TRENTON, N.J. — New Jersey Supreme Court justices grilled lawyers on the issue of same-sex marriage Wednesday, asking what business the state has barring such unions, but also whether lifting the ban could open the door to legalizing polygamy.
The case involves seven same-sex couples who sued the state, saying it is violating its own constitution by denying them the right to marry.
“How do plaintiffs answer their children’s questions about why they are not married?” asked attorney David Buckell, arguing for the couples. “The only answer is that the state does not think their relationships are worthy.”
Conservative groups filed documents contending that allowing same-sex marriage would harm society. The state did not make that argument in defending its ban, but said allowing same-sex marriage is an issue for legislators, not judges.
“To allow same-sex couples to marry would not be removing a barrier to marriage, but redefining marriage itself,” Deputy Attorney General Patrick DeAlmeida told the court.