCIS wi ll als o mako a c on ear t ad
e!(oR t o n ot i fy y ou (t h e p et i t lon c r ), at y our las t kn own addr es s , of t h e r eop en i n g an d
_ r equec t up dat ed In for mat i on In s up p or t of y our p n UUon .
• To aler t USCIS o(an I-0~ 0 p eUt lon t h at y ou h ot lov e fella wlfh i n t h i s c at Qg or y , USCI9
r ec ommen ds t h at y ou s an d an e-mai l fr om an ac c oun t t h at c an r ec ei v e r ep li es t o USCIS
at USCIS-628i IDus oi e, dh s . aov s t at ln p t h at y ou h av e a p on dfn g p et lNoo. USCIS wi ll r ep ly
t o t h at meas ap t wi t h follow-up quoat i on s as n ec es s ar y t o up dat e y our p et i t i on for
p r oc es aln 0• (DHS h as s oug h t t o keep fr eak of DOM A den t at e t h at oc c ur r od aft er t h e
Pr eai dan t Aot er mi n ed n ot t o defan t l Seet i c n J of DOM A on Febr uar y 27 , 207 1 , alt h oug h
t o en s ur e t h at DNS Is awar e of y our don i el, p leas e feed fr ee t o aler t USCIS i f y ou beli ev o
y our ap p li eat fon falls wi t h i n t h i s c at ep or y . ~
For den i als of t-1 J0 p at lt i on s t h at oewr r et l p Aor t o Febr uar y 1 J, 201 1 , y ou mus t n ot lfy
~ USCIS by M ar s h J7 . 201 4 , In or der for USCIS t o ac t on It s own t o r oop en y our 1 . 1 30
i p et i t i on . Ploas o n ot i fy USCI9 by s en dln p an emai l t o USCIS at USGIS_
~ 6~ us ei s . dh s . aov an d n ot i n g t h at y ou h dlev e t h at y our p oHBon was den i ed on t h e
bas i s of DOM A s ec t i on 3.
On c u y our I-1 30 p et i t i on Is r eop en ed, i t wi ll be aon s i dor od an ew—wi t h out r eg ar d t o DOM A
s oc t i on 3--bas ed up on t h e In for mat i on p r ev i ous ly s uh mi Nod an d an y n ew i n for mat i on
p r ov i ded. USCIS w1 1 i alw c on c ur r en t ly r oop an as s oc i at ed ap p li c at i on s as may be
n aus s ar y t o t h n ext en t t h ey at s o wer e den t ed as a v ault of t h e den l5l of r h o 1 . 1 00 p et i t i on
(s uc h ~ s c on eur t n n t ly Ned For t h 1 . 4 85 ap p lleat lon s ).
~ ; Add~ t lon afly , If y our wor k aut h or i z at i on was den t ed or r ov oked bas ed up on t h e den i al of t h e
For m 1 -4 85, lh ~ den i al or n v oul~ on wi ll be c on eumn lly r ec on s lAer ed, an d a n ew
E mp loy men t Aut h or i z at i on Doc umen t Is s ued, t o t h e ~ xt on t n ec ac s ar y . i f a t lec i s i on c an n ot
be r en der ed i mmedi at ely on a r eop en ed adjus t men t of s t at us ap p li c at i on , USCIS wi ll ei t h er
(1 ) i mmedi at ely p r oees a an y p on di n g or den i ed ap p lfeat i on for ¢mp loy men t aulh or i z allon of
(2) r eop en an d ap p r ov e an y p r ev i ous ly r ev oked ap p i fc at lon (or emp loy men t aut Aor f:an on . II
USCIS M as alr eady odt ai n ed t h e ap p llc an Ps bi omat r i c i n for mat i on at an Ap p li c at i on Sup p or t
Can t er (ASC), a n ew E mp loy m¢n t Aut h oHz allon Doc umen t (E AD) wi ll be p r oduead an d
deli v er ed wi t h out s ay lur t h e~ ac t i on by r h o ap p li c an t . In eas es wh er e USCIS h as n ot y et
obt ai n ed t h e r equi r ed blomeM e In for mat i on , r h o ap p li c an t wi ll ba s c h eduled for an ASC
ap p oi n t men t .
DA1 7 7
h t t p :/ / www. us c i s . g ov / p or t al/ s i t e/ us c i s / men ui t em. ebl d4 c 2a3e5b9ac 8924 3c 6a7 54 3f6d I a/ ?v . . . 1 0/ 8/ 201 3
USCIS -Same-Sex Maixiages
. P age 2 of 2
. I! another type of petition or application (other than an I•Y90 petition or associated
application) was dented based solely upon DOMA section 7, plaase notify USCIS by
March 11, 2014, by sanding an a-mail to USCIS a! USCIS-626(~uscls. dhs. aov as
Ulrected above. USCIS will promptly consider whetherreopemng of that petition or
application Is approprfale under tho haw end the circumstances presented.
No faa will ba required to request USCIS to consider reopening your petition or application
pursuant to this procedure. In tho ettemativc to this procedure, you may file a new
petition or application to tt~e extent provided by law and accordin0 <o the loan instructions
including payment o(appllcable fees as directed.
Changes In Ellgihility BAsed on Sama•Sax Marriage
D6. What about Immlpra Hon 6enoflts otM1a~ than for immediate rolatWea, family
•proferonce Immigrants and flane6s or floneEest In cases where the
Immigration laws condition the benofit on the existence of a "marriage" or on
one's status as a "spouse," will same-sex marr{a~jes ryualify as marrlagey (or
purposes o! these b~noflts?
A6. Yes. Under the U. S. Immigration laws, eliplbility for ~ wido range o(bene~ts tlepends
on the meaNn9s of the terms "marriage" or "spouse. " Examples include abut are not
limited to) an alien who woks to qualify as a spouse nocompanyfng or following to join a
family-sponsored Immigrant, an employment-based immigrant, certain subcatepori¢a of
nonimmiprants, ar an alien who has been grantetl refugee status or osylum. In all o/these
cases, a came•sez marriage will bo trealetl exactly the same as an opposite•sex marriage.
q7. If 1 am seeking aAmission under w program that requires me to bo a
"ohild," a °son or daughter," a parent," or a "brother or sister" of a U. S. citizen
or of n lawful perman ant rosldenf~ could ssame-sax martla~o affect my
eilgibility7
A7. There are coma sltuatlons in whioh either llio Individual's own marriage, or that o(his
or her parents, can affect whether the Intllvldual will qualify as a "child," n "son or
tlaughter," a "parent," or a "brother or sister" of a U. S, citizen or of a lawful pertnanenl
resitlent. In those eases, same-aex manages will be treated exactly the same as opposite-
sez marriages.
