Garden State Equality
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Garden State Equality
Garden State Equality
The Garden State Equality logo
Map of USA NJ.svg
U.S. State of New Jersey
Area served
New Jersey
Key people
Christian Fuscarino, Executive Director
Crowd at Garden State Equality protest in May 2011

Garden State Equality is a statewide advocacy and education organization in the U.S. state of New Jersey that advocates for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) rights, including same-sex marriage.[1]


Garden State Equality was founded in 2004 by Steven Goldstein; he left the organization in 2013 and Troy Stevenson was promoted to take his role.[2][3]

Garden State Equality v. Paula Dow

In 2011, Lambda Legal filed a lawsuit on behalf of Garden State Equality and six same-sex families against New Jersey, arguing that the state's civil union system failed to provide those same benefits and violated New Jersey's guarantee of equal protection.[4] On September 27, 2013, Judge Mary Jacobson ruled that same-sex marriage should be legal and ordered the state to begin allowing same-sex marriages on October 21, 2013.[5] The state quickly appealed the decision and asked for a stay to delay the implementation of the court order. On October 18, 2013, the Supreme Court of New Jersey unanimously affirmed Judge Jacobson's denial of the stay and ruled that state should begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples as ordered. Hours after the first marriages were officiated on October 21, 2013, the state dropped its legal challenge and New Jersey became the 14th state with the freedom to marry for all couples, barring age restrictions.[6][7][8]


Garden State Equality programming focuses on public policy advocacy and grassroots organizing.[9]

Grassroots programs

The organization's grassroots programs include volunteer work, training, town meetings, and action nights, where participants can provide input on or participate In the organization's work.[10][10]

Garden State Equality stresses the importance of volunteer work for the organization. There are many difference branches of service available within the organization, such as a campaign for the homeless and those in poverty, which helps to gather more information about these minority groups and take action to improve their living standards. This specific campaign not only aids the LGBT community but also often caters to the impoverished, homeless, and incarcerated.[11]

An anti-bullying hotline collects reports from parents, students and others about incidents of bullying against students. The organization visits schools to conduct training for administrators, teachers and other staff on New Jersey's anti-bullying law, and how to comply with it. The organization also conducts a different age-appropriate anti-bullying training for students.

At the annual Equality Walk, volunteers get sponsored by friends to do a two to three mile walk on a Sunday. The walk ends at a pub, where a celebration of the walk's completion is held.

Garden State Equality has held numerous town meetings on LGBT issues, such as same-sex marriage, across the state. The organization also holds telephone town meetings with public officials on conference calls with as many as 200 people.[9] The organization has also held lobby days where volunteers meet with legislators and their staff on LGBT issues.[12]

Former programs

Garden State Equality's former grassroots programs include Activist Institutes that trained volunteers in organizing skills, and the "Equality Express", a motor home that traveled to large events in New Jersey to educate people on LGBT issues. The organization also held "Helping You Personally" seminars, where experts in legal and finance spoke on issues of interest to LGBT people in New Jersey.[]

Prior to legal recognition of same-sex marriages in New Jersey, the organization volunteered to collect letters and postcards in support of marriage equality. The organization developed thirteen caucuses to help to diversify New Jersey's LGBT rights movement. Each caucus serves a different demographic community such as African-Americans, clergy, labor, women, and youth.[]

As a part of legislative dinners, Assembly Members and State Senators met Garden State Equality members at the members' homes. Many New Jersey legislators have attended at least one town meeting or legislative dinner.[]

Legends Dinner

Cynthia Nixon at the 2008 Legends Dinner in Maplewood, New Jersey

Garden State Equality's Legends Dinner is the organization's annual gala attended by 700 to 1,000 guests. Speakers and entertainers have included Governor Mario Cuomo, Senator Frank Lautenberg, Fran Drescher, Cynthia Nixon, Judy Gold, Anthony Rapp, and Jennifer Holliday.[]

See also


  1. ^ "Garden State Equality Director Happy With Marriage Ruling, Will Continue Fight". NJTV News. 2013-09-27. Retrieved 2014.
  2. ^ "N.J.'s most visible gay rights activist steps down, takes Rutgers-Newark job". January 3, 2013.
  3. ^ "Garden State Equality pledges to withhold donations after gay marriage vote". New Jersey On-Line. January 9, 2010.
  4. ^ "Notice of Appeal" (PDF). Garden State Equity v. Dow, N.J. Super. Ct. App. Div., Docket A-0521-13 (Sep. 30, 2013). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-10-04. Retrieved .
  5. ^ David Voreacos and Terrence Dopp (September 27, 2013). "New Jersey Same-Sex Weddings Must Be Allowed, Judge Rules". Bloomberg. Retrieved 2014.
  6. ^ "Garden State Equality v. Paula Dow". ACLU of New Jersey. Retrieved 2014.
  7. ^ Zernike, Kate; Santora, Marc (October 21, 2013). "As Gays Wed in New Jersey, Christie Ends Court Fight". New York Times. Retrieved 2013.
  8. ^ Ax, Joseph (2013-10-18). "New Jersey top court rules gay marriages can begin on Monday". Reuters. Retrieved .
  9. ^ a b "Our Grassroots Programs". Garden State Equality. Archived from the original on February 1, 2014. Retrieved 2014.
  10. ^ a b "About Garden State Equality". Garden State Equality. Retrieved .
  11. ^ "Become a volunteer". Garden State Equality. Retrieved .
  12. ^ Bach, Karl (June 25, 2013). "HRC Joins Garden State Equality to Lobby NJ Legislators". Human Rights Campaign. Retrieved 2014.

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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