In September 2013, a New Jersey Superior Court ruled that the state must allow same-sex couples to marry under the state constitution's equal protection provision (Garden State Equality v. Dow, No. MER-L-1729-11 (NJ Sup. Ct. 2013)). According to the court, civil union couples in New Jersey remain ineligible for many federal marital benefits following the decision by the U.S. Supreme Court striking down the Defense of Marriage Act (United States v. Windsor, 133 S.Ct. 2675 (2013)). Based on the Windsor decision, the Court ruled that the state's parallel legal structure of civil unions and marriage denies same-sex couples equal access to the rights and benefits of marriage, in violation of the state constitution's equal protection guarantee. The Court's order became effective October 21, 2013. The state's attorney general submitted, then subsequently withdrew, the state's appeal of the case to the New Jersey Supreme Court, clearing the way for same-sex couples to marry.