Residency Requirements
Q8. Can sams•sex marrtages~ Ilko opposite-soz m~rriagea, reduce the
~asid~nee period required /or naturalfzatien7
A8. Yos. As a general matter, naturalization roqulrcs five yearo of residence In the Un(tud
States following admission as a lawful pertnonent resident. But, accordln~ to fhe
Immlpration laws, naturali:atlon is aveilab~e aRura rcquircd msidon~e period of three
years, If during thot three year period you have been living in "marital union" with a U. S.
cillzen "spouse" and your epouse has been a United States citizen. For this purpose,
same-sex marriages will bo Treated eaactiy the same as oppoafto-sex marriages.
Inadmissibllfty Waivon
q9, i know that the Immigration laws allow discrollonary waivers of ocrtain
Inadmisslbllity grounds under certain circumstances. For some of those
waivers, the genera has fo bo the "spouse" or other family member of a U. S.
citizen or o(a lawful po~manani resitlent. In cases where the required Tamely
relationship depends on whether the indiv(dual or the individual's parents
meet tba dullnitlon of "spouse^ will samo•soz martlages count for that
purposet
A9. Yes. Whan¢ver the ImmiBratlon laws condition digfbllity Tor a waivar on the existence
of a "marriage" or stales as a "spouse," sama•~ex marriages will be treated exactly the
same as opposite-sez marriages.
Last updated: 09! 2812013
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Pe rso nne l Ma na ge me nt
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The I~e de ra ! Go ve rnme nt ' s Hu»:a n Re so urce s A ge ncy
Be ne fi t s A dmi ni st ra t i o n Le t t e r
Numbe r: 13-203
Da t e : Jul y 1' 7 , 2013
S ubje ct : Co ve ra ge o f S a me -S e x S po use s
S e ct i o n 3 o f t l ~e De fe nse o f Ma rri a ge A ct (DOMA ) pro vi de d t ha t , whe n use d i n a F e de ra l l a w,
t he t e rm "ma rri a ge " wo ul d me a n o nl y a l e ga l uni o n be t we e n o ne ma n a nd o ne wo ma n a s
husba nd a nt i wi fe , a nd t ha t t he t e rm "spo use " re fe rre d o nl y t o a pe rso n o f t he o ppo si t e se x who i s
a husba nd o r a wi fe . Be ca use o f DOMA , t he F e de ra l go ve rnme nt ha s be e n pro hi bi t e d fro m
re co gni z i ng t he l e ga l ma rri a ge s o f sa me -se x co upl e s fo r purpo se s o f F e de ra l be ne fi t pro gra ms.
On June 26, 2013, t he S upre me Co urt rul e d t ha t S e ct i o n 3 o f DOMA i s unco nst i t ut i o na l . A s a
re sul t o f t hi s de ci si o n, t he U ni t e d S t a t e s Offi ce o f Pe rso nne l Ma na ge me nt i s no w a bl e t o e xt e nd
be ne fi t s t o l e ga l l y ma rri e d sa me -se x spo use s o f F e de ra l e mpl o ye e s a nd a nnui t a nt s. F o r purpo se s
o f be ne fi t s co ve t • a ge , yo u must fo l l o w t he sa me pro ce dure s yo u curre nt l y fo l l o w whe n e nro l l i ng
a n o ppo si t e -se x spo use o r chi l dre n} o f a n o ppo si t e-se x ma rri a ge . The purpo se o f t hi s l e t t e r i s t o
pro vi de i nfo rma t i o n t ha t wi l l a ssi st yo u i n i mpl e me nt i ng t hi s cha nge a nd co unse l i ng e mpl o ye e s.
Ge ne ra l Info rma t i o n
• Be ca use e xi st i ng sa me -se x ma rri a ge s we re no t re co gni z e d by t he F e de ra l go ve rnme nt
be fo re t hi s S upre me Co urt de ci si o n, a l l l e ga l sa me -se x ma rri a ge s t ha t pre da t e t he
de ci si o n a re be i ng t re a t e d a s ne w ma rri a ge s; e nro l l e e s wi l l ha ve 60 da ys fro m June 26,
2013 (i . e . , unt i l A ugust 26, 2013) fo r e nro l l me nt a ct i o ns.
• Be ne fi t s co ve ra ge i s no w a va i l a bl e t o a l e ga l l y ma rri e d sa me -se x spo use o f a F e de ra l
e mpl o ye e o r a nnui t a nt , re ga rdl e ss o f t he e mpl o ye e ' s o r a nnui t a nt ' s st a t e o f re si de ncy.
• Le ga l sa me -se x ma rri a ge s e nt e re d i nt o fo l l o wi ng t hi s de ci si o n wi l l be t re a t e d i n t he sa me
ma nne r a s o ppo si t e -se x ma rri a ge s, re ga rdl e ss o f a n e mpl o ye e ' s o r a nnui t a nt ' s st a t e o f
re si de ncy.
• F o r F EHR a nd PEGLI, we e nco ura ge e mpl o yi ng o ffi ce s t o e xe rci se fi l e xi bi l i t y i n t he use
o f t he i r be l a t e d e nro l l me nt s a ut ho ri t y fo r e nro l l me nt a ct i o ns fo l l o wi ng t he 60-da y t i me
pe ri o d.
• F EHB a nd F EDVIP ca rri e t • s wi l l be i nst ruct e d t o fo l l o w t he sa me pro ce dure s t he y fo l l o w
whe n a ddi ng o r pro vi di ng co ve ra ge fo r a n o ppo si t e -se x spo use o r chi l d(ce n) o f o ppo si t e -
se x ma rri a ge s.
• The S upre me Co urt ' s de ci si o n a ddre sse d t he co nsCi t ut i o na l i t y o f a st a t ut e t ha t de fi ne d
"ma rri a ge " a nd "spo use " fo r purro se s o f fe de ra l l a w t o i ncl ude o nl y o ppo si t e -se x
DA 17 9
c o u p l e s . 7 ' h e r e f o i • e , s ame- s e x c o u p l e s wh o ar e i n a c i v i l u n i o n o r o t h e r f o r ms o f d o me s t i c
p ar t n e r s h i p o t h e r t h an mar r i ag e wi l l r e mai n i n e l i g i b l e f o r mo s t F e d e r al b e n e f i t s p r o g r ams .
Th e r e i s n o c h an g e t o t h e b e n e f i t s OPM h as e x t e n d e d , t o t h e e x t e n t p e r mi s s i b l e u n d e r t h e
l aw, t o s ame- s e x d o me s t i c p ar t n e r s . Th e r e d e r al Lo n g Te r m Car e I n s u r an c e Pr o g r am
r e g u l at i o n s al l o w t h o s e i n d i v i d u al s wh o s at i s f y t h e d o me s t i c p ar t n e r s h i p s t an d ar d t o b e
t r e at e d as q u al i f y i n g r e l at i v e s f o r F e d e r al / p o s t al e mp l o y e e s an d an n u i t an t s .
