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The New Jersey Senate has given final legislative approval to a law that would make New Jersey the second state to recognize homosexual couples as legal entities. The Senate passed the Domestic Partnership Act, A-3743, on Thursday in a 23-9 vote with virtually no debate, and Gov. James McGreevey promised to sign it, meaning that it would go into effect immediately. The act vests same-sex couples in committed relationships with many of the indicia of marital status, including joint health insurance and pension benefits, hospital visitation rights, the ability to make health care decisions on a partner’s behalf, certain tax and inheritance benefits, and protection from discrimination based on their status. The law also requires New Jersey to recognize any domestic partnership or civil union created in another state. Two people of the same sex who are 18 or older may jointly execute and file an affidavit of domestic partnership with their local registrar, along with a fee to be set later, if these requirements are met:

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