Thursday, January 10, 2008

NJ Civil Rights Division Refuses To End Probe of Pavilion Barring Civil Unions

According to yesterday's Bridgewater (NJ) Courier News and today's Asbury Park Press, the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights (DCR) has denied a motion filed by the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association to dismiss complaints filed against it by two lesbian couples. The DCR is investigating the Camp Meeting Association's refusal to permit civil unions at its Boardwalk Pavilion. A central issue is whether Camp Meeting Association is a religious organization that is exempt from the public accommodation provisions of New Jersey's Law Against Discrimination. (See AG Formal Opinion No. 1-2007). The ACLU of New Jersey representing complainants argues that the Association is separate from its parent organization, the United Methodist Church. Even though the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled in 1979 that the Association is a religious organization, DCR is looking into whether its status has subsequently changed. (See prior related posting.)