F r o m t h i s p o i n t f o r war d , t h e wo r d "s p o u s e " i n an y OPM d o c u me n t at i o n p e r t ai n i n g t o t h e
p r o g r ams d i s c u s s e d i n t h i s BAL r e f e r s t o b o t h s ame an d o p p o s i t e- s e x s p o u s e s , t h e wo r d
"mac • r i ag e " r e f e r s t o b o t h s ame an d o p p o s i t e- s e x mar r i ag e s , an d t h e wo r d "c h i l d " r e f e r s t o
c h i l d r e n o f b o t h s ame an d o p p o s i t e- s e x mar r i ag e s . I f t h e r e i s a n e e d t o d i f f e r e n t i at e
b e t we e n s ame an d o p p o s i t e- s e x s p o u s e s , t h e i r mai t i • i ag e s o r c h i l d ( r e n ) , OPM wi l l d o s o
e x p l i c i t l y .
I f y o u h av e an e l e c t r o n i c e n r o l l me n t s y s t e m, p l e as e d o t h e n e c e s s ar y t e s t i n g an d u p d at i n g
t o e n s u r e t h at e n r o l l e e s wi l l n o t e n c o u n t e r p r o b l e ms wh e n e n r o l l i n g t h e i r n e wl y e l i g i b l e
s p o u s e s o r c h i t d ( r e n ) . I f s y s t e m u p d at e s c an n o t b e mad e i mme d i at e l y , p l e as e p r o v i d e
y o u r e mp l o y e e s wi t h t h e ap p r o p r i at e p ap e r f o r ms t h at wi l l al l o w f o r e n r o l l me n t ac t i o n s t o
Dr e w• b e f o r e t h e s y s t e m h as b e e n u p d at e d . F o r F EHB, p l e as e u s e SF 2809 an d f o r F EGLI
SF 2817 .
F e d e r al e mp l o y e e s I ~ e al t h Be n e f i t s ( F EHB) Pr o g r am
Wh at ar e t h e c h an g e s t o F EHB Pr o g r am f ami l y me n n b e r e l i g i b i l i t y r u l e s ?
As a r e s u l t o f t h e Su p r e me Co u r t ' s d e c i s i o n , l e g al l y mar r i e d s ame- s e x s p o u s e s wi l l n o w b e
e l i g i b l e f ami l y me mb e r s u n d e r a Se l f an d F ami l y e n r o l l me n t . Co v e r ag e i s av ai l ab l e t o n l e g al l y
mar r i e d s ame- s e x s p o u s e o f a F e d e r al e mp l o y e e o r an n u i t an t , r e g ar d l e s s o f t ~ i s o r h e r s t at e
o f r e s i d e n c y . Th i s d e c i s i o n d o e s n o t e x t e n d c o v e r ag e t o r e g i s t e r e d d o me s t i c p ar t n e r s o r
i n d i v i d u al s i n c i v i l u n i o n s .
I n ad d i t i o n , t h e c h i l d r e n o f s ame- s e x n n ar r i ag e s wi l l b e t r e at e d i n t h e s ame man n e r as t h o s e o f
o p p o s i t e- s e x mar r i ag e s an d wi l l b e e l i g i b l e f ami l y me mb e r s ac c o r d i n g t o t h e s ame e l i g i b i l i t y
g u i d e l i n e s . Th i s i n c l u d e s c o v e r ag e f o r c h i l d r e n o f s ame- s e x s p o u s e s as s t e p c h i l d r e n .
Ex amp l e : To n y a i s an F EHB e n r o l l e e . Sh e an d h e r s ame- s e x s p o u s e , Sal l y , h av e t wo c h i l d r e n
t o g e t h e r b u t . To n y a i t n o t b i o l o g i c al l y r e l at e d t o t h e c h i l c l r c n n o r h u s . r h e ad o p t e d t h e m. Bas e d o n
t h e e l i g i b i l i t y c h an g e s , To n y a c an c o v e r Sme l l y an d t h e i r c h i l d r e n u n d e r h e r Se l f an d F ami l y
e n r o l l me n t , I f To n y a al r e ad y h as a Se l f an d I ~ ami l y e n r o l l me n t , . s h e may c o n t ac t h e r c ar r i e r
d i r e c t l y t o n o t i f y i t o f h e r n e wl y e l i g i b l e f ami l y me mb e r s . I f To n y a h as a Se l f On l y e n r o l l me n t ,
s h e wi l l n e e d t o c o mp l e t e an ST 2809 t o c h a~ ag e h e r e n r o l l r r c e n t t o Se l f ' an d F ami l y .
' Th e s e c h an g e s t o f ami l y me mb e r e l i g i b i l i t y ar e e f f e c t i v e i mme d i at e l y .
Wh e n wi l t n e w e n r o l l me n t s an d e n r o l l me n t c h an g e s b as e d o n t h e Co u r t ' s d e c i s i o n b e
e f f e c t i v e ?
OPM wi l l c o n s i d e r t h e d at e o f t h e Co u r t s d e c i s i o n as t h e d at e o f t h e e v e n t t h at p e x • mi t s t h e
~ ' 1
e n r o l l m e n t o r chan ge . Em pl o ye e s an d an n u i t an t s w i l l have fr o m Ju n e 26, 2013, u n t i l Au gu st 26,
20] 3, t o m ake chan ge s t o t he i r FEHI3 e n r o l l m e n t . Em pl o ye e s, bu t n o t an n u i t an t s,.m ay al so
e n r o l l du r i n g t hi s t i m e . S pe ci fi c e ffe ct i ve dat e s ar e as fo l l o w s:
• T f an e m pl o ye e e n r o l l s o r chan ge s fr o m S e l f On l y t o S e l f an d Fam i l y t o co ve r a spo u se ,
t he e n r o l l m e n t o r chan ge i s e ffe ct i ve o n t he fi r st day o f t he fi r st pay pe r i o d t hat be gi n s
aft e r t he dat e t he e m pl o yi n g o ffi ce r e ce i ve s t he appr o pr i at e r e q u e st an d t hat fo l l o w s a pay
pe r i o d du r i n g an y par t o f w hi ch t he e m pl o ye e i s i i i pay st at u s.
• If an an n u i t an t chan ge s fr o m S e l f On l y t o S e l f an d Fan n i l y t o co ve r a spo u se , t he chan ge
i s e ffe ct i ve o n t he fi r st day o f t he fi r st pay pe r i o d t hat be gi n s aft e r t he dat e t he r e t i r e m e n t
syst e m r e ce i ve s t he appr o pr i at e r e q u e st .
If t he e m pl o ye e cho o se s t o e n r o l l o r chan ge t o S e l f an d Fam i l y base d o n acq u i r i n g a
chi l d, t he chan ge i s e ffe ct i ve o n t he fi r st day o f t he pay pe r i o d i n w hi ch t he chi l d be cam e
an e l i gi bl e fam i l y m e m be r fo r FEII~ 3 pu r po se , Ju n e 26, 2013. An n u i t an t s m ay al so
cho o se t o chan ge t o S e l f an d Fam i l y base d o n acq u i r i n g a chi l d.
