In 2006, New Jersey legislators passed a bill in favor of allowing civil unions in the state, and Gov. Corzine signed the bill into law in December of that year. The law took effect on February 19, 2007, which means that civil unions have been in effect for nearly two years in New Jersey. Since long before the bill for civil unions was passed, Garden State Equality has been lobbying hard for marriage equality – and they are now stepping up the game.
Today, the New Jersey Civil Union Review Commission (NJ-CURC) has released its final report on the success (or failure) of civil unions in New Jersey. The commission is comprised of 13 individuals (you can see the profiles of its members here) – from Garden State Equality:
The 13 Commissioners include not only LGBT leaders, but also a right-to-life Republican, plus two clergy, plus six government officials representing an Administration that had opposed marriage equality in the courts.
That seems to be a reasonable balance. The commission has spent the past 22 months eliciting and reviewing public testimony on the effectiveness of civil unions. The end result, made public in today’s final report, indicates that the NJ-CURC finds that civil unions are an incredible failure, and they are recommending that NJ enact a law allowing same-sex marriage.
See the report here. (warning: it’s long.) Boiled down to the basics:
“…this Commission finds that the separate categorization established by the Civil Union Act invites and encourages unequal treatment of same-sex couples and their children.”
I’m still in the process of reading it; I’ll probably be blogging more on this after I finish.