New Jersey Gay couples who legally married elsewhere will have all the rights of married people in New Jersey, but they can't call themselves married, the state's attorney general decided Friday.
New Jersey should consider those couples to be in civil unions rather than marriages, Attorney General Stuart Rabner said in the opinion for the state Department of Health and Senior Services, which is responsible for registering civil unions.
Civil unions, which will be available in New Jersey starting Monday, grant all the benefits of marriage to gay couples.
Gay rights activists were happy to have the clarity and to learn that the civil unions will be granted automatically.
Gay couples married in Massachusetts, Canada, the Netherlands, South Africa and Spain will be recognized as civil union partners, as will couples who have entered into civil unions in Vermont and Connecticut. Domestic partners in California - where domestic partnership works much like a New Jersey civil union - will also be considered civil unions.