State Says "I Do" To Marriage Equality

“We said yes because we could do this. Unlike so many, we had the full support of family, friends, and employers.”

— Cindy Meneghin

Photo: Cindy Meneghin holds up the couple’s marriage license as Maureen Kilian looks on.

Holding hands before 300 friends, family members and colleagues, Montclair State employee Cindy Meneghin married her longtime partner Maureen Kilian on a stage in the University Hall Conference Center on October 26, 2013, marking a historic victory for equal rights in New Jersey.

It took 11 years for New Jersey to grant same-sex couples the right to marry. Back in 2002, at a time when no states recognized gay marriage, Meneghin, director of web services, and Kilian, an Episcopal parish administrator, were invited by Lambda Legal to join six other same-sex couples in a lawsuit seeking the right to marry in New Jersey.

“We said yes because we could do this. Unlike so many, we had the full support of family, friends and employers,” Meneghin explains. “Montclair State has shouted its support of the lawsuit to me and my family from day one. It’s been unbelievable.”

New Jersey’s 2007 civil union law was the result of that first lawsuit. “We had our civil union ceremony in our church,” says Meneghin. Then, this past October, after they brought a second lawsuit, New Jersey became the 14th state to legalize gay marriage. Meneghin and Kilian, who met in high school and will celebrate 40 years together in August, chose the University for their wedding because of the community’s steadfast support.

“More than 200 of our guests were from the University,” recalls Meneghin, whose son Joshua and daughter Sarah also attend Montclair State and served as witnesses to the marriage. “We absolutely wanted to share our happiness with everyone at Montclair State. We’ve been standing on the shoulders of giants --- friends, family, neighbors and colleagues --- who helped lead us to this happy conclusion.”

It was a joyful celebration for all. “After fighting to marry for so many years, we were giddy and couldn’t stop smiling,” she adds.