Family Law

Civil Union Law Lacks Clout

Posted Jul 2, 2007 12:58 PM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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Same-sex couples who got hitched under a New Jersey civil-unions law are running into roadblocks that bar them from getting the same benefits as married couples.

A survey by the gay-advocacy group Garden State Equality found that as many as one in eight couples were denied at least some of the benefits they hoped to gain under the law, the Washington Post reports.

The problem lies with federal regulations that permit companies with self-funded insurance plans to ignore state laws regulating benefits.

California attempted to trump the federal regulations by requiring any company doing business in the state to provide insurance to same-sex couples. Many large companies complied.

But in New Jersey, Bruce Moskovitz learned that the law didn’t give his domestic partner the same rights to his pension as a married spouse.

"The reality is that civil unions are not being treated as marriage--they're clearly seen as something less," Moskovitz told the Post.

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