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(TRENTON) – Assembly Speaker Sheila Y. Oliver (D-Essex/Passaic) released the following statement Thursday as the Assembly Judiciary Committee considered marriage equality legislation (A-1) she is sponsoring:

“All the evidence has shown us that New Jersey’s civil union law falls far short in providing true equality.
“Civil unions send a message to the public that same-sex couples and their families are not equal to married couples in the eyes of the law.
“It sends a message that same-sex couples are not good enough to warrant equality.
“This is the same message we heard from Jim Crow segregation laws. Separate treatment was wrong then. Separate treatment is wrong now. That’s why this bill is so important, and that’s why those of us elected to protect civil rights must stand up and do the right thing and support it.
“Let’s stand for what’s right. Let’s stand for every family. Let’s stand for equality. There can be no other way.
“Our state’s diversity has long been our strength. Let’s finally embrace all New Jerseyans.”