No t e : T l ae S e l f an d Fam i l y pr e m i u m be gi n s o n t he e ffe ct i ve dat e o f t he chan ge t o S e l f an d
Fam i l y, bu t co ve r age fo r t he chi l d an d .spo u se can n o t be gi n u n t i l t he act u al dat e o f t he
S a~ pr e m e Co u r t 's de ci si o n (w he n t he chi l d be co m e s an e l i gi bl e fan ci l y 1n ,e m be r ) o r dat e o f
t he m ar r i age (i f afCe r t he de ci si o n ) . T he r e i s n o pay st at u s r e q u i r e m e n t u n de r t hi s
ci r cu m st an ce .
We e n co u r age e m pl o yi n g o ffi ce s t o e x e r ci se fl e x i bi l i t y i n t he u se o f t he i r be l at e d
e n r o l l m e n t s au t ho r i t y fo r e n r o l l m e n t act i o n s fo l l o w i n g t he 60-day t i m e pe r i o d. Whe n a
be l at e d e n r o l l m e n t i s al l o w e d, e m pl o yi n g o ffi ce s sho u l d pr o vi de an addi t i o n al 60 days t o
m ake e n r o l l m e n t chan ge s—fo r a pe r i o d o f u p t o 6 m o n t hs fo l l o w i n g t he r e l e ase o f t he
S u u r e m e Co u r t de ci si o n . Whe n pr o ce ssi n g a l at e e l e ct i o n , i n di cat e t he r e aso n fo r do i n g
so i n t he Re m ar ks se ct i o n o f t he 2809. Co ve r age w i l l be e ffe ct i ve t he fi r st day o f t he fi r st
pay pe r i o d t hat be gi n s aft e r t he dat e t he e n r o l l m e n t chan ge i s r e ce i ve d.
Wu at do e s an i n di vi du al n e e d t o do t o co ve r a spo u se o r ~ chi l d w ho i s n o w e l i gi bl e ?
If an e n r o l l e e cu r r e n t l y has a S e l f an d T am i l y e n r o l l m e n t , hi s/ he r n e w l y e l i gi bl e spo u se o r
chi l dr e n ) w i l l be au t o m at i cal l y co ve r e d as o f Ju n e 26, 2013. En r o l l e e s sho u l d n o t i fy t he i r
FEHB P r o g ► • a m pl an car r i e r • abo u t t he i r n e w l y e l i gi bl e spo u se an d chi l d(r e n ) . En r o l l e e s do NOT '
n e e d t o co m pl e t e an S F 2809. Ju st l i ke an y o t he r n e w l y e l i gi bl e fam i l y m e m be r , car r i e r s m ay
ask fo r do cu m e n t at i o n , su ch as a val i d m ar r i age l i ce n se , t o co n fi r m e l i gi bi l i t y, bu t car r i e r s w i l l be
i n st r u ct e d t o fo l l o w t he sam e pr o ce du r e s t he y cu r r e n t l y fo l l o w w he n addi n g: a spo u se o r chi l d t o
a S e l f an d Pam i l y e n r o l l m e n t . Car r i e r s w i l l be cau t i o n e d agai n st i m po si n g an y n e w r u l e s i n
r e spo n se t o t he S u pr e m e Co u r t 's de ci si o n t hat co u l d he se e n as havi n g e i t he r t he pu r po se o r
e ffe ct o f cr e at i n g bar r i e r s t o e n r o l l m e n t fo r l e gal l y m ar r i e d sam e-se x co u pl e s.
If an e n r o l l e e cu r r e n t l y has a S e l f On l y e n r o l l m e n t an d w o u l d l i ke t o chan ge t o a S e l f an d
Fam i l y e n r o l l m e n t i n o ► • d e r t o add hi s/ he r sam e-se x spo u se o r n e w l y e l i gi bl e chi i d(r e n ) , he / she
DA181
must do so by August 26, 2013. I n di v i dua l s must use a n SF 2809 or th ei r a gen cy sel f - serv i ce
en rol l men t system to ma ke a n en rol l men t ch a n ge. Th e l i f e ev en t code to use on th e SF 2809 i s
"1~C" f or empl oyees pa rti ci pa ti n g i n premi um con v ersi on , "2B" f or a n n ui ta n ts ( i n cl udi n g OWCP
reci pi en ts) , "4C" f or f ormer empl oyees on TCC, a n d "SC" f or empl oyees n ot pa rCi ci pa ti n g i n
premi um con v ersi on . I f a n em• ol l ee does n ot ch a n ge h i s or h er el ecti on duri n g th e 60- da y
wi n dow a n d i s n ot a l l owed a bel a ted en rol l men t, h e/ sh e must wa i t un ti l th e a n n ua l Open Sea son
or a n oth er Qua l i f yi n g Li f e Ev en t to ma ke a n en rol l men t ch a n ge.
I f a n empl oyee i s n ot curren tl y en rol l ed i n th e FEHS Progra m a n d woul d l i ke to en rol l i n a
Sel f a n d Fa mi l y pl a n to cov er h i s/ h er n ewl y el i gi bl e f a mi l y members, h e/ sh e must do so by
August 26, 2013. Empl oyees must use a n SF 2809 or th ei r a gen cy sel f - serv i ce en rol l men t
system. Th e QLE code i s "1C" f or empl oyees pa rti ci pa ti n g i n premi um con v ersi on a n d "5C" f or
empl oyees n ot pa rti ci pa ti n g i n premi um con v ersi on .
I f a n empl oyee does n ot en rol l duri n g th e 60- da y wi n dow a n d i s n ot a l l owed a bel a ted
en rol l men t, h e/ sh e must wa i t.un ti l th e a n n ua l Open Sea son or a n oth er Qua l i f yi n g Li f e Ev en t to
em• ol l i n a pl a n . Open Sea son wi l l begi n i n Nov ember 2013. New en rol l men ts ma dc duri n g
Open Sea son wi l l be ef f ecti v e on th e f i rst da y of th e f i rst pa y peri od th a t begi n s i n Ja n ua ry 2014,
a n d th a t f ol l ows a pa y peri od duri n g a n y pa rt of wh i ch th e empl oyee i s i ~~ a pa y sta tus.
An n ui ta n ts ( i n cl udi n g OWCP reci pi en ts) wh o a re n ot en rol l ed i n FEHB ma y n ot en rol l
ba sed on a n ew o ► • n ewl y el i gi bl e ma rri a ge.
