New Jersey court recognizes right to same-sex unions

Discussion in 'Et Cetera, Et Cetera' started by Lex, Oct 25, 2006.

  1. Lex

    Lex
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    Hmmm...interesting. The people in the coasts at least seem to "get it."

    From CNN.com:
    New Jersey court recognizes right to same-sex unions



    TRENTON, New Jersey (AP) -- New Jersey's Supreme Court opened the door to gay marriage Wednesday, ruling that homosexuals are entitled to the same rights as heterosexuals, but leaving it to lawmakers to legalize same-sex unions.


    The high court gave lawmakers 180 days to rewrite marriage laws to either include same-sex couples or create a new system of civil unions for them.
    The ruling is similar to the 1999 decision in Vermont that led to civil unions there, which offer the benefits of marriage, but not the name.


    "Although we cannot find that a fundamental right to same-sex marriage exists in this state, the unequal dispensation of rights and benefits to committed same-sex partners can no longer be tolerated under our state Constitution," Justice Barry T. Albin wrote for the 4-3 majority's decision.
    Outside the Supreme Court, news of the ruling caused confusion, with many of the roughly 100 gay marriage supporters outside asking each other what it meant. Many started to agree that they needed to push for a state constitutional amendment to institute gay marriage.


    Garden State Equality, New Jersey's main gay and lesbian political organization quickly announced Wednesday that three lawmakers would introduce a bill in the Legislature to get full marriage rights to same-sex couples.


    Gay couples in New Jersey can already apply for domestic partnerships under a law the Legislature passed in 2004 giving gay couples some benefits of marriage, such as the right to inherit possessions if there is no will and healthcare coverage for state workers.
    Democratic Gov. Jon S. Corzine supports domestic partnerships, but not gay marriage.


    Supporters pushing for full gay marriage have had a two-year losing streak in state courts including New York, Washington, and in both Nebraska and Georgia, where voter-approved bans on gay marriage were reinstated.
    They also have suffered at the ballot boxes in 15 states where constitutions have been amended to ban same-sex unions.


    Cases similar to the one ruled on Wednesday, which was filed by seven by gay New Jersey couples, are pending in California, Connecticut, Iowa and Maryland.
    "New Jersey is a stepping stone," said Matt Daniels, president of the Virginia-based Alliance for Marriage, a group pushing for an amendment to the federal Constitution to outlaw same-sex marriage. "It's not about New Jersey."

    [​IMG]

    First Couple To APPLY TO BE Married In New Jersey

    Read the Court Opinion
     
  2. Mr. Snakey

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    Something nice for a change and in my state too.....:smile: :smile: :smile: :smile:
     
  3. Ross1

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    It is a great ruling, however, it is a shame the court didn't go further and just legalize same-sex marriage rather then throwing it back to the legislature. I read on the Garden State Equality website (www.gardenstateequality.org) that a bill to amend New Jersey's marriage statutes to allow same-sex couples to marry will soon be introduced. I hope it passes, however, I'm sure there will be some pressure to compromise with "Civil Union" instead.

    BTW, the caption below the picture of the two men is wrong.
     
  4. Mr. Snakey

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    It will pass. This was a big step forward.....:cool:
     
  5. Lex

    Lex
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    I actually just read the ruling (it's 90 pages long.) It really outlines all the steps NJ has (slowly) taken to reduce discrimination against people based on orientation dating back to 1974. It was an interesting and fascinating read. They said that while there was no basis in the NJ Constitution for a right to marriage, restricting that right is wrong.
     
  6. madame_zora

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    I think they are actually wise to take small steps, because they have a greater chance of passing. In the end, as long as forward progress is made, it paves the way for greater progress in the future. If the legislation doesn't pass at all because it seems too radical, then no one's cause is served.

    People are basically stupid, and desire not to be disturbed far more than they desire to do the right thing. Fundamentalism having swept the nation in the way that it has proves this beyond any doubt, and no one was more surprised than me. I gave our country WAY too much credit, as I suspect many other "liberals" did too.
     
