Today’s letter – New Jersey knows separate is never equal

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Dear Governor Schwarzenegger –

New Jersey has had “civil unions” for a year now. A state commission was formed to find out how that was working out, and they released their report today.

The 12-member commission found that the law “creates a second-class status” for the 2,400 same-sex couples who have been unioned, and that the law is not fulfilling its mandate of providing same-sex couples the same rights as heterosexuals.

The commission wrote:

“The commission also heard testimony that the term ‘marriage,’ were it applied to the relationships of same-sex couples, would make a significant difference in providing equality to same-sex couples in New Jersey. Civil union status is not clear to the general public, which creates a second-class status.”

In addition, because civil unions are not open to heterosexuals, “The New Jersey Civil Union law automatically outs someone or anyone who gets civil unioned,” which is a breach of privacy.

Lynn Fontaine Newsome, president of the New Jersey State Bar Association, testified before the commission that “the legal work performed for these clients is double that which is performed for married couples to ensure that they are afforded equal rights,” raising the costs for poor and minority couples who most need the time-tested protection of marriage.

Governor, you know that the domestic apartheid that you have set up and advocated hurts the people of your state. New Jersey’s Governor Jon Corzine has said he would sign a marriage bill – what about you? I wish you would take action to make sure that all of California’s couples have the same freedom – the freedom to marry.

Yours,

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