Republican county of Morris in northern New Jersey quietly
voted last month to extended domestic-partnership benefits
to same-sex partners of county employees.
pressure from gay groups, Morris County approved the health
and pension benefits in late January, becoming the 10th
county in New Jersey to extend such benefits.
action will no doubt accelerate the pace of the rest of New
Jersey's 21 counties to do the same," said Steven
Goldstein, chairman of Garden State Equality, New
Jersey's gay advocacy group.
Morris County was
inspired to grant the domestic-partnership benefits
after the story of Laurel Hester came to light--a New
Jersey lesbian who, before succumbing to cancer
on February 18, had successfully fought for her
partner to receive her death benefits-- Goldstein
seeing an unbelievable phenomenon in New Jersey now,"
Goldstein said, "where counties in New Jersey,
including Republican counties, are jumping all over
each other to expand the rights of the LGBTI community.
If ever there was a state that doesn't hate, New Jersey is