Wednesday, January 23, 2008 - Former Vice President Al Gore, winner of the 2008 Nobel Peace Prize, today became the highest-ranking public figure in to endorse marriage equality for same sex couples.
In the video, Gore says: "Gay men and women ought to have the right to join together in marriage. I don't see why it's considered by some people to be a threat to heterosexual marriage to allow it by gays and lesbians. Shouldn't we be promoting the kind of faithfulness and loyalty to one's partner regardless of sexual orientation?"
Gore's position goes beyond support for civil unions, which have failed to provide anything close to consistent equality for same-sex couples in New Jersey, expressed by the leading Democratic candidates running for President, including Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards. Dennis Kucinich supports marriage equality.
"Al Gore gets it in a way that the others don't," said Steven Goldstein, chair of Garden State Equality. "In the real world, civil unions don't give same-sex couples the rights and benefits of marriage, because employers view civil unions as inferior. In New Jersey, the failure of employers to recognize civil unions like marriage has resulted in a failure rate of our civil union law of at least 1 in every 5."
Garden State Equality has received complaints from 512 couples since New Jersey's civil union law took effect on February 19, 2007 -- 512 couples who report that employers are not respecting their civil unions because civil unions are not marriage. Nearly 100 civil-unioned couples and other witnesses recently testified about the failure of the civil union law over eight hours of hearings of the New Jersey Civil Union Review Commission, which will release its first interim report on Tuesday, February 19, 2008, the one-year anniversary of the law.
"Anyone who says that civil unions are like marriage simply without the name should be indicted for civil rights fraud," Goldstein said. "Civil unions are to marriage what artificial sweetner is to sugar. It's not the same thing and it leaves a bitter aftertaste."
Contact: Steven Goldstein, Garden State Equality chair
Labels: al gore endorsement of marriage equality for same sex couples, garden state equality, steven goldstein