In June 2002, seven same-sex couples filed suit alleging that New Jersey’s marriage law violated the New Jersey Constitution’s guarantees of equality and liberty.
The trial court ruled for the State and the New Jersey Supreme Court agreed to hear a direct appeal from the trial court. In a unanimous ruling on October 25, 2006, the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled that denying same-sex couples the right to marry violates their right to equality under the New Jersey Constitution. The Supreme Court gave the legislature 180 days to either amend its existing marriage laws or create some other system to give same-sex couples the same marriage protections under law.
On December 21, 2006, a New Jersey civil union law for same-sex couples was signed into law.