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New Jersey legislature approves civil unions bill

[JURIST] The New Jersey Legislature [official website] passed a bill [text, PDF] Thursday allowing same-sex civil unions [JURIST news archive] in response to a New Jersey Supreme Court [official website] ruling [text, PDF; JURIST report] in October that said the state legislature had 180 days to decide whether the state would recognize same-sex marriage or another form of civil partnership. The measure was approved by the state Assembly 56-19 and passed the Senate 23-12. The bill says:

The Legislature has chosen to establish civil unions by amending the current marriage statute to include same-sex couples. In doing so, the Legislature is continuing its longstanding history of insuring equality under the laws for all New Jersey citizens by providing same-sex couples with the same rights and benefits as heterosexual couples who choose to marry.
New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine [official profile] said he would ratify the bill, allowing recognition of civil unions 60 days after his signing. AP has more.

Currently, Massachusetts is the only US state to allow full same-sex marriage [JURIST news archive], which was legalized when the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts [official website] ruled [JURIST report] in 2003 that a ban on such marriages was unconstitutional.

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