The New Jersey State Supreme Court has ruled that under the state's constitution, same sex couples must have the same marriage rights as opposite sex couples. (Pdf of the ruling here.)
The New Jersey legislature has 6 months to act.
More as I get it...
New York Times / AP has the story up:
New Jersey's highest court ruled Wednesday that gay couples are entitled to the same rights as heterosexuals, but that lawmakers must determine whether the state will honor gay marriage or some other form of civil union.A great victory for civil rights is never shomething that should be seen as secondary, but this ruling, coming 13 days before a major election, brings up a big question: What will this do to the upcoming elections in New Jersey?
Advocates on both sides of the issue believed New Jersey posed the best chance to become only the second after Massachusetts to legalize gay marriage because its high court has a history of extending civil rights protections.
Instead, the Supreme Court stopped short of fully approving gay marriage and gave lawmakers 180 days to rewrite marriage laws to either include gay couples or create new civil unions.
"The issue is not about the transformation of the traditional definition of marriage, but about the unequal dispensation of benefits and privileges to one of two similarly situated classes of people," the court said in its 4-3 ruling.