The New Jersey
state senate on Thursday passed an expansion of the
state's domestic-partnership law that would, upon a
domestic partner's death, give the surviving partner
control of the estate and inheritance in the absence
of a will. The new expansion also would give
the surviving partner control of burial
decisions absent a directive otherwise.
To the delight of
gay rights activists in the state, the senate voted
35-0 in favor of the expansion, demonstrating strong
support among both Democrats and Republicans for the
legal recognition of gay and lesbian couples.
"This is the most lopsided pro-LGBT rights vote in
New Jersey history," said Steven Goldstein, chair of Garden
State Equality. "This is yet another major milestone
in the increasing power of New Jersey's LGBTI
The bill is
expected to be passed by the state assembly next week.