Professor Joanna Grossman is a FindLaw columnist. Her latest column“Separate is Not Equal, According to the New Jersey Civil Union Review Commission: The Implications of Its Findings that the Civil Union Alternative ‘Invites and Encourages Unequal Treatment'”appeared January 20, 2009. FindLaw, a Thomson Reuters business, is the world’s leading provider of online legal information and Internet marketing solutions for law firms.
In December 2006, the New Jersey Legislature adopted a civil union law, permitting same-sex couples to enter into a legal alternative to marriage. The legislature acted in the wake of a ruling from the New Jersey Supreme Court, holding that it did not violate the state constitution’s guarantees of equal protection or due process for the state to exclude same-sex couples from marriage, as long as it offered them the benefits of marriage.