Seven same-sex New Jersey couples are suing New Jersey to have their relationships recognized as marriages, not as civil unions.

The couples, joined by their children and the gay rights groups Garden State Equality and Lambda Legal, are attempting to accomplish through the courts what New York just accomplished through the legislature: obtaining full legal recognition of their unions, and the rights that come with it.

New Jersey allows civil unions for same-sex couples, but the lawsuit contends that those unions deprive them of basic rights.One of the couples bringing the lawsuit described how their children lost their family health insurance coverage; another man detailed how he was barred from visiting his partner in the hospital after a near-fatal car crash.

The separate and inherently unequal statutory scheme singles out lesbians and gay men for inferior treatment on the basis of their sexual orientation and sex and also has a profoundly stigmatizing effect on them, their children, and other lesbian and gay New Jerseyans, the suit says.

The New Jersey Supreme Court recently rejected a challenge to the law unless it ascended through trial courts, which led to the lawsuit. In January 2010, the State Senate rejected a bill that would have legalized same sex marriage.

New Jersey governor Chris Christie is a staunch opponent of same sex marriage, saying he is not a fan.

I believe a marriage should be between one man and one woman, Christie said on NBS's Meet the Press. 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.