  7. Mr. Snakey

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    Yes This is being treated as a civil rights matter. Thats why it will pass :cool:
     
  8. rawbone8

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    Yes they are catching up. That's good.

    The GOP must feel they have been tossed a huge life preserver though, considering the timing in relation to the mid term elections. Fresh fuel for their campaign to distract the base from their mistakes and drive up the negative emotions to get the hard liners in their base to actually show up and vote instead of staying home in disgust with their representatives.

    Expect to see a frenzy of ads seizing on this hot issue.
     
  9. madame_zora

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    It's already been happening here, the repubs are running a lot of "He's/she's one of US" ads proclaiming their disgust with gay marriage, immigration, pulling out of the war and and other "liberal issues". You're right, the timing is good for them.
     
  10. headbang8

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    Well, New Jersey WAS the first state to elect an openly gay governor. Though the "openly gay" and the "governor" parts overlapped but briefly.
     
  11. Lex

    Lex
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    Slow and steady progress is best to me as well. It logically builds a case that is hard to deny. The court opinion did this nicely.

    Right--us crazy liberals and "our 'issues'"--HA!!. Heaven forbid we want (a) our soliders home with their families (and alive) or at least that rthey had adequate armor and protections, (b) people to all be afforded the same rights, and/or (c) to halt immigration for the sake of threatened caucasians everywhere (a national majority but global minority).

    I think most would not worry so much about immigration had they not abused their own power while they were in the majority and did not fear a backlash. The corporations filling politicians back pockets LOVE dirt cheap labor--don't ever think otherwise.

    Most polls show that they should lose control of Congress, regardless. The only thing not certain is HOW much of a change there will be. Meet The Press was fascinating last week.
     
  12. joyboytoy79

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    The timing is especially great (fot the repugnantans) considering the overwhelming obstacles the Democratic incumbent is trying to overcome. Kean is already blasting the airwaves with his "Menendez is under federal investigation" bullshit. Unfortunately, here in Delaware we get to hear about it too. This article explains it all too eloquently.

    I do hope NJ is able to keep it's Blue roots. And I hope after all the dust settles in 2 weeks (from yesterday) the state legislature is sensible enough to grant REAL marriages. Haven't we already decided in this country that "separate but equal" doesn't work?
     
  13. fortiesfun

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    I was actually struck by the proposition at the heart of this decision that it wasn't about redefining marriage, but being sure that everyone had equal rights. This ruling said that gay couples have to be given the same rights as straight couples no matter what you call it. That seems to me not "separate but equal," but instead "rights not labels." Given our raging debate on that in another thread, I'd suspect that most of us could give a flip about the label as long as the full package of equal rights comes along. That is really not a gradualist position. It just avoids the fight about a single word.
     
  14. SpeedoGuy

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    The ruling will be sure to drive wingnuts off the deep end. Stay tuned.
     
  15. joyboytoy79

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    Ah, but "Civil Unions" are not recognized by the feds, whereas "Marriages" are. If a couple get's a civil union in vermont, they are unable to sue the federal government for not giving it the same weight as is given marriages. However, such suits are already in the works for couples married in MA. In this instance the label is VERY important, because it affords further rights. This is very much a case of "seperate but equal" and not at all about labels. "Give them something that looks like what they want, and let them read the fine print later."
     
  16. fortiesfun

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    You know I am on your side about this, but there is little difference between Vermont's civil unions and MA's marriage, as both contain clauses that specifically keep them from being transferable. It is not the Feds that screw either of those up, however, but the internal language of the laws themselves. And the Feds have fought off recongition of Canadian marriages successfully, so I am not as sure as you that the word will be magic. Still, I concur that it would be great if it happened!
     
