New Jersey Civil Unions – passage and other things that were changed at the same time

December 15, 2006 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: Current Affairs, Life 

Yesterday, the NJ legislature passed a bill that will create civil unions between two people of the same gender, with the same rights and responsibilities as heterosexual marriages.  The term “marriage” was not used, the term “civil union” was used instead.  The governor is expected to sign the bill shortly – he has indicated that he will.

I have read the bill.  The writers of the bill were very comprehensive in granting equality to gay civil unions and marriage.  It looks like somebody did a search for the phrases “marriage” and “spouse” in state law and the bill amends each section to add civil unions.  There was clearly some intelligence involved – it wasn’t just a simple cut and paste.

I support civil unions and I believe that they should be labeled marriages.  I believe that they should be recognized in churches as well – including my Presbyterian Church (USA) denomination.  I hope that the gay rights activists will be satisfied with equality under a different name, and will let enough time go by before pushing hard to get the term changed.

While modifying the bill, a few other things that didn’t pertain to gay people were changed.  Here’s a list of some of them, and some other interesting stuff in the bill.

Any child born to a partner in a civil union becomes a child of both partners.  The same goes for adoptions.  Those children will be treated equally by the law as those born to married heterosexual couples, particularly in terms of divorce, custody and child support.

Interestingly, the law concerning sanguinity and marriage was modified.  The NJ restrictions were rather loose – first cousins have always been allowed to marry but you can’t marry your aunt or uncle or niece or nephew.  The modification was done simply by adding the same gender to each line – brother was added to the sentence about men, sister was added to the sentence about women.

The marriage license law was changed.  The old rule had the license issued in the hometown of the female.  If she was not an NJ resident, the license was issued in the hometown of the male.  If both were non-resident, the license was issued in the town where the wedding is to take place.  The new law changes it to allow that a marriage/civil union license may be issued in either party’s hometown – for both homo- and heterosexual couples.

NJ law concerning marriage of minors (under 18) requires the consent of a parent (and for under 16, a judge).  However, there was an old law that said if a minor boy managed to make any woman (“of good repute”) pregnant and was arrested for sexual intercourse with her, he could marry her immediately without consent.  This clause has been removed.

Anyone who could perform marriages can now also perform civil unions.  I believe that this includes lots of clergy who would rather not do so ….
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Premarital agreements (aka prenuptial agreements) are now also allowed for civil unions.

Civil unions can be nullified for all of the same reasons that marriages can be annuled, EXCEPT for impotence.  Interesting.

Name changes are allowed for either partner in a civil union – just like marriage.  Ditto for divorce – you can go back to the name that you were using before the union/marriage.

“Civil union status” is added to the list of discriminatory areas prohibited by law in NJ housing, employment and the like – alongside “marital status”.  “Affectional or sexual orientation” have been on that list in NJ for some time.  This means that it is now illegal to refuse to rent to a couple who are in a civil union.

Domestic Partnerships (the precursor to these civil unions, which had far fewer privileges) are no longer allowed for couples of the same sex.  They continue to be allowed for couples over age 62 (a group where an actual marriage could cause negative tax implications).

A New Jersey Civil Union Review Commission will be established to study the implications of this law and determine whether or not it should be changed and/or added to.  That commission will also study the option of removing the Domestic Partnership laws.  The commission will report back every 6 months for 3 years.

Any Civil Union from another state that is legal in that state will be recognized in NJ.  I suspect that this includes Massachusetts, Vermont, Connecticut and California.

Interesting changes.  Only 2 things change for heterosexuals and those changes are minor and to the benefits of the parties involved.  The rest is simple equality.  I approve.

Little Miss Hooters

May 21, 2004 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Can't Make This Up, Current Affairs 

Sekimori has taken pictures of a Hooters in Florida that is holding a “Little Miss Hooters” contest. Stacy found this herself and took the pictures. She didn’t reveal the exact franchise involved.

Apparently, Stacy called them to ask about it. The contest is for girls age 5 and UNDER, who will be dressed in spandex orange shorts and a tied-up Hooters T-Shirt.

This is just depraved. Small children are NOT sex objects. Feel free to let Hooters know what you think at Hooters PR Department. I will be doing the same.

UPDATE: I got the following response:

Thank you for expressing your concern regarding the contest in Florida. A store manager decided to host an event for the employee’s children which is not a part of Hooters National Marketing promotions, and has been cancelled.
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Hooters of America
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Using Children as Bombs

March 24, 2004 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Current Affairs 

Israel stopped another suicide bomber today – a 16-year-old Palestinian boy who reportedly had diminished intelligence: Yahoo Article

This is just disgusting. We’ve reached the point where the Palestinians are using CHILDREN (and apparently disabled children at that) to kill Israeli and Palestinians civilians.

If there’s any question of why the United States tends to support Israel in their conflict with Palestine, this should answer the question. Remember Megan Kanka? Amber Alerts? Americans love our children. There is very little that matches the fury of the populace against those who hurt or kill children. In Megan’s case, the people of Hamilton, NJ (where I live) bought her killer’s house and tore it down – putting a park in its place.
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There is no way the Palestinians are going to improve public opinion by using children to do their dirty work, while their leaders stay safe in their hiding places.

This is today’s submission for the Outside the Beltway Traffic Jam.

A Monkey’s First Banana

March 23, 2004 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Weblogs 

Chief Wiggles posts a new story of his visit to a US elementary school to receive toys for kids in Iraq.

My favorite quote:

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If you haven’t ever checked out his site, or Operation Give, you really should. The Chief is an Army National Guard officer from Utah who started a charity while in Iraq to give toys and school supplies to Iraqi children.