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Civil unions begin in New Jersey

At midnight, civil unions in the Garden State began. This is the third state — after Connecticut and Vermont — to create CUs, and unions in those states will be recognized by NJ, as will marriages from Massachusetts and the five countries that allow gays and lesbians to marry. (

Despite the Presidents Day holiday some county clerks offices will be open today for couples to get licenses. Offices in Asbury Park and Lambertville, which have large gay communities, opened at midnight.

…Last October the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled same-sex couples must have all the rights of marriage.  The Court gave the New Jersey State Legislature 180 days to act on the decision to grant same-sex couples the rights and benefits enjoyed by different-sex married couples but left it up to the legislators to decide whether to call it marriage or civil unions.

…The legislature opted for civil unions. But, that say civil rights groups, amounts to separate but equal.

The hope is that since the court ruled that marriage and CUs must be equal, this will be challenged as legal loopholes are encountered that prove the two are not equivalent in practice.

See BlueJersey‘s coverage of the first civil unions being issued — Steven Goldstein, chair of Garden State Equality, and his partner of 15 years, Daniel Gross were “civil unionized.”

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding