Friday, July 20, 2007

Civil unions: seperate and not equal

Gay couples in New Jersey are still not treated as equals to their straight counterparts, in spite of the civil unions law past last year. The authors of the legislation intended civil unions to be equal to marriage in all but name.

However, it is becoming clear that civil unionized couples in New Jersey do not recieve equal recognition or benefits as married couples. New Jersey governor John Corzine has written a letter to UPS requesting that they change their employee benefits policies to reflect New Jersey law. UPS maintains that they do not have to provide benefits to civil unionized couples because they are governed by federal law, where DOMA reigns supreme. Interestingly enough however, UPS does provide benefits to gay marriaged couples in Massachusetts, the only state where gays are allowed to wed. This undermines UPS's DOMA argument, since DOMA applies equally in Massachusetts as it does in New Jersey.

The Washington Post also takes note of the problem:

A recent study by Garden State Equality, New Jersey's leading gay advocacy group, indicated that as many as one in eight of the 1,092 same-sex couples who have registered for civil unions there have been denied all or part of the benefits they hoped to gain from the law. That is particularly significant because New Jersey, as the first state outside New England to approve civil unions, was seen as a bellwether in gauging how they would take root outside the bluest of the blue states.

As cases like these become more prevelant, hopefully lawmakers and the population at large will realize that civil unions are a seperate institution that are not, and can never be, equal to marriage.

1 comment:

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