Both sides in the battle over whether or not to legalize same-sex marriage in New Jersey had their day in court today.  A ruling isn't expected before September.

Larry Lustberg, Lawyer for Garden State Equality (Kevin McArdle, Townsquare Media NJ)

The attorney representing Garden State Equality, the plantiff, argued that by barring marriage, the state of New Jersey denies same-sex couples the full range of federal benefits, rights, and protections.

“I believe that we did a good job of showing what the harm is,” said Larry Lustberg. “I thought we had a full and fair hearing today. I come out of that hearing feeling very, very optimistic.”

Meanwhile, the State says the only difference between civil unions, which are the law in New Jersey, and marriage is the name. An assistant State Attorney General said the federal government cannot use its power to create inequality in New Jersey which is what it would be doing by denying benefits to people in civil unions.

“No judge or justice has the moral or constitutional authority to change the definition of marriage,” said Jon Tomicki with the New Jersey Coalition to Preserve and Protect Marriage. “It’s not up to the state to define marriage. State laws must reflect some moral law.”