Lambda Legal Urges New Jersey Legislature and Governor to Enact Marriage Equality Bill
(Trenton, New Jersey, January 8, 2008) — As the new legislative session gets underway, Lambda Legal issued the following statement from Executive Director, Kevin Cathcart:
"Marriage equality for same-sex couples in New Jersey is inevitable — prolonging the wait leaves countless families across the state without the security and dignity of being able to explain to their children, their neighbors, or their children's teachers that they are married.
"Civil unions label same-sex couples as different and inferior and no amount of tinkering with the rules and benefits can erase that stain of inequality.
"While the civil union law helped immensely to reduce the harm that New Jersey causes same-sex couples, most New Jerseyans will never read the law. Instead, they know gay people were denied marriage, and they take away a discriminatory message from that.
"When the government itself discriminates, it sets an example for others to follow, and causes more discrimination everywhere else. The harm has only just begun, and it will never stop as long as same-sex couples are assigned a separate status. The New Jersey Legislature and the Governor should end the harm it created with the civil union law by ending discrimination in marriage."
Lambda Legal will deliver over 1500 signatures, gathered through a targeted campaign among its members and supporters, to Governor Corzine, Senate President Codey and Speaker Roberts urging them to pass a marriage equality bill.
In October 2006, the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled unanimously in Lambda Legal's lawsuit, Lewis v. Harris, that same-sex couples must be given the rights and responsibilities of marriage but left it to the legislature to decide whether or not it should be marriage or some other status. Later that year the New Jersey Legislature passed a Civil Union law.
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