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Jersey, Washington Marriage Maneuvers
2004-03-10

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'Asbury Park began issuing marriage licenses [Monday] to lesbian and gay couples. At least one couple has received a marriage license already,' reports Lambda Legal Defense. 'It is remarkable when government officials stand up for equality. We support and congratulate all the jurisdictions across the country that have taken this courageous action, including Asbury Park.'

'It's been almost two years since Lambda Legal filed its lawsuit to allow New Jersey's lesbian and gay couples to marry. Our lawsuit, now on appeal, is at an advanced stage in the legal process—far ahead of where any lawsuit would be were it filed now. By the end of this year or by some time next year, we should know whether the New Jersey Supreme Court will allow lesbian and gay couples to marry, and we remain very hopeful,' said Michael Adams, Director of Education & Public Affairs at Lambda Legal.

For more on the ongoing New Jersey lawsuit, go to www.LambdaLegal.org

And in other legal maneuvers, Lambda Legal and the Northwest Women's Law Center filed a lawsuit Monday in state court in Seattle seeking the right to marry for same-sex couples in Washington State.

The case, on behalf of six same-sex couples who were denied marriage licenses Monday at the King County Clerk's office, argues that denying marriage to same-sex couples violates the state Constitution's guarantees of equality, liberty and privacy for all Washingtonians.

The case is the first of its kind to be filed in Washington since the Massachusetts high court ruled that same-sex couples are entitled to full marriage under that state's Constitution.

'As long as gay couples cannot marry, they are not treated equally under the law,' said Jamie Pedersen, Co-Chair of Lambda Legal's Board of Directors and an attorney at the Seattle law firm, Preston Gates & Ellis. 'This case seeks full marriage for lesbian and gay couples in Washington—nothing more and nothing less.'

In addition to Massachusetts (which is set to begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples this spring), Canada began issuing marriage licenses to gay couples last summer, and recently San Francisco, Portland, New Paltz and (briefly) Sandoval County, New Mexico, have followed suit. Washington is among 38 states with laws explicitly prohibiting same-sex couples from marrying.

On Friday, Lambda Legal filed a lawsuit in state court in New York seeking full marriage for couples statewide.


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