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Corzine concerned mayors will refuse to perform civil unions

New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine is expected to sign civil unions into law on Thursday, but he may defer if he cannot get a clear line on whether it is legal for mayors like the disgusting Steve Lonegan of Bogota, who have vowed not to perform the same-sex ceremonies. (WCBS-TV):

Mayors aren’t required under state law to perform marriages, and the civil unions bill doesn’t alter that discretion. Bogota Mayor Steve Lonegan has said he will not perform the ceremonies and vowed Monday to not back down.

“This is the first time in history an American is being told to perform a ritualistic ceremony no matter what you believe in,” Lonegan said. “I’m not doing it. I’m daring them to make me do it.”

…Stephen Hyland, a Princeton lawyer with expertise in marriage law, said mayors who perform marriage ceremonies for heterosexual couples but refuse ceremonies for gay couples won’t violate the civil union law but may violate anti-discrimination laws.

“It would not be equal treatment,” Hyland said. “Mayors have a right to conduct wedding ceremonies or not to conduct them, but I think to say we’re only going to conduct certain types of ceremonies opens the door pretty widely. It does raise discrimination questions.”

Corzine has a couple of choices. He could sign the bill, which would make civil unions available on Feb 19, or he could veto the bill, sending it back to lawmakers to revise to address the issue. Another option for Corzine is to sign civil unions into law — with the hope that the legislature would amend the issue of potential discriminatory treatment by these renegade mayors.

Related:
* NJ mayor vows not to perform civil unions or marriages for gay couples

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding

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