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Civil rights group thinks legal gay marriage coming to New Jersey

Marriage has been traditionally defined as being a contract between a man and a woman, but same-sex couples fighting for the right to legally wed are now gaining ground. Family law challenges have led to the legalization of gay marriage in several U.S. states, and further legal challenges could soon mean more states allowing gay and lesbian couples to tie the knot.

New Jersey may soon join the ranks of U.S. states that have legalized gay marriage. The state's governor, who previously showed opposition to same-sex marriage, has more recently voiced support for the rights of all New Jersey citizens. Gay rights supporters believe the governor's support could lead to equal marriage rights.

In February 2012, both the New Jersey state Assembly and the state Senate passed bills recognizing gay marriage. The governor vetoed those measures at that time. However, a spokesman for civil rights organization Garden State Equality believes that, in light of the governor's recent support for all New Jersey residents, legalized gay marriage could become a reality in 2013. The spokesman said the equality group will target and work with some state legislators to push through gay marriage rights.

A same-sex couple that wins the right to legal marriage may discover that marriage can include complicated legal issues even after the ceremony. Child custody, property division, tax filings and other issues may be different for non-traditional families who have transitioned from a domestic partnership to a legally binding marriage. All partners in a marriage should ensure that they have a clear understanding of the law, their legal rights and how to protect their modern family.

Source: Newyork.cbslocal.com, "Garden state equality chairman: gay marriage will be legal in N.J. soon," Jan. 26, 2013

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