For empl oyees wh o pa rti ci pa te i n premi um con v ersi on , ca n cel l a ti on of a n FEHB
en rol l z n eut wi l l on l y be a l l owed i n order to a v oi d dua l en rol l men ts. I f two I 'EHB en rol l ees a re
ma rri ed a n d n ewl y el i gi bl e a s spouses ba sed on th e Supreme Court deci si on , th e empl oyees ma y
con sol i da te th ei r FEHB en rol l men ts i n to on e Sel f a n d Fa mi l y en rol l men t by ca n cel l i n g on e
en rol l men t a n d ma ki n g ch a n ges, i f n eeded, to th e oth er. I 'EHI 3 en rol l ees a re en coura ged to
n oti f y th ei r F HB ca rri er of a n y n ewl y el i gi bl e f a mi l y members un der a Sel t'a n d Fa mi l y
en rol l men t.
Note.• Ca n cel l a ti on i s a l l owed a t a n y ti me by ( 1) a n n ui ta n ts a n d ( 2) empl oyees wh o wa i v ed
pa rti ci pa ti on i n premi um con v ersi on .
How wi l l sa me- sex ma rri a ges en tered i n to f ol l owi n g th e i ssue of th i s I etter be trea ted?
For purposes of FEHB cov era ge, a l on g wi th th e oth er ben ef i ts di scussed i n th i s ~3AI ,, l ega l
sa me- sex ma rri a ges en tered i n to a f ter th e i ssue da te of th i s l etter wi l l Ue trea ted i n th e sa me
ma n n er a s opposi te- sex ma rri a ges a n d wi l l tri gger a QLE. Ben ef i ts cov era ge wi l l be a v a i l a bl e to
a l ega l l y ma rri ed sa me- sex spouse of a Federa l empl oyee or a n n ui ta n t, rega rdl ess of th e
empl oyee's or a n n ui ta n t's sta te of resi den cy.
4
How wi l l same-sex di vorces be treated fol l owi ng the i ssu e of thi s l etter?
Por pu rposes of PT I -I B coverage, al ong wi th the other benefi ts di scu ssed i n thi s B AL, same-sex
di vorces fol l owi ng the i ssu e date of thi s l etter wi l l be treated i n the. same manner as opposi te-sex
di vorces and wi l l tri gger a QLE.
Federal Empl oyees Grou p Li fe I nsu rance (FEGLI )
Wl i at are the changes to the FEGLI el i gi bi l i ty ru l es?
Legal l y marri ed same-sex spou ses and chi l dren of I cgal same-sex marri ages are now el i gi bl e
fami l y members u nder the FEGLI Program. T hi s means that same-sex spou ses and chi l dren of
same-sex marri ages are covered u nder Opti on C l i fe i nsu rance and the order of precedence i n the
same manner as opposi te-sex spou ses and chi l dren of opposi te-sex marri ages.
Coverage of a same-sex spou se or chi l dren of same-sex marri ages u nder an Opti on C enrol l ment
i s avai l abl e to any l egal l y marri ed same-sex spou se of any Federal empl oyee or annu i tant,
regardl ess of the empl oyee's or annu i tant's state of resi dency. T hi s deci si on does not extend to
regi stered domesti c partners or i ndi vi du al s i n a ci vi l u ni on.
T hese changes to el i gi bi l i ty are effecti ve i mmedi atel y. Empl oyees wi l l have GO days from Ju ne
26, 2013 (i . e. , u nti l Au gu st 26, 2013) to make changes to thei r PEGLI enrol l ment. We encou rage
empl oyi ng offi ces to exerci se fl exi bi l i ty i n the u se of thei r bel ated enrol l ments au thori ty for
enrol l ment acti ons fol l owi ng the 60-day ti the peri od. When a bel ated enrol l ment i s al l owed,
empl oyi ng offi ces shou l d provi de an addi ti ona160 days to make enrol l ment changes—for a
peri od of u p to G months fol l owi ng the rel ease of the Su preme Cou rt deci si on. Coverage wi l l be
effecti ve retroacti ve to tl ~ e fi rst day of the fi rst pay peri od fol l owi ng the one i ncl u di ng Ju ne 26,
2013, and the enrol l ee wi l l be responsi bl e for retroacti ve premi u ms.
How can an empl oyee or annu i tant cover hi s or l eer same-sex spou se u nder an Opti on C
FEGLI enrol l ment?
I f an empl oyee or annu i tant has al ready pu rchased Opti on C coverage, a I ega(l y marri ed
same-sex spou se i s au tomati cal l y covered u nder the exi sti ng enrol l ment.
I f an empl oyee does not have Opti on C and wi shes to el ect i t or to i ncrease ti ffs/ her nu mber
of mu l ti pl es to cover newl y el i gi bl e fami l y members, he/ she mu st do so by Au gu st 26, 2013.
'T he empl oyee needs to compl ete an SF 2817. gi ven i f the marri age occu rred more than 60 days
pri or to the Su preme Cou rt's deci si on, the l i fe event al l owi ng the change to cover asame-sex
spou se i s the (newl y recogni zed) marri age. I f the coverage i s for a formerl y i nel i gi bl e chi l d, the
l i fe event i s acq u i si ti on of a newl y el i gi bl e chi l d. T he l i fe event code for addi ng ei ther a spou se
or chi l dren) of a same-sex marri age i s 2.
t ' t~
Employees wlio hive waived Basic and/or Optional FEGLI coverage will be allowed to
cancel their waiver based on a change of family circu mstances. Employees with no coverage
will be allowed to enroll in IIasic and any Optional insu rance u p to the maximu m. For those
with existing FEGLI coverage, they will be allowed to newly elect or increase Optional
insu rance u p to the maximu m. New enrollments or changes to existing enrollments mu st be
made by Au gu st 26, 2013.
Annu itants will not be allowed to cancel a waiver for Basic and/or Optional FF,GLI coverage,
nor will they be allowed to increase their mu ltiples of Option B or C coverage if they are already
enrolled.
Federal Employees Dental and Vision (F~DVIP) Program
What are the changes to the FEDVIP eligibility ru les?
As a resu lt of the Su preme Cou rt decision, legally married same-sex spou ses will now be eligible
family members u nder a Self and Family enrollment or a Setf Plu s One enrollment. Coverage is
now available to any legally married same-sex spou se of any Federal employee or annu itant,
regardless of the employee's or annu itant's state of residency. This decision does not extend
FEDVIP coverage to registered domestic partners or individu als in civil u nions.
Tn addition, the children of same-sex marriages will be treated in the same manner as those of
opposite-sex marriages and will be eligiU le family members according to the same eligibility
gu idelines. Phis inclu des coverage for children of same-sex spou ses as stepchildren.
These changes are effective immediately. Enrollees will have 60 days from Ju ne 26, 2013, (i. e. ,
u ntil Au gu st 26, 2013) to make changes to their FEDVII' enrollment.
What does an individu al need to do to cover a spou se or a child who is now eligible?
