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Conservatives in NJ offer alternative to gay marriage

GEOFF MULVIHILL, Associated Press

Conservative groups in New Jersey announced plans Monday to push two measures that would keep gay unions from having the same legal status as marriage.

A constitutional amendment that would define marriage as being between only a man and a woman was widely expected. The second measure is a novel approach described by its backers as a "compromise" that would grant the rights of marriage - but not the title - not only to gays but also to couples in other domestic relationships.

The measures came in reaction to a landmark ruling last month in which the state Supreme Court said gay couples in New Jersey should have access to the same rights and benefits as married couples. But the court stopped short of finding that the couples have a right to marry.

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