The New Jersey Civil Union Act: What everyone should know

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In response to the New Jersey Supreme Court’s recognition that “committed same-sex couples must be afforded on equal terms the same rights and benefits enjoyed by married opposite-sex couples”, Governor Corzine signed into law the New Jersey Civil Union Act in December 2006.    The Act recognizes “civil unions” for same-sex couples and amends the State’s marriage, insurance, tax, health and pension laws, among others, to provide that civil union partners are accorded “all of the same benefits, protections and responsibilities under the law… as are granted to spouses in a marriage.” 

The purpose of this article is to help familiarize civil unioned couples with the benefits to which they are entitled under the Act and identify certain steps that employers should take to help ensure compliance with its requirements.