Seven gay New Jersey couples and many of their children have filed a lawsuit demanding the state begin recognizing gay marriage.
The couples say in a suit filed Wednesday morning that the state's civil union law creates a separate and unequal system.
Garden State Equality chairman Steven Goldstein says the only fix would be to allow gay marriage.
The suit comes less than a week after New York legalized gay marriage. That law takes effect next month.
NJ Civil unions were created in 2007 after the state Supreme Court said the state had to give gay couples the same rights as married couples.
The plaintiffs say others don't understand their civil unions. That's resulted in partners having trouble being allowed to make medical decisions at hospitals for their loved ones.
Gov. Chris Christie (R) says the state should instead improve the civil union law. He has said he would veto a same-sex marriage bill if it passed.
Christie's predecessor, Jon Corzine (D), had indicated he would have signed a bill to allow same sex marriage if the legislature had been successful in passing such a measure. In his final days as Governor, the Senate defeated a proposed measure.
A gay marriage bill was introduced this month in the Assembly by Mercer County Assemblyman Reed Gusciora (D). There has been no companion legislation introduced in the Senate.