08 December 2009

Civil Disunion

The Senate Judiciary Committee's approval of the "same-sex marriage" bill will likely set up a vote in the legislature later this week. Governor Corzine has promised to sign the bill into law if it is approved before his term ends in a few weeks. This bill is very likely to become law, because, once again, short-sighted politicians have tied their own hands.

New Jersey's "Civil Union" law - passed earlier this decade - was written in such a way that it expressly singles out gays and lesbians for special treatment. In effect, the law makes a civil union equal to a marriage - in everything but name. By providing that civil unions can only take place between same-sex partners, and that the partners can not be related - the two critical items for a gay marriage - legislators ineptly created a "separate but equal" version of marriage.

You can't do that. Separate is always unequal.

What should have happened half a dozen years ago is that civil unions should have been open to all adults - and they should have had nothing whatsoever to do with marriage.

There are certain legal advantages to marriage that are not enjoyed by non-married people. Civil unions should have been a tool for any two people - mother-daughter, sisters, life-long buddies - to confer some legal status on a loved one who they are sharing their life with.

By granting gays and lesbians special status in the civil union law, New Jersey has already approved same-sex marriage.

I believe in traditional marriage between a man and a woman. That is the union I feel deserves special status. It is likely all of New Jersey's legislators were born of such a union. They would do well to remember that when they cast their vote.



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