TRENTON – Senator Loretta Weinberg, Senate co-prime sponsor of S-2407/A-3787, a bill to authorize same-sex couples to enter Civil Unions, issued the following statement as the measured was approved by the Senate today.
It passed 23-12 and was advanced to Governor Corzine’s office for enactment.
“This bill will provide same-sex couples with all the marital rights held by their heterosexual counterparts who enter marriage.
“Advocates of same-sex marriage are disappointed that this bill says ‘civil union’ when it should say ‘marriage.’ I concur with their concerns, but I urge them to accept the rights now and pursue the right words later.
“In the not too distant future, I believe we will have same-sex marriages authorized in New Jersey because it’s the right thing to do and because words are important.
“A committed relationship of two people with all the rights and responsibilities is a marriage and it should be called a marriage. But the political reality is that changing cultural views takes time and I want the rights of marriage now for same-sex couples.
“This measure responds to the Supreme Court’s directive to come up with a way to ensure equal marital rights for same sex couples and to decide what to call it. The majority viewpoint we in politics are forced to live by resolved the wording issue and settled on civil unions – for now.
“I congratulate the advocates for getting closer to achieving justice for same-sex couples and I assure them they don’t have to lobby me on the need for a transition to the rights words – same-sex marriages.
“The forum for expressing opinions about the impact of this legislation will be the New Jersey Civil Union Review Commission, a 13-member panel to include seven public members that will be charged to – among other things – evaluate the effect of this measure on same-sex couples.”