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Ver la versión completa : New Jersey Gay Marriage Bill Clears Panel, Goes to Full Senate



José Benito
09/12/2009, 11:30
New Jersey Gay Marriage Bill Clears Panel, Goes to Full Senate (http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601103&sid=aLjNm6ptlC_4)
By Terrence Dopp

Dec. 8 (Bloomberg) -- A bill offering gay and lesbian couples in New Jersey (http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/quote?ticker=STONJ1%3AUS) the same rights to marry as a man and woman was approved by a legislative committee last night and sent to the full Senate.
The Senate Judiciary Committee voted 7-6 in favor of the bill (http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/2008/Bills/S2000/1967_I1.PDF), a key hurdle that sets it up for a Dec. 10 vote in the full Senate. New York’s state Senate rejected a similar measure last week, and Maine voters overturned legislation extending wedding rights to gay couples a month ago.
“If we win marriage equality, it would be the fulfillment of our American dream. It would mean equality,” said Steven Goldstein (http://search.bloomberg.com/search?q=Steven%0AGoldstein&site=wnews&client=wnews&proxystylesheet=wnews&output=xml_no_dtd&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&filter=p&getfields=wnnis&sort=date:D:S:d1), head of Garden State Equality (http://www.gardenstateequality.org/). “This is really our lives on the line.”
Proponents of the measure said the state’s current civil union law is inadequate because it doesn’t guarantee federal recognition of the arrangements. Hospitals, insurance companies and other out-of-state businesses regularly deny spousal rights to gay couples, Goldstein said.
If the bill becomes law, New Jersey would become the sixth U.S. state to legalize gay marriage.
New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine (http://search.bloomberg.com/search?q=Jon+Corzine&site=wnews&client=wnews&proxystylesheet=wnews&output=xml_no_dtd&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&filter=p&getfields=wnnis&sort=date:D:S:d1) signed a law in December 2006 creating civil unions after the state Supreme Court directed him and the Legislature to extend gay and lesbian couples the same rights as married heterosexual couples. More than 150 people on both sides of the issue, including NAACP Chairman Julian Bond (http://search.bloomberg.com/search?q=Julian+Bond&site=wnews&client=wnews&proxystylesheet=wnews&output=xml_no_dtd&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&filter=p&getfields=wnnis&sort=date:D:S:d1), signed up to address lawmakers.
State Constitutions
Same-sex nuptials have been approved in Iowa, Massachusetts, Vermont, Connecticut and New Hampshire, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures (http://www.ncsl.org/). Thirty-one states have constitutional language defining marriage as being between one man and one woman, according to the legislative conference.
John Tomicki, president of the New Jersey Coalition to Preserve and Protect Marriage, said his group opposes cementing marriage rights for same-sex couples legislatively and wants it put to voters in a statewide referendum.
“That’s the way to properly amend the Constitution when it comes to fundamental rights,” Tomicki said in an interview. “You don’t allow the court or Legislature to twist it.”
To contact the reporter on this story: Terrence Dopp (http://search.bloomberg.com/search?q=Terrence+Dopp&site=wnews&client=wnews&proxystylesheet=wnews&output=xml_no_dtd&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&filter=p&getfields=wnnis&sort=date:D:S:d1) in Trenton, New Jersey, at tdopp@bloomberg.net.