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Adler Bill to Expand Domestic Partner Rights Approved in Committee

TRENTON – Domestic partners would have the same rights as married couples with respect to inheritances and funeral arrangements under a bill sponsored by Senator John Adler and approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee today.

“When two people have joined together to form a family, whether through marriage or domestic partnership, they should have some basic rights on the passing of their partner,” said Senator Adler, D-Cherry Hill and Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee. “Currently, same-sex couples have no rights when it comes to administering the funeral of a passed partner. This can be a crucial part of a surviving partner’s grieving process and we need to extend this simple right to domestic partners.”

Senator Adler’s bill, S-2083, extends to the surviving member of a domestic partnership certain rights upon the death of his or her partner. The bill would amend current law to grant a domestic partner the same funeral rights as a spouse in case the decedent has no will.

The bill would also amend the State’s intestacy laws to ensure that a surviving domestic partner receives an inheritance from his or her decent partner’s estate. The rights enumerated in the bill would be commensurate with spousal intestacy rights.

“When we first passed the domestic partnership law, we extended to same-sex couples just a few of the basic rights that all families should have,” said Senator Adler, the sponsor of the original bill to create domestic partnerships. “But there are still over 1,000 rights that married couples get that domestic partners lack and we need to continue to work to reduce that gap and strive for greater equality. The State of New Jersey will continue to serve as a role model for other state and local governments when it comes to granting rights to domestic partners.”

The bill was approved by the Committee by a vote of 9-0. It now goes to the full Senate for its consideration.

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