Commission Report Cites Flaws in New Jersey Civil Union Law

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February 20, 2008


"New Jersey's civil union law 'creates a second-class status' for same-sex couples and is particularly vexing for people in the military, transgender people, the poor and minorities, according to a report issued on Tuesday by a commission set up to review the law.

"The 12-member commission included lawyers and ministers who advocate gay rights, as well as government officials from agencies that provide benefits to couples. It based its report heavily on testimony at three public hearings last year and did not make any recommendations.

"...'The lesson I learned was just how important this issue was for people who didn’t have a whole lot of money,' said David S. Buckel, senior counsel of Lambda Legal, the gay rights organization that represented the couples whose lawsuit led to the creation of civil unions. 'When you have the state sending the message that discrimination is O.K., there's double discrimination for people who don't have the resources to try to soften the blow.'"