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Wednesday, October 25, 2006

STATEMENT ON TODAY'S NJ RULING (Press Release)
by The NJ Lesbian and Gay Coalition

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

CONTACT:
Laura Pople, President New Jersey Lesbian & Gay Coalition
Website: www.njlgc.org

Lewis v. Harris
New Jersey Marriage Equality Case

October 25, 2006 Trenton: The New Jersey Lesbian and Gay Coalition is thrilled by the recent decision of the State Supreme Court which recognizes that providing to "committed same-sex couples the financial and social benefits and privileges given to their married heterosexual counterparts" is mandated under the State Constitution. The New Jersey State Supreme Court has upheld equal rights for the all citizens. By leaving the "name to be given to the statutory scheme that provides full rights and benefits to same-sex couples, whether marriage or some other term, is a matter [left to the legislature]" we look forward to a speedy process that reflects the diversity of New Jersey. We have faith that all fair-minded citizens of NJ agree with the Court's decision.

The Coalition, having spent the past few decades working continuously to ensure the rights of the GLBTI community through actions such as: the amendment of New Jersey's Law Against Discrimination to include sexual orientation; the signing of the Governor's Executive Order banning such discrimination in the state workplace; the passage of New Jersey's Domestic Partnership Act; and increased visibility of our community through lobbying and education, is proud to have been an integral part of this pursuit of equal rights.

We salute the tireless efforts of both Lambda Legal Defense and Garden State Equality -- along with all of those New Jersey residents who worked so hard to make this a reality. And we thank the seven litigant couples. They lit a lamp for all to see our families and now the movement will continue carrying their torch.

We are grateful for the support of our fair-minded leaders. We are excited to work with the Legislature to give every NJ citizen the rights of marrying the man or woman they love. The simplest solution is marriage. We encourage the legislature to act promptly.

The people of NJ will see as in other states and countries that marriage equality strengthens families. Our next step will be to invite people to come and see that New Jersey has true respect for marriage.

"What we need to remember is that today's decision is not the end. Equally important is what do we do with it. Our next step is to continue forward on the march of human rights," reminds Laura Pople, President of the New Jersey Lesbian and Gay Coalition, the state's oldest LGBTI advocacy group, comprised of 34 member organizations, and reaching over 16000 New Jerseyans. "This decision will give a NJ citizen a legal relationship to the man or woman they love, including all the NJ-based rights, responsibilities and privileges of marriage, but it doesn't end discrimination completely. Everyone knows what it means to be married, and we will have full marriage equality in NJ. In time, we'll achieve full equality in every way."

- End -

FOR MORE NEWS AND UPDATES: VISIT http://www.njlgc.org

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