The New Jersey Supreme Court ruled today that denying same-sex couples the benefits that opposite-couples receive through marriage violates the New Jersey Constitution and that the state legislature should determine the appropriate remedial steps. The Court reasoned:
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 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.
The full text of the decision is here.
-Posted by Bridget Crawford