Here’s the ruling in Lewis v. Harris, as paraphrased in the Clerk’s syllabus:
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 samesex 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 samesex couples, whether marriage or some other term, is a matter left to the democratic process.
In other words, gay couples in New Jersey are entitled to more recognition than they now get under New Jersey’s Domestic Partnership Act, indeed to every right that comes with straight marriage– but the state is not compelled to refer to gay unions as “marriage.”
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