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Commission Says Gays Should be Allowed to Marry

New Jersey
Commission Says Gays Should be Allowed to Marry

In a landmark new report released Wednesday, a New Jersey commission recommends that state legislators allow gays and lesbians to marry. The report paves the way for the Garden State to potentially become the first to legalize same-sex marriage by passing a law, rather than by a court ruling.

In a landmark new report released Wednesday, a New Jersey commission has recommended that state legislators allow gays and lesbians to marry. The report paves the way for the Garden State to potentially become the first to legalize same-sex marriage by passing a law, rather than by a court ruling, the Associated Press reports.

The Civil Union Review Commission, tasked with evaluating the state's two-year-old civil unions law, determined that marriage was superior. "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," the report says, according to the AP.

The commission's 13 members, comprising LGBT leaders and government officials as well as a Republican and two clergy members, unanimously agreed on their conclusions. It found that in addition to being unequal, the rights afforded same-sex couples under civil unions aren't always well understood, the AP reports. For example, the commission documented cases in which people in civil unions had been prevented from visiting their partners in the hospital.

"The report is a sweeping indictment of the failure of the civil union law," Steven Goldstein, head of Garden State Equality and the vice chairman of the commission, told the New Jersey Star-Ledger. "The report asks Governor Corzine and the legislature: Do you want equality or not? If so, there is only one way to go."

"The commission's report should spark a renewed sense of purpose and urgency to overcoming one of society's last remaining barriers to full equality for all residents," state assembly speaker Joseph Roberts Jr., a Democrat from Camden and one of the key figures in setting the legislature's agenda, told the AP.

Though a spokesperson for New Jersey governor Jon S. Corzine said the governor would not comment until he had reviewed the report, Corzine has said in the past that he would sign a bill allowing gay marriage. (Advocate.com)

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