New Jersey State Bar Association - The voluntary Bar Association of New Jersey, serving members since 1899.

CONTACT:Barbara S. Straczynski
Director of Communications

State Bar Favors Equal Rights for Same-Sex Couples

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—The New Jersey State Bar Association voted today to support Assembly Bill 3685, “The Civil Marriage and Religious Protection Act.” The NJSBA Board of Trustees concluded that enactment of the bill would be the best means of effectuating the decision of the New Jersey Supreme Court in Lewis v. Harris. The court held that “the unequal dispensation of rights and benefits to committed same-sex partners can no longer be tolerated.” The bill essentially extends to committed, same-sex partners all the rights and responsibilities of those in heterosexual relationships.

The board voted to oppose A-3787, a bill that would permit same-sex couples to enter into civil unions. The board concluded that the 71-page bill creates a convoluted, burdensome and flawed statutory scheme that fails to create for same-sex couples identical rights and remedies provided to heterosexual married couples as required by the Supreme Court as well as the Constitution. The board concluded that the civil union legislation would create a separate, unequal and unnecessarily complex legal scheme.

NJSBA President Wayne J. Positan said, “The board further questioned why the Legislature is rushing to pass this bill even though so much time remains left for them to deliberate prior to reaching the 180-day deadline for action set by the Supreme Court in Lewis v. Harris. There has not been enough time devoted by the Legislature to deal with the significant issues that need be addressed by the bill.”

The New Jersey State Bar Association, incorporated in 1899, is dedicated to the continuing education of lawyers and the public, to reforming and improving the legal system and to aiding in the administration of justice.