New Jersey Governor John Corzine today signed civil union legislation. It grants non-heterosexual couples “all the rights and responsibilities of marriage allowed under state law — but not the title”!
This is definitely good news. It still falls under “separate but equal” in my book, but it’s a step forward, and it’s better than “separate and ignored”.
“We must recognize that many gay and lesbian couples in New Jersey are in committed relationships and deserve the same benefits and rights as every other family in this state,” Gov. Jon S. Corzine said in signing the legislation.
The Legislature passed the civil unions bill on Dec. 14 in response to a state Supreme Court order that gay couples be granted the same rights as married couples. The court in October gave lawmakers six months to act but left it to them to decide whether to call the unions “marriage” or something else.
Gay couples welcomed the new law, but argue not calling it “marriage” creates a different, inferior institution. Even some same-sex couples who attended the bill signing remained lukewarm about the law.
“It’s a step forward, but it’s not true equality,” said Veronica Hoff, 52, of Mount Laurel, as she stood with her partner.
The civil unions law grants gay couples adoption, inheritance, hospital visitation and medical decision-making rights and the right not to testify against a partner in state court.
Today, we celebrate. Today, we’re Jersey Girls.