In a previous family law post, we shared how the matter of same-sex marriage in New Jersey was going to become part of the legislative conversation again this year. Civil unions are currently legal for same-sex couples in the state, but some lawmakers and equal rights advocates are pushing for further freedoms.
A bill went through the Senate committee last week that seeks to legalize same-sex marriage in the state. Unsurprisingly, the bill didn’t advance through the committee until both those who support and challenge the measure were able to make their arguments heard.
Sources report that one challenger of the bill who spoke at the hearing was the executive director of the New Jersey Catholic Conference. A thorough report of his argument is not disclosed, but he did reportedly suggest that legalizing same-sex marriage is unnecessary because the Civil Unions Act in the state already grants couples the rights that they need to be protected.
But in the minds of many who support same-sex marriage in New Jersey, the matter is not about “what works.” It’s about what is fair and equal. Civil unions might protect same-sex couples’ rights to the same benefits as other couples, but a civil union is not the same thing as marriage. By limiting marriage to only heterosexual couples, gay marriage advocates argue that discrimination is at play.
The bill did pass through the Senate committee, and we will continue to post updates on this family law matter as more developments arise.
Gloucester County Times: “Effectiveness of civil unions argued in Senate committee hearing on same-sex marriage,” Rebecca Forand, Jan. 25, 2012