Compiled by Dawn Wolfe
New Jersey: The Attorney General’s Office defended the state’s ban on equal marriage rights Sept. 2, reiterating its position that New Jersey’s Constitution does not permit gay unions and that the power to change the definition of marriage rests with the Legislature, not the courts. The state’s 60-page brief, filed with the Appellate Division of Superior Court, challenges a civil lawsuit by seven same-sex couples supported by Lambda Legal which seeks the right for gay and lesbian couples to wed.
Ohio: State officials have not yet determined if the state’s proposed anti-equal marriage rights constitutional amendment, which would be called Issue 1, have enough signatures of registered voters to qualify for the ballot. Cincinnati-based Ohio Campaign to Protect Marriage appears to have fallen about 47,000 signatures short of the 322,899 needed. The group, under law, will have 10 extra days to gather more.
Utah: A new analysis of the proposed state constitutional amendment to ban equal marriage rights raises the possibility of a conflict with the U.S. Constitution’s Equal Protection Clause. It said that it might be argued that the amendment “creates a classification of persons to whom the right to marry is not available.” The three candidates for attorney general have issued a joint statement of concern about the “overly broad language” they say would prohibit the Legislature from extending “even the most basic partnership rights to unmarried couples.”
Washington: The Thurston County Superior Courts has declared the denial of marriage rights unconstitutional under state law. The case will now go to the state Supreme Court. It’s expected that the decision will be stayed until then, meaning same-sex couples will not be able to marry until the Supreme Court hands down its decision.