by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff
(Trenton, New Jersey) Mayors and judges across New Jersey are being warned by both the state and a professional organization that they could be prosecuted if they refuse conduct civil union ceremonies for same-sex couples.
In a legal opinion by N.J. Attorney General Stuart Rabner issued to municipal officials Rabner said that if they conduct ceremonies for opposite-sex couples they must also perform civil unions.
In a separate communication to local officials John M. Carbone, an attorney representing county clerks and surrogates in all 21 New Jersey counties, advises "Either do marriages and civil unions, or do nothing."
Under New Jersey's Law Against Discrimination any official who performs ceremonies for opposite-sex couples but refuses to conduct civil unions could be removed from office and subjected to fines beginning at $10,000 for the first offense Rabner said.
The Bridgeton News polled mayors throughout the state and found only one willing to conduct civil unions - Fairfield Township Mayor Craig Thomas. In addition a handful of county clerks and surrogates said they would conduct ceremonies.
Gov. Jon Corzine signed the civil union law last week. (story) It goes into effect on Feb 19...