Report: NJ Civil Unions Equal “Second-Class Status”

Some American dreams are unraveling in New Jersey. Over two thousands gay men and women have registered for civil unions since the Garden State legalized them last year, but a commemorative study show that civil unions aren’t as protective as some would like to believe:

A state commission report to be released Tuesday — the first anniversary of New Jersey’s civil union law — concludes it falls far short of a state Supreme Court order to give “same-sex couples … the same rights and benefits as heterosexual couples who choose to marry.”

“Civil union status is not clear to the general public, which creates a second-class status,” the Civil Union Review Commission says in its report.

Others give harsher assessments.

“The law is just a complete and utter failure,” said Tom Prol, a trustee of the New Jersey State Bar Association. “It’s a failed experiment in discrimination.”

We wonder what Democratic presidential contenders Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, both of whom toot their civil union supporting horn, will have to say about this one…

One particularly interesting aspect of the study explores civil unions’ detrimental effect on youth:

The panel found civil unions have “a deleterious effect” on gay and lesbian youngsters and those being raised by same-sex couples.

Lucy O’Brien came to that realization during a kitchen conversation with her 17-year-old son, Tom, who is gay. She was trying to reassure him, pointing to several gay couples they know in Montclair.

“And he said, ‘But they’re not married,'” she said. “I suddenly got it that my son is acutely aware that he’s a second-class citizen.”

Hoping to correct the legislative lapses, Senator Loretta Weinberg told the Star-Ledger she plans to propose a marriage law “within weeks”.

This certainly isn’t the first time New Jersey’s civil union laws have been criticized. A similar report highlighted flaws last November, just eight months after the allegedly equal regulations went into action. United Parcel Service – otherwise known as UPS – also caused controversy last July when they employed a federal loophole to deny an employees’ the same benefits as their straight colleagues. The company finally folded after Governor Jon Corzine twisted the political screw.