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Friday, July 20, 2007

Garden State Equality applauds Governor Corzine for writing to the chairman of UPS

Statement of Garden State Equality chair Steven Goldstein:

Garden State Equality applauds Governor Corzine for writing to the chairman of UPS today calling on the company to offer benefits to civil-unioned couples in New Jersey. Once again, the Governor proves himself to be a compassionate leader and champion of civil rights for all.

The problem, however, is that writing to companies won't solve the epidemic of inequality in New Jersey that the civil unions law has caused. The only way to fix a failed law is actually to fix the law.

As of today, 193 couples have told Garden State Equality that their employers are not recognizing their civil unions. The state reports that 1,359 couples have gotten civil-unioned in New Jersey since the law took affect on February 19, 2007. That's a failure rate of 1 in every 7, at least.

It wouldn't matter if the legislature screams until it's blue in the face about the intention of the civil unions law. Imagine if the legislature passed a law declaring that cubic zirconias – the synthetic diamond substitutes available on home shopping channels – shall now be considered equal to real diamonds.

Would the people of New Jersey ever accept that law? Of course not, and it wouldn't matter if the law had all the pages in the world mandating equal value.

In his letter today to UPS, the Governor points out what powerful symbolism it would be for UPS to grant benefits to civil-union partners even if Federal law provides a loophole. We agree with the power of symbols. That's why the symbolism of the label "marriage" for same-sex couples would go a long way toward solving the inequality they continue to endure.

Why? Many companies point to a provision in Federal law that allows them to ignore the laws of various states that recognize same-sex relationships. Yet the Washington Post recently did an investigation in which it reported that companies in Massachusetts hardly ever use federal law as an excuse to deny equal benefits to same-sex couples married in that state.

Companies in Massachusetts - thankfully robbed of nomenclature of "civil unions" to hide behind - are choosing not to use Federal law to discriminate because the companies would have to admit they discriminate against gay people because they're gay.

Same-sex couples married in Massachusetts, as that state’s law allows, are getting equality. Civil-unioned couples in New Jersey are not.

It proves that civil unions just don't work in the real world. Marriage is the only currency of commitment the real world consistently accepts. And the only way to New Jersey will ever see equality is to give same-sex and opposite sex couples the same freedom to marry.


www.GardenStateEquality.org
Tell-a-friend!

1 Comments:

  • At 20/7/07 8:48 PM, Blogger Jeff said…

    UPS has proven that it desires to offer same-sex domestic partner benefits to its employees. It has voluntarily offered these benefits to employee everywhere it is legally allowed to do so (unlike its competitors). The issue in New Jersey is tangled in the language and laws that govern its union contract with the Teamsters. UPS is currently re-negotiating that contract and has requested that same-sex DP benefits be extended to all UPS Teamsters -- not just those in NJ. UPS is the "good guy" in this unfortunate situation.

     

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