NJ Supreme Court: Gays Have Equal Right to Marriage Benefits, But Not to the Word “Marriage&#8

Brian Zick

Llyle Denniston at SCOTUSblog reports: The New Jersey Supreme Court, relying on the state constitution, ruled on Wednesday that the state must provide same-sex couples the "same rights and benefits" that opposite-sex couples have under state marriage laws. The court split 4-3 in ruling that gay couples do not have a right to marriage, leaving that open as an option for the legislature to enact.Here is the court's statement of its holding: "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 equal protection guarantee of Article I, Paragraph 1 of the New Jersey Constitution, committed same-sex 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 same-sex couples, whether marriage or some other term, is a matter left to the democratic process."

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