Monday, July 11, 2005

Glum Gays in Garden State

A year after homosexuals had the right to register for domestic partnerships in New Jersey, they had a muted celebration. They want full rights, Massachusetts-style marriage.

At yesterday's rally in Maplewood (led by Garden State Equality), attendants who had registered or not expressed disappointment at the subset of rights they have. According to the Newark Star-Ledger,

Under the Domestic Partnership Act, same-sex couples who register as domestic partners gain some of the benefits of marriage, including the right to give medical consent, joint insurance coverage and income tax exemptions. (It also allows unmarried heterosexual couples over 62 to register so they can get benefits and preserve retirement income they could lose if they wed.)

But the law does not include hundreds of other rights and obligations that go with being married, such as the right to sue over a spouse's death or the law's protection for the secrets spouses tell each other.

Over 700 couples registered on the first day. In the past year, the total is 3,211.

Our U.S. Rep. Barney Frank, probably the most out of the outed Congressional gays, was at the rally. He noted that like Massachusetts, New Jersey strengthens its case for full marriage by people seeing only positive effects of granting equal rights. Another Star-Ledger article quotes him as, "But we have had the measure for well over a year now and there has been no negative effect. It doesn't affect anyone who is not themselves in a same-sex marriage."

Meanwhile, New Jersey residents wait and stew. The state attorney general agreed with anti folk, who claim only the legislature should make such a change. The state Supreme Court will hear arguments to allow same-sex marriage.

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