On December 7, 2009, the New Jersey Senate Judiciary Committee voted 7-6 in favor of passing a bill that would have legalized same-sex marriage in the state. New Jersey legalized domestic partnerships in 2003 and civil unions in 2006. The bill [PDF], known as the Freedom of Religion and Equality in Civil Marriage Act, ultimately failed to pass the New Jersey Senate after the legislature postponed a vote on the measure in December 2009. Same-sex couples in New Jersey subsequently filed a lawsuit [PDF] in March 2010, alleging that the state's civil union scheme did not give couples the same legal and social benefits as marriage. The case, filed in the Supreme Court of New Jersey, was dismissed in July 2010, with 3 out of 6 judges maintaining that the case must first be heard in the lower courts.
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