New Jersey lawmakers OK gay civil unions

Follow state Supreme Court ruling
State lawmakers voted in mid-December to make New Jersey the third state in the nation to allow gay couples to form civil unions with all the rights and responsibilities of married couples.

The historic votes by both houses of the state legislature came just 50 days after the state Supreme Court declared that New Jersey’s constitution requires equality for same-sex couples and gave lawmakers six months to enact change.

The bill amending New Jersey’s 1912 marriage law was adopted over the objections of social conservatives—who said it threatens the sanctity of marriage and who railed against judicial activism—as well as of gay-rights activists, who said they would continue to push for the right to marry. The court had left it to the legislature to decide whether to use the term marriage.

The bill passed 56-19 in the Assembly and 23-12 in the Senate. Five members abstained in each house.


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