TRENTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Seven gay couples filed a lawsuit Wednesday to try again to force New Jersey to recognize gay marriage.

WCBS 880’s Levon Putney With Haley Gorenberg, Deputy Director For Lambda Legal

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In the filing, five of the couples were joined by their children.

They say the state’s civil union law that was intended to give gay couples the same legal protections as marriage has actually created an unconstitutional separate designation.

The suit says the couples’ dignity and finances have been hurt.

“People’s benefits are threatened, their protection coverage rights are threatened or they’re deprived of them entirely,” Haley Gorenberg, Deputy Legal Directory of Lambda Legal, told 1010 WINS. “That’s aside from the insult to their dignity, being told again and again that they’re not equal, not the same, deserving only of some inferior badge for their relationship.”

Gay rights groups suffered two setbacks in New Jersey last year. First, lawmakers failed to pass a law recognizing same-sex marriages. Then, the state Supreme Court declined to take up an old case.

That cleared the way for the new lawsuit.

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Social conservatives say gay marriage is not needed because the state’s civil union law affords protections, and argue that if New Jersey citizens approve of same-sex marriage, then it should be passed through the legislature, as happened in New York, rather than be imposed by the judiciary.

The lawsuit came less than a week after New York legalized gay marriage.

“We feel like there’s real momentum for marriage equality right now especially in the Tri-State area,” Gorenberg said. “At this point New Jersey in standing alone in Tri-State field and not in a good way at all. It’s the only state in the Tri-State region that is not allowing for marriage equality for same sex couples and we think that must end.”

In an interview over the weekend, Gov. Chris Christie again repeated his opposition to same-sex marriage.

“I believe marriage should be between one man and one woman. That’s my view, and that’ll be the view of our state because I wouldn’t sign a bill like the one that was in New York,” Christie said.

What do you think of the merits of this lawsuit? Sound off in our comments section below…

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