The "separate but not equal" status of New Jersey’s civil unions has been reinforced once again, this time by the United Parcel Service, who says it won’t offer benefits to the same-sex partner of one of its employees, even though they are registered in a civil union in the state.
Why? Because the language does not recognize the partner as a "spouse".
The Star Ledger reports: "In its letter denying coverage, UPS said it does provide
health benefits to its employees’ spouses, including
spouses of the same sex who are married in Massachusetts.
But it said New Jersey’s decision to recognize same-sex
relationships as civil unions rather than marriages tied its
hands. Gay rights activists called it the starkest proof to date
that New Jersey’s civil union law has failed to deliver
on its promise to provide all the benefits of marriage, but
by a different name."
New Jersey gay rights group Garden State Equality says it has received 176 complaints of civil unions not being recognized.
Chairman Steven Goldstein told the paper: "This is a problem the Legislature created. Civil unions are never in our
lifetime going to be respected by employers like
marriage. We’ve heard from many
legislators that this is something they want to deal with in
2008. They know
it’s a disaster. In the real world, civil unions are to
marriage what artificial sweetener is to sugar. It’s
not the same thing and it leaves a bad aftertaste."