If an enrollee cu rrently has a Self and Family enrollment, the enrollee mu st notify
BENEPEDS of any additional family members by calling the BENEFEDS Cu stomer Service
Center, (1-877-888-3337) within 60 days from Ju ne 26, 2013 (i. c. , u ntil Au gu st 26, 2013). As
v~ith any other newly eligible family member, carriers may ask for docu mentation su ch as a valid
marriage license to confirm eligibility, bu t carriers will he inskru cked to follow the same
procedtn~es they u su ally follow when adding an opposite-sex spou se to a Self and Family
enrollment. Carriers will be cau tioned against imposing any new ru les in response to the
Su preme Cou rt's decision that cou ld be seen as having either the pu rpose or effect of creating
barriers to enrollment for legally married same-sex cou ples.
If an enrollee cu rrently has a Self Only enrollment ar a Self Plu s One enrollment and wou ld
like to change enrollment in order to cover the enrollee's same-sex spou se or newly eligible
child(ren), he/she mu st do so by Au gu st 26, 2013. Enrollees may su bmit a change by calling the
BENEPLDS Cu stomer Service Center. Enrollees with a Self Plu s One enrollment hoping to
change their covered family member mu st wait u ntil the annu al Open Season.
11 ~ :~
Will new enr o llnieu t s be allo wed?
Mar r iage is no t an event t h at p er m it s a new FEDVIP enr o llm ent . Em p lo yees , annu it ant s , and
c o nap ens at io ner s wh o ar e no t enr o lled in ~FDVIP will no t be allo wed t o enr o ll in a FEDVIP p lan
u nt il t h e annu al Op en Seas o n.
Feder al Lo ng-Ter m Car e_Ins u r anc e Pr o ~r nm (TLTCIP)
Wh at ar e t h e c h anges t o FLTCIP eligibilit y r u les ?
l egally m ar r ied s am e-s ex s p o u s es o f Feder al em p lo yees and annu it ant s ar e no w q u alified
► • e l a t i v e s eligible t o ap p ly fo r FLTCIP c o ver age. Th e Su p r em e Cou► -t dec is io n do es no t c h ange
t h e exis t ing FLTCIP p o lic y t h at allo ws s am e-s ex do m es t ic p ar t ner s o f Feder al/ p o s t al em p lo yees
and annu it ant s t o enr o ll as q u alifying r elat ives .
May FL'TCIP eligible individu als and/ o r t h eir newly eligible s p o u s es ap p ly fo r c o ver age
wit h abbr eviat ed u nder wr it ing as a r es u lt o f t h e Su p r em e Co u r t dec is io n?
FLTCIP eligible individu als and t h eir q u alifying r elat ives m ay ap p ly fo r c o ver age at any t im e.
Bec au s e s am e-s ex m ar r iages wer e no t r ec o gnized by t h e Feder al go ver nm ent p r io r t o t h e
Su p r em e Co u r t dec is io n, s anne-s ex m ar r iages t h at p r edat e t h e dec is io n will be c o ns ider ed new
m ar r iages o n Ju ne 26, 2013. Newly eligible legally m ar r ied s am e-s ex s p o u s es o f c u r r ent
em p lo yees and ac t ive m em ber s o f t h e u nifo r m ed s er vic es will h ave 60 days fr o i~i Tu ne 26, 2013
(i. e. , u nt il Au gu s t 26, 2013), t o ap p ly fo r c o ver age wit h abbr eviat ed u nder wr it ing. Aft er t h e GO-
day o p p o r t u nit y t o enr o ll, s am e-s ex s p o u s es o f c u r r ent em p lo yees and ac t ive m em ber s o f t h e
u nifo r m ed s er vic es will be s u bj ec t t o fu ll u nder wr it ing. Newly eligible legally m ar r ied s am e-s ex
s p o u s es o f annu it ant s , r et ir ed m em ber s o f t h e u nifo r m ed s er vic es and o t h er q u alifying r elat ives ,
s u c h as p ar ent s-in-law, m ay ap p ly t o enr o ll at any t im e and ar e s u bj ec t t o fu ll u nder wr it ing.
May c u r r ent enr o llees inc r eas e, dec r eas e, o r c anc el t h eir c o ver age as a r es u lt o f t h e
Su p r em e Co u r t dec is io n?
Enr o llees m ay inc r eas e, dec r eas e, o t • c anc el t h eir c o ver age at any t im e. Inc r eas es in c o ver age
m ade o u t s ide o f Op en Seas o n, inc lu ding Th o s e m ade as a r es u lt o f t h e Su p r em e Co u r t dec is io n,
ar e s u bj ec t t o fu ll u ndeewr it ing (§875. 406).
Will p ar ent s o f as am e-s ex s p o u s e o f an eligible wo r kfo r c e m em ber Ue q u alified r elat ives
u nder FLTCIP?
Yes , p ar ent s o f legally m ar r ied s am e-s ex s p o u s es will be eligible as q u alified r elat ives o f Feder al
em p lo yees , p o s t al em p lo yees , o r ac t ive m em ber s o f t h e Unifo r m ed Ser vic es , j u s t as t h e p ar ent s
o f o p p o s it e-s ex s p o u s es ai• e. Par ent s o f a~inu it ant s a ► • e no t eligible as q u alif c d r elat ives .
Fo r m o r e info r m at io n abo u t t h e FLTCIP, p leas e c o nt ac t Lo ng Ter m Car e Par t ner s at I (800)582-
3337, o r vis it t h e webs it e at www. it c feds . c o m .
7
DA1. 8 5
Tederal F lex i b le Spendi ng Accounts (F SAF EDS)
What are the changes to F SAF EDS rei mb ursement eli gi b i li ty ?
Ef f ecti v e i mmedi ately , an employ ee who i s enrolled i n F SAF EDS may req uest rei mb ursement
f or eli gi b le health ca~ • e ex penses i ncurred b y a legally marri ed same-sex spouse or related chi ld.
] n addi ti on, chi ldcare f oc a chi ld of an enrollee' s same-sex spouse i s eli gi b le under a Dependent
Carc F SA. The ab i li ty to seek rei mb ursement f rom an F SA account f or the health care ex penses
of an employ ee' s chi ld wi 1 1 depend on IRS dependency rules, wi th the li mi ted ex cepti on that
chi ldren who are eli gi b le to sub mi t clai ms through the end of the calendar y ear i n whi ch they
turn age 26 are eli gi b le under a T~ ealth Care F SA wi thout regard to tax or resi dence dependency .
Can an i ndi v i dual now enroll or make a change i n the amount of an electi on?
Yes. Because same-sex marri ages were not recogni zed b y the F ederal gov ernment pri or to thi s
Supreme Court deci si on, all F ederal employ ees i n legal same-sex marri ages that predated thi s
deci si on wi ll he consi dered to hav e a change i n f ami ly status (f rom unmarri ed to marri ed) on
June 26, 201 3. As a result, employ ees i n ex i sti ng same-sex marri ages wi ll hav e 60 day s
f ollowi ng the date of the deci si on (i . e. , unti l August 26, 201 3) to enroll i n or make changes to
thei r ex i sti ng F SAPEDS account. Any changes made to the account must b e consi stent wi th the
li f e ev ent. In thi s case, Newly eli gi b le spouses and/or chi ldren may result i n an i ncreased, b ut not
a decreased, electi on. If an enrollee does not change hi s or her electi on duri ng the 60-day
wi ndow, he/she must wai t unti l the annual Open Season or another Quali f y i ng L i f e ; v ent to
make an enrollment change.
