Opinion: N.J.‘s Freedom to Marry Debate - Back to Court because Lawmakers failed

The Star Ledger Editorial Board weighs in on New Jersey's latest marriage equality developments:

"Except [civil unions are not just like marriages], as testimony to a state commission showed: Civil union couples still have trouble being recognized as next-of-kin by employers when they seek benefits and by hospital officials when one partner is ill. Not surprisingly, this separate institution turns out to be unequal.

...So now, gay rights organizations are asking the state Supreme Court to reopen the case. If it does, the court could order formal hearings, gather testimony and evidence on problems with the civil union law and then decide, yes or no: Can gay couples get married?

This is all so unnecessary. If the Legislature hadn’t settled for a half-measure in 2006; or if Corzine hadn’t put the issue off throughout his term; or if lawmakers had done the courageous thing last year, the freedom to marry would be a reality in New Jersey right now.

And it would have been done the right way, by the people’s elected representatives. There would be no need for another lawsuit that could lead to an unpopular court ruling one way or another."

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