Main | Wednesday, December 10, 2008

NJ Commission: Civil Unions Not Enough

The New Jersey Civil Union Commission has concluded that the state's civil union law does not give gay couples the same rights and protections as married couples, setting the stage for New Jersey to become the first state to legalize same-sex marriage by legislation, rather than by judicial edict.

New Jersey should enact a law allowing gay marriage and waste no time passing it because the state's civil unions law fails to adequately protect same-sex couples, a report to be released Wednesday concludes. The final report of the New Jersey Civil Union Review Commission says it gathered "overwhelming evidence" the civil union law not only fails to provide the same protections as marriage, it also has created economic, medical and emotional hardships for gay couples.The commission concluded that denying same-sex couples the right to marry is as unjust as government imposing racial segregation laws against African-Americans.

The commission's report also cited a study which estimates that approving gay marriage would add $250M to New Jersey's economy over the first three years. A Zogby poll taken in August shows a majority support for marriage equality in New Jersey.
By 59 to 36 percent, New Jerseyans would be fine with public officials’ changing the civil union law to marriage equality. Indeed, when the poll goes out of its way to remind voters that New Jersey already has a civil union law, a majority of New Jersey still supports marriage for same-sex couples – 50.1 to 42.3 percent. And an astounding 69 percent of New Jerseyans say marriage equality is inevitable in the state.
The commission's 79-page report will be sent to the New Jersey legislature and Gov. Jon Corzine. The top-linked story does not provide a timeline for action.

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