Woohoo for New Jersey! Back in 2006, its State Supreme Court ruled that gay residents deserved the same rights as straight residents. So the legislature enacted civil unions, as a way to confer state-level rights while also reminding gay residents of their second-class status. But now that the federal government recognizes same-sex marriages, but not civil unions, the New Jersey courts have ruled that the only way for the state to treat its gay residents equally is to permit marriages, which can begin on October 21. The governor plans to waste the state’s time and money by appealing these decisions, but marriages will be allowed to start while the appeal process happens — as the court said, gay couples “would suffer many hardships of constitutional magnitude if the stay were to be issued, but the state has not demonstrated how it would suffer in any meaningful way if the order is enforced.”
33.1% of people live in places where same-sex married couples have all the same state and federal rights as opposite-sex married couples.
10.2% of people live in places where civil unions or domestic partnerships offer state-level rights only.
56.7% of people live in places which do not offer any mechanism for gay and lesbian couples to obtain legal recognition of their relationships.