Thursday, December 07, 2006

Tip Toes in Trenton

The New Jersey legislature seems to have angered everyone -- except themselves. They are hustling a non-marriage civil-union bill through both houses. Conservatives call it capitulation and equality advocates are furious at a new class of citizen.

This afternoon's Bergen Record carries the AP story detailing what the Assembly passed and the Senate is about to take up. Even when it is over, it's not over.

Lawmakers feared they could not meet the six-month high court deadline to provide equal marriage rights for homosexuals. They are coming in at two months...with the toss it out the back door version.

The bill emerged only slightly mangled in a 4-2 vote in favor from the Assembly committee evaluating it. Changes were small but significant. For example, the original referred to couples covered as parties in a civil union. The revised still avoided spouses but did move to civil union couples.

Honestly, boys and girls, is marriage or spouse that hard to vocalize?

The Senate Judiciary Committee gets this next Monday. If it passes it, as it is likely to do, it goes to both houses this month.

Anti-gay and anti-same-sex-marriage forces tried and failed to get let-the-people-vote bills passed to slow or derail this lukewarm measure. Some righties are calling this marriage in all but name. Some lefties reasonably ask if they're getting equal benefits as the court demands, and this is a civil matter, why not call it what it is.

As one partnered lesbian, Karen Nicholson-McFadden, with two kids put it, "The civil union bill being considered lacks the one thing I want most in marriage. That is to participate."

That apparently is not sufficient suffering for the anti-SSM folk. Consider William J. White, claiming to speak for the state Council of the Knights of Columbus. He trotted out the baseless canard of clergy forced to solemnize gay civil unions and another of radical sex education. "I don't want our children taught the techniques of homosexuality," he stated.

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Anonymous said...

all this legislative effort just to prevent calling gay couples 'married'. if that isn't proof of bigorty, i don't know what is. oh no. that's right. they're not bigots. they just act that way.

massmarrier said...

It's difficult to believe the lack of courage. It would have been so simple just to tweak the laws and regulations slightly too.

Marriage equality is that simple, particularly in this case.

There really can't be any other take on it. They are in the process of creating a second class of married people without the respect of the existing one. Disgraceful.