Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Same-Sex Unions in New Jersey

The New Jersey Supreme Court ruled today in Lewis and Winslow v. Harris that the equal protection guarantee in the New Jersey constitution requires same-sex couples be granted the same rights and privileges of opposite sex couples. The case syllabus says, in part, "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."