A legal ruling in the US state of New Jersey has decreed that homosexual couples must be given the same rights as heterosexual ones. In other words, they must be allowed to make a recognised union with the same legal rights that a heterosexual marriage entails. But the court left it up to state lawmakers to decide if such unions could be called “marriage”. Supporters gathered outside the Supreme Court to await the ruling, calling for equality across the board. Among other rights, gay couples can inherit possessions if there is no will and benefit from health care coverage for partners of state employees.
New Jersey is the second state to make the move -same sex marriage in the US has faced several legal and political barriers including an abortive attempt in San Francisco. In 2003, the state of Massachusetts ruled it was unconstitutional to ban gay marriages.