N.J. gay-marriage case must begin in lower court

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The push for gay marriage in New Jersey suffered a setback Monday when the state Supreme Court said six gay couples who claim New Jersey has denied them the rights granted to married heterosexual couples must argue their case through the lower courts.
The court was split, 3-3, in the decision; four affirmative votes are needed for a motion to be granted.

Chief Justice Stuart Rabner and Justices Roberto Rivera-Soto and Helen Hoens said in an order that the issue "cannot be decided without the development of an appropriate trial-like record," and denied the plaintiffs' motion without prejudice.

They added that they reached no conclusion on the merits of the plaintiffs' allegations that the Civil Union Act violates their constitutional rights.

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