Note: New enrollments and i ncreased electi ons b ased on a QL E wi ll not b e accepted af ter
Septemb er 30, 201 3.
Need more i nf ormati on? Call F SAF EllS at 1 -877-372-3337/ TTY 1 -800-952-0450.
If y ou. hav e any q uesti ons ab out the i nf ormati a~ prov i ded i n thi s letter; please contact y our
Headq uarters Insurance Of f i cer. If y ou are a Headq uarters Insurance Of f i cer, please contact
Barb ara My ers (Barb ara. My ers@opm. gov ) or Amb er Hudson (Amb er. Hudson(~ opm. gov ) f or
operati onal q uesti ons. Por poli cy q uesti ons, please contact Chelsea Ruedi ger
(Chelsea. Ruedi ~ er a opm. ,~ ov ,).
Si ncerely ,
John O' Bri en
Di rector f or Healthcare and Insurance
DA1 86
EBSA News R el ea se: New guida nce issued by US La bor Depa rtment on sa me- sex ma rria . . . Pa ge 1 of 1
United Sta tes Depa rtment of La bor
Secreta ry of La bor Thoma s E. Perez
NOTICE: Due to suspension of Federa l government services, this website is not being regul a rl y upda ted.
News R el ea se
EBSA News R el ea se: [09/1 8/201 3]
Conta ct Na me: Mike Trupo or La ura McGinnis
Phone Number: (202) 693- 6586 or x 4668
Ema il : Truno. Micha el 2Ca l dol . a ov or McGinnis. La ura ,K C~ dol . a Q v_
R el ea se Number: 1 3- 1 720- NAT
New guida nce issued by US La bor Depa rtment on sa me- sex ma rria ges a nd empl oyee benefit pl a ns
WASHINGTON —The U. S. Depa rtment of La bor toda y a nnounced new guida nce interpretl ng the Supreme Court' s decision in United Sta tes v. Windsor. In a
technica l rel ea se, the depa rtment' s Empl oyee Benefits Security Administra tion provides guida nce to pl a ns, pl a n sponsors, fiducia ries, pa rticipa nts a nd
beneficia ries on the decision' s impa ct nn the Empl oyee R etirement Income Security Act of 1 974.
The rel ea se sta tes tha t, In genera l , the terms "spouse" a nd "ma rria ge" in Titl e I of ER ISA a nd in rel a ted depa rtment regul a tl ons shoul d be rea d to incl ude sa me-
sex coupl es l ega l l y ma rried In a ny sta te or foreign j urisdiction tha t recoynizes such ma rria ges, rega rdl ess of where they currentl y Iive. On ]une 26, 201 3, the
Windsordecision struck down the provisions of the Defense of Ma rria ge Act tha t denied federa l benefits to l ega l l y ma rried, sa me- sex coupl es.
' This decision represents a historic step towa rd eq ua l ity for a l l America n fa mil ies, a nd I ha ve directed the depa rtment' s a gency hea ds to ensure tha t they a re
impl ementing the decision in a wa y tha t provides ma x imum protection for workers a nd their fa mil ies," sa id Secreta ry of La bor Thoma s E. Perez. "The
depa rtment pl a ns to Issue a dditiona l guida nce in the coming months a s we continue to consul t with the Depa rtment of J ustice a nd other federa l a gencies to
impl ement the decision. "
"By providing grea ter cl a rity on how the Supreme Court' s decision a ffects one of the l a ws we enforce, we a re contributing to grea ter eq ua l ity a nd grea ter
protection for America ' s working fa mil ies," sa id Assista nt Secreta ry for Empl oyee Benefits Security Phyl l is C. Borzi.
EBSA protects the retirement, hea l th a nd other workpl a ce- rel a ted benefits of America ' s workers, retirees a nd their fa mil ies. The a gency oversees a pprox ima tel y
701 ,000 priva te sector retirement pl a ns, 2. 3 mil l ion hea l th pl a ns a nd other pl a ns tha t provide benefits to more tha n 1 41 mil l ion America ns. Col l ectivel y, these
pl a ns hol d more tha n $7. 3 tril l ion in a sseks. Additl ona l Informa tion ca n be found a t www. dol . a ov/ebsa /.
The ful l tex t of the technica l rel ea se is a va il a bl e a t ~ 1 ww. doi. govl ebsa /newsroom/tr1 3. 04. html .
DA1 8 7
http: //www. dol . gov/opa /media /press/ebsa /EBSA20l 31 720. htm
1 0/8/201 3
- ~ - - ~ .
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UNDER SECRETARY OF QEFENSE
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WASWINGTON, D. C. 2Q301- 1000
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1~ IEMO~ NDU, M FCOR. SE~ RETARI~ B QF THE:MILITARY DEPA:~ TM. ENTS
CHIEFS:. O~ ` T` H~ 1v 1ILITA. It Y SERVICES'
SUB. JECT:. Fu r t h e r Gu idance o n. Ex t e nding b e ne f it s t o Sam e - Se x ~ ` Spau s e s o f Milit ar y Me m b e r s
REFERENCE: (a} De ~ ar km ~ nt o f De f e r ns e Ins t x u c" t io n 132 :06 , " Lav e and. L b e r t y Po licy and.
Pr o ce du r e s ; " Jcu ie • 1. 6 , . 2009 .
As Se cr e t ar y Ch u ck He ge l h as s t at e d; no v s + t h at t h e Su pr e u ~ ~ Co t u ~ h as , l~ ~ ld s e e t ian 3 ~ af
t h e De ~ ' e ns e o f 1~ ar r age . A. ct (D. ~ 01v i1? c) u nco ns x it u t % o nal. , it . is t h e De par t m e nt ' s po licy t o t r e at all
m ax r ie d m ilit ar y pe r s o nne l e q u , ~ lky . Th e : De par t m e nt w ill v ~ o r k t o m ake t h e s au t e ~ e ne ~ t s
av ailab le t o all s po u s e s , : r ~ gar dl~ s s ~ o f w h Et h e r t h e y :ar e in s am e- s e x ar . appo s it e- s e x m ar r iage s ,
and w ill r e co gniz e all. m ar r ia~ e ~ t h at ~ e v alid in t h e glace . o f ce l~ b r at ian.
