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Old 10-25-2006, 05:07 PM   #1
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New Jersey embraces civil rights for all couples

[q]New Jersey Court Backs Rights for Same-Sex Unions

By LAURA MANSNERUS
The State Supreme Court in New Jersey said today that same-sex couples are entitled to “the same rights and benefits enjoyed by opposite-sex couples under the civil marriage statutes.” But the court, in its 4-3 ruling, that whether that status would be called marriage, or something else, “is a matter left to the democratic process.”

The court’s eagerly awaited decision found that an arrangement similar to that of Vermont, which authorizes civil unions between same-sex couples but does not call them marriages, would be consitutional in New Jersey under the equal protection guarantees. The court gave the legislature a six-month deadline to enact the necessary legislation to provide for same-sex unions.

The decision leaves Massachusetts as the only state to authorize same-sex marriages as such. Since the Massachusetts Supreme Court held in 2003 that that full marriage rights were required for all couples under that state’s constitution, gay-rights advocates have suffered a string of defeats in other states. The Court of Appeals of New York rejected a similar argument in July.

Steven Goldstein, the chairman of the gay-rights group Garden State Equality, said the court’s decision was disappointing.

“Those who would view today’s ruling as a victory for same sex couples are dead wrong,” he said. “Half-steps short of marriage — like New Jersey’s domestic-partnership law and also civil union laws — don’t work in the real world.”

Mr. Goldstein promised an immediate campaign to change the state law.

According to the 90-page description of their ruling published by the court today, the justices acknowledged that “times and attitudes have changed.” “ There has been a developing understanding that discrimination against gays and lesbians is no longer acceptable in this state,” they wrote.

But the justices wrote that this case and other federal cases cited by the plaintiffs “fall far short” of establishing a fundamental right to marriage, which is an institution the court termed “deeply rooted in the traditions, history, and conscience of the people of this state."

“Despite the rich diversity of this state, the tolerance and goodness of its people, and the many recent advances made by gays and lesbians toward achieving social acceptance and equality under the law, the Court cannot find that the right to same-sex marriage is a fundamental right under our constitution,” the court wrote.

But the court also said that denying same sex couples “the financial and social benefits and privileges given to their married heterosexual counterparts bears no substantial relationship to a legitimate governmental purpose.”[/q]



i'm fine with this. it basically requries NJ to have civil unions, and then let the people decide what to call them. fine. i'm taking a bit of a "let the baby have his bottle" attitude. if the word "marrige" is so precious to heterosexuals who shit out countless kids in and out of wedlock (and who need the word "marriage" to protect children from the dangers of rampant heterosexuality, as the NY State Court ruled earlier this year) and divorce 50% of the time, then leave that word to them. but it's refreshing to see the court insist that while there might not be a right to Marriage, as culturally understood, there is a right to equal treatment under the law. this seems thoroughly sane and well-reasoned and entirely rational. marriage is not being imposed; civil unions are. and this is in no way "activist." is there a logical option other than to apply the equal opportunity clause to everyone? i pay taxes, therefore i'm entitled to the same civil treatment by the government as Joe Heterosexual 6-Pack. if the majority heterosexual citizens of NJ need to have a vote to impose a label on these unions that will be, by definition, derogatory and impose a colliquial status of "less-than" in comparison to marriage, i suppose that's just one more slap in the face gay people will have to endure. nothing new. and that horrible 1996 DOMA law -- that prevented Gerry Studd's husband from getting any federal death benefits -- keeps this in NJ only.

what's there to complain about?

now, let's see how Rove can spin this to scare the Christofascists out to the polls ...
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Old 10-25-2006, 06:52 PM   #2
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Well, it's still a wimpy decision and still reeks of "separate but equal."

And i don't understand why, for the basis of their decision, they would compare NJ legislation to Vermont's situation and not Massachusetts'.

But if "civil unions" provide exactly the same legal rights as "marriages" and all the existing state and municipal gov't laws are changed to reflect that equality, i suppose that would be good enough...for now.
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Old 10-25-2006, 06:57 PM   #3
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None of it will be good enough until federal benefits, such as same-sex immigration and Social Security benefits for same-sex widow(er)s, are permitted.

Until then, I think very little of all of this posturing.

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Old 10-25-2006, 07:10 PM   #4
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I still can't figure out what's so goddamn hard about letting two people get married.
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Old 10-25-2006, 08:29 PM   #5
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after two years of defeats for the most preposterous of reasons, i'm just happy to make at least a little progress, and given the mood of the country where a majority support civil unions but people still freak out about the word "marriage," this looks like a good stepping stone.



baby steps.
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Old 10-25-2006, 08:52 PM   #6
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baby steps.
I agree, and see your point.


But really, these people need to get a grip.
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Old 10-25-2006, 09:49 PM   #7
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I still can't figure out what's so goddamn hard about letting two people get married.
No fucking shit. Let's ask all the heterosexuals who take their marriages or relationships as seriously as they all should.
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Old 10-25-2006, 10:27 PM   #8
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It's a step in the right direction, but they need to do what they did in Massachusetts and call it marriage with all the benefits of a married couple. I don't see why two people of the same sex can't marry.
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Old 10-25-2006, 11:34 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by Irvine511
after two years of defeats for the most preposterous of reasons, i'm just happy to make at least a little progress, and given the mood of the country where a majority support civil unions but people still freak out about the word "marriage," this looks like a good stepping stone.



baby steps.
I mean, you're right. Any step in the right direction IS progress, regardless of the size.

But I couldn't help but yell "UGH! Hurry the fuck UP!" when I was reading this. It's still frustrating...but like you said, it is something.
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Old 10-26-2006, 10:04 AM   #10
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Originally posted by martha
But really, these people need to get a grip.


yes. they do. well put.
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Old 10-26-2006, 02:33 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by verte76
It's a step in the right direction, but they need to do what they did in Massachusetts and call it marriage with all the benefits of a married couple. I don't see why two people of the same sex can't marry.
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Old 10-26-2006, 03:03 PM   #12
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Originally posted by verte76
It's a step in the right direction, but they need to do what they did in Massachusetts and call it marriage with all the benefits of a married couple. I don't see why two people of the same sex can't marry.
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Old 10-26-2006, 03:42 PM   #13
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Now - if only we can get polygamy and incestual marriage legalized - then nobody who wants to marry will be denied.
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Old 10-26-2006, 03:45 PM   #14
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Now - if only we can get polygamy and incestual marriage legalized - then nobody who wants to marry will be denied.
Shut the fuck up about this.
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Old 10-26-2006, 03:53 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally posted by martha

Shut the f**k up about this.
Wow, so much for tolerance

Seriously though, why shouldn't we allow ANYONE - regardless of how many many or how related - to marry if they want? I haven't seen a good argument against this. Maybe there was one, but I missed it.
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