Sezme points out that Loretta Weinberg has an article in today's Record about the Civil Unions bill (S-2407) that she is co-sponsoring with Senate President Richard Codey. She claims that the bill will "provide same-sex couples with all the rights of heterosexual marriage as mandated by the October ruling of the New Jersey Supreme Court."
The purpose of her op-ed piece is to explain why it is politically expedient to create a whole separate (but allegedly equal) infrastructure to confer a set of rights on gay couples rather than simply letting them get married like everyone else.
Weinberg has always been a champion of gay rights and I appreciate her pragmatic approach to getting these rights on the books as quickly as possible, however, it doesn't seem fair to me that a whole class of families should be treated differently under the law mainly because certain traditionalists have some proprietary claim over the word "marriage" and "spouse".
This raises the question of whether heterosexual couples intending to be married in a civil ceremony as I was, should be permitted to elect to have "civil union" rather than "marriage" status. It seems to me that the real test of whether civil unions are the same thing as marriage is to permit heterosexual couples to opt for civil union status and see if they lose certain rights as a consequence.