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NJ Supreme Court Rules: Equal Rights for Same-Sex Couples

The New Jersey State Supreme Court ruled yesterday in a 4-3 decision that same-sex couples should have the same benefits of marriage as heterosexual couples. The court gave the state legislature six months to pass a law granting civil unions or amend the marriage laws to allow same sex marriage, the Chicago Tribune reports. Justice Barry Albin wrote in the majority decision, “Although we cannot find that a fundamental right to same-sex marriage exists in this state, the unequal dispensation of rights and benefits to committed same-sex partners can no longer be tolerated under our state Constitution,” the Associated Press reports.

Many gay rights advocates are happy with the decision, yet will continue fighting for the right to same-sex marriage. “We now turn to the Legislature to say there’s really no reason to try to set up some other scheme to exclude same-sex couples from marriage,” said Jon Davidson, legal director for Lambda Legal, a gay rights legal organization, reports the San Francisco Chronicle.

According to the Chicago Tribune, similar cases are on hold in California, Connecticut, Iowa, and Maryland. Bans on same-sex marriage are also on the November ballot in eight states: Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia, and Wisconsin.

Sources:

San Francisco Chronicle 10/26/06; Chicago Tribune 10/26/06; Associated Press 10/26/06

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