E~ t e ns io n' o f :t s e ne f it s t o s ar ne ~ s e x s po u s e s w r ill r e q u ir e s o m e po licy r e v is io ns , . and in t h e
cas e o f ' ide nt if icat io n. car ds , . t ~ clai~ e . ~ l` u gg~ ' acle s : a5 t h e De f e ns e En ~ o Plt r ie nf ~ 1i~ ~ b ilit y . It ~ po i r ing
Sy s t e m . cu r r e nt ly do e s . no i au t h o r iz e t h e ~ is s u ar i~ e o f ar i. ide nt i~ icat io n car d t o a s po u s e :o f t h e s am e .
ge nde r . Pe r t h e Se cr e t ar y ' s :m e m o r andu m o f t , Yi s ::dat e , at t ach ~ i~ , ~ Ch e De par t 3ne nt . and t h e m ilit ar y
Se r v ice s w ill t ake at l act r o ~ s ~ ne e ~ s s ar y ~ t a e x t e nd s po u s al b e ne f it s ~ a s anae ~ s e x s po u s e s no lat e r
t h an Se pt e m b e r 3, 2013,
Ent it le m e nt s ar e r e t r o act iv e t o t h e dat e t ~ f t h e Su pr e t z ~ e :Co ~ ir t ' :s de cis io nx 3u ne 26 , 2Q13.
Any claim s t o e nt f t t e nn~ t ~ t s . :b e f a~ c t k~ at dale w ~ ~ ll~ . no t b e gr at if e ~ .
Fu r t h e r , e f f e ct iv e innm ~ diat e l}~ , in. r e e o ~ n ~ i. o n o f t h e pct t h at . m ar r y s t at e s do nQt
r e co gniz e s ins =s e x m ar r iage , t au s t n~ ~ m o r andu m s t pple m e nt s : t h e po licy langu age y n r ~ f e r e nc~
De par t m e nt o f De f e ns e Ins t r u ct io n 1327:U6 " Le av e and. Lib e r t y Fo lit cy and Pr o ce du r e s " t o
au t h o r iz e no n~ ch ar ge ab le m ar r iage le av e w h e r e :a. Se r v ice m e m Y~ e r is a. par t o f a s am e =s e x e o u pl8
and is as s igne d t o a du t y . . s t at io n. lo cat e d m o r e t h an lOQ: m ile s £r o m ~ U:S. s t at e (o r :t h e Dis t r ict o f
Co lu m b ia] t h at allo w s s am e- s e x co u pl~ s . t c~ ge t m ar r ie d, We w ill co nt inu e ~ t o m o nit o r act io ns b y
s t at e s t o r e co gniz e s am ~ , s ax m ar r iage andx e v is e t h is po lie y . if :nEce s s ar y . Th e f o llo w ing
par agr aph is adde d at . Enclo s u r e 2, par agr aph . 1(k}, No n- Cl~ acge ab le . Le av e , as f o llo w s :
(9 ) Mar r iage Le av e : f o r Sam e- s e x Co u ple s —Th e Se cr e t ar y co nce r ne d m ay gr ant
no n- ch ar ge ab le le av e t o Se r v ice m e m b e r s v v h o ar e in s am e- s e x r e lat io ns h ips and
ar e as s igne d t o du t y s t at io ns lo cat e d m o r e t h an 10. 0 z nile ~ f r o m a U. S:, . s t at e (o r t h e
Dis t r ict o f Co au m b ia) t it . allo w s s am e- s ax co u pJe s ` f o m ar r y , f o r t r av e l t o a s t at e
o r j u r is dict io n t h at allo w s s am e- s e x co u ~ le a t o b e m ar r ie d. V~ h e n t ~ u v o Se r v ice
m e m b e r s w h o ar e as am e - s e x co u ple de s ir e . t o b e m ar r ie d, b o t h m e m b e r s m ay . b e
gr ant e d m ar r iage le av e f o r s ar t m e - s e x co u ple s if q u alif ie d.
r ~ ; s
E l i g i b l e S e r v i c e me mb e r s a ssi g n e d w i t h i n t h e C o r i t i n e n t a t U n i f i e d S t a t e s
~C ONLIS ) ma y b e g r a n t e d : n o z ~- e h a r g e a l l e l e a v e P o s a p e " r i o d o ~ u i p f a 7 d a ys.
E l i g i b l e S e r v i c e me r n b . ~r S a ssi g n e d : o u t si d e C QN[; JS ma y b e : ~a z i t ~d n o n ,-
c h a r g e a b l e l e a v e f o r a p e r i o d . o f u p t o . 1 0 d a ys. Wh e n b o t h me mb e r s o f a . sa me -
se ~ c o u p l e a r e 5 e r v i c e • me r t b e n s, e a c h me mb e r ma y : b e g r a n t e d t h e a p p l i c a b l e
n u n n b e r o f d a ys b a se d o n . h i s: o r h e r . i n d i ~r . i d u a La ssi g n ~n n e n t l o c a t i o n ,
f i x t e n si o n s o f t h i s n o n- c h a r g e a b l e l e a v e p ~r i o d.. f o r f l o e c o n v e n i e n c e o f f h ~ S e r v i c e
z n e mb e r ( s) w i l l b e _ c l ~a r g sd . t o t h e me mb e r 's l e a v e a c o o u n t : • M a r r i a g e 't e a v e ma y
b e g r a n t e d o n l y o n c e d u r i n g t h e . c a r e e r o f a ~e r v i ~. e e mb e r .
T h e . Jo i n t B e n e f i t s. Re v i e w Wo r ki n g Gr o u p w i l l f o c u s. i t s ~f ~a r t s: o n ~x t e n si o n . o f sp o u sa l
b e n e f i t s t o sa me - se x . sp o n se s a n a l . i d e n t i f y a n y i mp e ~u n ~~t s. . t o w a r d s f i i l X ~i mp i e me ~t a t i o n
c o n si st e n t w i t h e ~r r e n t l a w : I a sk f o r yo u r h e l p ~i n r e so l v i n g - i mr n ~d i a t e i y a n y mp ~d i me n t s. t h a x
ma y b ~ i d e n t i f i e d .
A t t a c h me n t s:
A ; s st a t e d
C G:
S e c r e t a r y o f H a me l a n d . . S e c u r i t y
S e c r e t a r y o f H e a l t h a n t i I~Iu ma ~. S e r v i c e s:
S e c r e t a r y o f C o mme r c e
C h a i r ma n o f t h e j o i n t C h i e f s o f S t a f f
C o mma n d a n t o f t h e C o a st Gu a r d
g e n e r a l C o u n se l o f t h e b e p a r t m~n t
o f De f e n se
A ssi st a n t S e c r e t a r y ~f De f e n se f a r
Le g i sl a t i v e A f f a i r s
A ssi st a n t t o t h e S e c r e t a r y o f De f e n se
f o r P u b l i c A f f a i r s
A ssi st a n t S e c r e f i a r i e s o f t h e M i l i t a r y
De p a r t me n t s f o r M a n p o v v ~r a n d Re se r v e
A f f a i r s
1 si c a . Wr i g h t
c l i n g
. ; .

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