Friday, December 19, 2008

NJ Gay Marriage Report May Help Vermont Couples

Same-sex marriage advocates in Vermont say a report by a New Jersey state commission that found that civil unions do not provide the benefits of marriage could help Vermont lawmakers support a gay marriage bill.

Vermont was the first state to recognize same-sex relationships - legalizing civil unions in 2000. Since then, same-sex couples in the state have maintained that civil unions are not recognized in the same way as marriage and a bill to convert civil unions to marriage will be introduced in the next session of the state legislature.

When New Jersey lawmakers opted to legalize civil unions rather than marriage in 2007, the legislature created a commission to review whether the law was working.

Two weeks ago, the New Jersey Civil Union Review Commission released its report saying civil unions were not working and the law needed to be amended to provide for full marriage for same-sex couples.

The report said that civil unions fostered inequity by creating a separate class of relationships, noting that some private companies refused to provide health and other benefits to same-sex civil unioned partners that they provided to married spouses.

Read the rest here.

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