Current Legislation - Feb. 16, 2012
“PAYCHECK FAIRNESS ACT.” AR-50 (Lampitt, Fuentes, Benson) passed the Assembly and will go the Senate. This resolution urges the United States Congress to pass the "Paycheck Fairness Act" in order to combat the persistent income gap that is attributable to systemic gender discrimination, provide women with more tools to achieve pay equity in the workplace, and assist the two-thirds of American families who rely on a woman's wages as a significant portion of their income achieve economic security. The Paycheck Fairness Act provides a much needed, first-ever update to the Equal Pay Act of 1963, bringing the law’s principles and practices in line with the nation’s other civil rights laws. NEA supports this bill in Congress and NJEA supports this Resolution.
MARRIAGE EQUALITY: A-1 (Gusciora, Oliver) This bill, titled the “Marriage Equality and Religious Exemption Act,” would authorize same-sex marriage in the State passed the Assembly and will go to the Governor’s desk. The bill defines “marriage” as the legally recognized union of two consenting persons in a committed relationship. Six states and the District of Columbia already allow same-sex couples to marry.
While the measure would give legal recognition to marriages of same-sex couples, clergy and others who object on religious grounds would be exempted from having to perform a ceremony. Similarly, the bill also provides that any child whose parent or guardian presents to the school principal a signed statement that any part of the instructions in health, family life education or sex education is in conflict with his conscience, or sincerely held moral or religious beliefs shall be excused from that portion of the course where such instruction is being given and no penalties as to credit or graduation shall result.
The Governor has stated several times that he will veto the bill but would like to see it put on the ballot for consideration by New Jersey voters. Democrats countered that voters should not decide questions of civil rights--- elected leaders are supposed to ensure those protections for citizens. NJEA has testified in support citing its long history of support for equal rights under the law. This bill will ensure that all NJEA members, including those in same-sex marriages, are not denied their rights, particularly as it relates to health benefits and child care leave.