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December 21, 2006
New Jersey Creates Civil Unions for Same-Sex Couples

New Jersey lawmakers have approved legislation creating civil unions and requiring that civil union couples receive the same benefits and protections and be subject to the same responsibilities as spouses in a marriage.

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In October, the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled that committed same-sex couples must be afforded the same rights and benefits that married couples enjoy. The court left it to state lawmakers to decide whether to grant the same rights and benefits through marriage, civil unions, or some other form. Lawmakers decided to establish civil unions.

Among the list of benefits and protections the legislation extends to civil union couples are:

  • Laws relating to insurance, health, and pension benefits
  • Prohibitions against discrimination on the basis of marital status
  • Survivors' benefits and payment of back wages under the state's Workers' Compensation Act
  • Leave benefits under the New Jersey Family Leave Act

New Jersey Governor Job Corzine is expected to sign the legislation today. The law will become effective 60 days after Corzine signs it.

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