Lambda Legal Applauds Finding by New Jersey Civil Union Review Commission That Civil Union Protections Are Inferior to Marriage

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December 10, 2008

(New York, December 10, 2008) — The New Jersey Civil Union Review Commission (NJ-CURC) today unanimously found that civil unions are an inadequate form of relationship recognition for same-sex couples and that the New Jersey Civil Union Act is an ineffective form of protection. In its report, The Legal, Medical Economic and Social Consequences of the NJ Civil Union Law, The NJ-CURC recommends that, "The Legislature and Governor [should] amend the law to allow same-sex couples to marry," and that, "The law [should] be enacted expeditiously because any delay in marriage equality will harm all the people of New Jersey."

Statement from Leslie Gabel-Brett, Director of Education and Public Affairs for Lambda Legal:

"The NJ-CURC's conclusion is a welcome advance for the civil rights of same-sex couples. We were proud to testify before the commission and we thank them for their serious review and deliberation. When Lambda Legal argued Lewis v. Harris before the New Jersey Supreme Court on behalf of six wonderful couples, the right to a civil union was not the result that they or we wanted. They wanted to get married like everybody else can.

"The evidence is clear that a separate scheme for relationship recognition that applies only to same-sex couples is inadequate and invites discrimination. The state of New Jersey constructed a separate structure simply to keep same-sex couples out of the one that already exists. As a matter of fairness, that is bad enough. But during these difficult economic times for the state and the people of New Jersey, this is a tragic waste of money. As the report states, 'The worsening economy seems to be encouraging employers to cut corners wherever they can, with equality for LGBT employees and their same-sex partners being among the casualties.' The economic and bureaucratic burdens of navigating a new and confusing legal structure fall unfairly on the shoulders of couples and their children.

"We join the NJ-CURC in urging the New Jersey state Legislature and the Governor to bring an end to the harm and inequality that same-sex couples in New Jersey and their families currently endure by ending their exclusion from civil marriage."

This unanimous decision from NJ-CURC comes after the New Jersey Supreme Court unanimously ruled in Lambda Legal's historic Lewis v. Harris case that denying same-sex couples the rights and benefits that different-sex couples obtain through marriage is unconstitutional.


Erin Baer 212-809-8585 ext 267; Email: [email protected]


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