In an effort to ensure that same-sex couples in New Jersey are treated fairly under the new civil union law to be signed today by Governor Corzine, Lambda Legal has launched ‘Civil Union Watch’, an advocacy and monitoring programme.

“The law isn’t even in effect yet and already we’re seeing news reports of mayors planning to discriminate against same-sex couples,” said David Buckel, Senior Counsel at Lambda Legal and lead attorney on the lawsuit that resulted in the October court decision and ultimately to today’s civil union law.

“In the two years that the domestic partnerships have been in place we’ve seen the hardships faced by some same-sex couples, and we’re prepared to continue to help couples navigate the pitfalls of a government-sanctioned second-class status.”

“Outside New Jersey, it might surprise same-sex couples in New York to know that they may be far better off taking a plane to Canada to get married than hopping a train to New Jersey for a civil union.

“In New York there has been widespread respect for same-sex couples’ marriages entered in Canada, but far less respect for civil unions putting couples who are seeking protections at greater risk for hardship,” added Mr Buckel.