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Jersey bigots try an end-run on marriage equality

“We’re going to vigorously oppose civil unions if it raises up to marriage without the m-word.”
— John Tomicki, president of the New Jersey Coalition to Preserve and Protect Marriage, a group of clergy, scholars and conservative groups

The New Jersey state legislature, charged with granting  gay and lesbian couples access to the same rights and benefits as married couples because of last month’s state Supreme Court ruling is now dealing with the bigoted lawmakers who wish to “compromise” and offer a marriage “alternative” that is designed to ensure that same-sex unions will not have equivalent status to heterosexual marriage.

The measure is being offered by wingnut conservative State Senator Gerald Cardinale. (AP):

The new measure outlined by conservatives Monday would offer the same benefits not just to gay couples but to people in various other housekeeping arrangements, regardless of their sexual orientation.

For instance, a brother and sister who live together would be able to register under what supporters call an “equal benefits” bill. That way, one sibling could be covered under the employer-sponsored health insurance for the other, for instance, and the survivor would not be taxed on inheritance if the other died.

The status would be available to gay couples, relatives and other twosomes who are not eligible to marry, said Len Deo, president of the New Jersey Family Policy Council. Unrelated opposite-sex couples, who can legally marry, would not be eligible.

Making the law broad would avoid something distasteful to many conservatives — elevating the relationships of same-sex couples alone to the same legal status enjoyed by married couples.

Garden State Equality responded:

“State Senator Gerald Cardinale (R-John Birch), the Homophobe Laureate of New Jersey who has said letting gay couples marry would be equal to letting people marry their dogs, today introduced his umpteenth measure to ban marriage for gay couples in the New Jersey state constitution.  Cardinale has repeatedly introduced this measure in previous years, where it has never gotten to committee.  In a pro-gay state where the current debate is at the most progressive end of the spectrum — between 100% marriage equality versus civil unions — today’s proposal has as much chance of passing as Gerry Cardinale’s marrying Dick Cheney in the ballroom of the Baghdad Hilton.” — Garden State Equality Chairman Steven Goldstein (11/27/06)

Hat tip,

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding