New Jersey Rules in Favor of Gay Marriage

WOOHOO! Gay couples have the same marriage rights under New Jersey's state constitution.

The decision: "Denying committed same-sex couples the financial and social benefits and privileges given to their married heterosexual counterparts bears no substantial relationship to a legitimate governmental purpose. The Court holds that under the equal protection guarantee of Article I, Paragraph 1 of the New Jersey Constitution, committed samesex couples must be afforded on equal terms the same rights and benefits enjoyed by opposite-sex couples under the civil marriage statutes. The name to be given to the statutory scheme that provides full rights and benefits to samesex couples, whether marriage or some other term, is a matter left to the democratic process."

Which means that gay couples may end up with civil unions rather than marriages, which is kind of crappy, but in the end this is a big step forward.

UPDATE: BTW, an interesting side note—the three dissenting justices wanted to extend full marriage rights. So all seven justices were in favor of civil unions, three of whom were also in favor of marriage. Not a one among them who voted against equality. That may be the best news of all.

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