New Jersey says, “I do” to equal access
January 12, 2009
Here's the latest update from HRC's Anthony Hayes: 2009 may be the year for marriage in the Garden State. Many New Jersey legislators are beginning to talk about moving the state from civil unions to full marriage equality in the wake of an informative report from an official commission declaring, “that the separate categorization established by the Civil Union Act invites and encourages unequal treatment of same-sex couples and their children.” But Harriet Bernstein and Luisa Paster (pictured, center) have been fighting for more than a year to have equal access to perform their civil union ceremony at their town’s oceanfront boardwalk pavilion. Last week Harriet and Luisa received the ruling they had long awaited. Ocean Grove was founded as a Methodist beach community, and much of the land in Ocean Grove, including the Pavillion, is owned by the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association. Last week, the state’s Division on Civil Rights ruled that the pavilion is a public space and that the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association must make the space available to the public in a manner that does not violate the state’s anti-discrimination legislation. HRC and Garden State Equality have been supporting Harriet, Luisa and hundreds of Ocean Grove residents who came together as Ocean Grove United. They created a grassroots visibility effort to fight for equality in their home town and made flying HRC flags a key part of the campaign. HRC donated hundreds of equality flags to the visibility campaign. Driving through the town is quite amazing as you see the flags hanging on every block next to American flags. HRC’s national field director Marty Rouse and I had the extreme pleasure of attending an Ocean Grove United celebration on Friday night to help celebrate Harriet and Luisa’s victory. Friday night's celebration reminded me that each victory the LGBT community has gets us one step closer to full equality for all. "We are not an issue, we are human beings" was the message Marty Rouse imparted to the room of around one hundred supporters. Friday night’s celebration was the perfect start to a new year. We have great opportunities this year in both New York and New Jersey to win the campaign for marriage equality. HRC members worked hard during the 2008 Year To Win Campaign and played a key role in electing a new fair-minded leadership to New York State Senate. Governor Corzine in New Jersey and Governor Patterson in New York have both said they would sign marriage equality bills if passed. If you want to get involved with the campaigns for marriage equality in New York or New Jersey, please contact Anthony at [email protected]. Together we raise our glasses to Harriet and Luisa to celebrate their victory and pledge to keep fighting for full marriage equality. Cheers!!!!!
May 18, 2013