Saturday, February 16, 2008

Surprise Me? Or Find a Better Writer/Editor?

by Ken Houghton

Some of the following is clearly true:
A commission established to study same-sex civil unions in New Jersey has found in its first report that civil unions create a "second-class status" for gay couples, rather than giving them equality....

[Gay rights advocates] say civil unions, in practice, do not offer the legal protections that marriage does. The commission largely agreed with them.

So far, so good. And no great surprises. Indeed, one of the major barricades is also not a surprise:
The commission also finds that many people in the state do not understand civil unions, which create a "second-class status."

while another shouldn't be, but is:
For instance, the commission found that many companies in the state that are self-insured -- and therefore are regulated by federal, rather than state, law -- refuse to provide health insurance to the partners of their employees.

While employers in Massachusetts could legally do the same thing, most do not, according to the report.

Employers generally want to keep their better workers, so there is an element of surprise there, though it may be more a timing issue as businesses adjust to the presence of civil unions among their staffs.

On the other hand, this seems badly written, or at least improbable:
The commission's report says the misunderstanding of civil unions makes it more difficult for a child to grow up in New Jersey with gay parents, or to be gay themselves.

If anyone can explain why either of those would be more difficult now than it was a year ago, I'm willing to hear explanations. Or even rational speculation. Meanwhile:
Gay rights advocates say the civil unions do not deliver and have pledged to push lawmakers to vote to allow marriage. Gov. Jon S. Corzine has said he would be willing to sign such a bill into law but doesn't want the issue to be taken up before the presidential election in November.

Sadly, I understand the reasoning. It is left as an exercise whether it should be viewed as correct.

In the meantime, happy near-anniversary to several neighbors who, after many years of commitment, will be celebrating their first legal year together soon.

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