912WASHINGTON D.C. – The New Jersey Supreme Court today issued a ruling that would end discrimination in marriage. Today’s ruling stated that gay and lesbian couples should be afforded all rights and responsibilities of marriage but left it to the New Jersey state legislature to decide within 180 days on how same-gender unions should be legalized.

“Today’s court decision is a tremendous victory and a significant step towards equality in marriage,” said H. Alexander Robinson, NBJC Executive Director/CEO. “As the legislature acts to enforce New Jersey’s constitutional mandate we urge them to remember that separate is never truly equal and they must do the right thing and simply end the exclusion of gay couples from marriage.”

A black lesbian couple, Saundra Toby-Heath and Alicia Heath-Toby of Newark , NJ were among several plaintiffs in the historic court case. The couple who’ve been together for 17 years, stated that “For us, marriage is not a political issue or an academic issue. This is a real issue about our lives. We can’t get family health insurance, so we pay two deductibles instead of one. Our burdens are heavier and our expenses are greater simply because we can’t get legally married”

From a faith perspective, Rev. Kevin Taylor, pastor of the predominantly African American and gay affirming, Unity Fellowship in New Brunswick , NJ feels similarly. “This ruling symbolizes the thousands of couples who are now able to love publicly and legally and the hundreds of churches and clergy who have rallied around this fight with a faith-filled love.”

Robinson added that “The New Jersey victory can and will be replicated in other states. Our cause will prevail.”

The National Black Justice Coalition, is a civil rights organization dedicated to empowering Black same-gender-loving, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered people. The Coalition works with our communities and our allies for social justice, equality, and an end to racism and homophobia.