UPS in New Jersey: Two men can’t be “spouses”. Labor group condemns denial of benefits to employees.

United Parcel Service (UPS) has denied health benefits to the families of two Teamster-represented drivers in New Jersey who happen to be gay. UPS claims that the drivers’ partners are not “spouses” under the state’s civil union law.

Now Governor Corzine is involved. He wants UPS to offer gay employees the same benefits for their partners that married workers get.

Pride @ Work, the LGBT constituency group of the AFL-CIO has recently highlighted the denial of health benefits to same-sex partners of union-represented UPS employees in New Jersey, and said the primary responsibility lies with the New Jersey legislature, which failed to grant full marriage status to same-sex couples last year.

The group says “such hairsplitting is an unfortunate consequence of the legislature’s failure to do the right thing last year when the state Supreme Court ordered that same-sex couples be afforded all rights and responsibilities granted to heterosexual couples.”

UPS responded to the “hairsplitting” analogy, by contacting a journalist and popular blogger.

Steven Goldstein, Chair and Chief Executive of Garden State Equality, New Jersey’s statewide LGBT rights group, said “The responsibility rests squarely on the legislature.”

But Governor Corzine has sent a letter to UPS, asking for respect of New Jersey’s civil unions law.

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