January 13, 2004
Category: Domestic Partners
HRC Celebrates New Jersey Domestic Partner Bill Granting Protections and Rights to Same-Sex Couples
Landmark Bill is Great Step Toward Equality for Same-Sex State Couples
WASHINGTON - The Human Rights Campaign celebrated the signing of a bill yesterday in New Jersey that establishes domestic partnerships for the state's same-sex couples. Gov. James E. McGreevey signed Assembly Bill 3743 into law after it passed the State Assembly in December and the State Senate just last week. The bill grants medical benefits, insurance and other legal rights to the state's same-sex couples.
"This is absolutely a great step toward equality for New Jersey's same-sex couples and their families, who have the same need for legal rights and protections that all other families do," said HRC President Cheryl Jacques. "While there is great work yet to be done to ensure that all couples in the state have full and equal rights under the law, we celebrate the signing of this bill as a landmark sign of progress."
Assembly woman Loretta Weinberg was the lead sponsor of the domestic partnership bill. "This new law extends equal rights to another segment of our New Jersey community. We are talking about our children, families, colleagues, neighbors and co-workers and we are happy to welcome them as equal members of society," said Weinberg.
HRC supported the legislation in a variety of ways, including co-sponsoring a series of town hall meetings across the state to build awareness on the issue. HRC members in New Jersey sent hundreds of faxes and emails to legislators in support of the bill, and Carrie Evans, HRC's State Legislative Lawyer drafted portions of the bill.
HRC was also proud to work with the New Jersey Lesbian and Gay Coalition to build grassroots and legislative support for this bill.
"The state of New Jersey has again taken a leadership role in pursuit of GLBTI rights. I am proud of the legislature and governor for making this legislation a reality. But mostly I am proud of New Jersey's GLBTI community for building a large and effective coalition that included local, state and national organizations like HRC," said Laura Pople, President of the New Jersey Lesbian and Gay Coalition.
HRC is a member of the Domestic Partnership Task Force which is composed of local and national groups committed to achieving legal and economic protections for same-sex couples. HRC also sponsored a fiscal impact study that was used to educate legislators.