  17. DC_DEEP

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    Thank you, joyboy, you actually remember something from Plessy v. Ferguson and Brown v. The Board of Education. Yes, I know, those were cases involving riding a train and going to school, but the core of each case DOES apply here. You can't have equality without equality.

    Additionally, while it is encouraging, am I the only one who sees a couple of problems with the NJ court's decision? The language used in the opinions is of great importance here, and has been used by the neocons several times in the last couple of years regarding same-gender marriage.

    By ruling that there is no "fundamental right to same-sex marriage" in the NJ constitution, the majority framed the liberty/due process issue in a narrow, circular way. Of course there's no "fundamental right to same-sex marriage" in the NJ or US constitution. But to my knowledge, neither is there a "fundamental right to opposite-gender marriage" in the federal, or any state, constitution.

    Again, I say, the language of the decision and the opinions is of utmost importance. Don't pop open the champagne just yet, friends.

    My solution to the whole issue, rather than "granting the right of marriage to homosexuals," all governments need to get out of the marriage business. All laws predicated upon marital status need to be abolished. Marriage needs to become a civil and/or religious entity, not a legal one.
     
  18. Freddie53

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    This issue is a civil rights matter. Marriage has two components possible. A civil marriage with license granted by the state and then the religious one where the ceremony is conducted by a church.

    I would never require churches to do same sex marriages. If their doctrine holds that it is wrong FOR THIER MEMBERS than fine let the gay or lesbian couple get married somewhere else.

    But neither should that 'fundie' church be allowed to dictate to the state itsreligious views on all the churches and their members and the non church people as well.

    It is for the state, not the church, a civil rights issue. Any group of judges looking at it only in civil rights terms will come to the same conclusion.

    To deny rights of ownership, wills, and all of that to a gay or lesbian couple is just a violation of their civil rights, pure and simple.
     
  19. DC_DEEP

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    Freddie, that still does not address the issue of state involvement. What is the government's vested interest in marriage? Of what benefit is marriage to any government?
     
  20. joyboytoy79

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    DC,

    I feel ill equiped to expain why, but somehow it seems logical that government should have some sort of marital law. I fully understand your argument that civil marriage should simply be abolished, but for reasons that are right now beyond my ability to verbalize, i disagree with it.

    Since, however, every law maker that has made a stance against gay marriage has done so with some sort of religious slant, i would like to point out some simple, yet oft overlooked facts.

    1. MANY churches do recognize gay marriages. If religion is going to be concidered in these laws, it would have to be done in a way that restricts the freedom of NOW churches to express their own doctorines on the subject. To do otherwise is unconstitutional.
    2. The catholic church, baptist chuch, and indeed many others, will still not allow partners of differing religions to marry. The laws that allow partners of differing religions to marry have not impeded these churches rights to deny recognition of such marriages. A civil marriage holds no weight in the eyes of a church. Thus, legalizing same sex marriage will not in any way change the face of religious marriages.
    3. "The institution of marriage is traditionally between one man and one woman." There are several flaws in this popular thinking.

    First, the use of "institution" in this context denotes an "established law, practice or custom." Laws regarding marriage change with somewhat regular frequency. The practice of marriage changes with very regular frequency. The customs of marriage are so variable even within one culture that even a broad definition of marital custom is implausible. Thus, marriage is actually an amalgamation of at least hundreds, if not thousands of institutions, one of which happens to be gay.

    Second, the use of the word "traditionally" is laughable. Traditions are long established customs. It has been, what, 2 generations since the mormons officially dropped polygamy? One would hardly be able to say their traditional marriage is between one man and one woman, as this custom is far from long established. Some muslim traditions still have customary harems. Even the catholic church, within relatively recent history, allowed polygamous marriages within certain contexts. The "one man and one woman" tradition seems to be applicable only for a few protestant religions.
    In summary, i can see no reasonable explanation for denying gays access to the thousands of legal protections that are afforded by marriage. I am also very leery of "civil unions." If a civil union does indeed afford all of the same protections as marriage, why does it need a different name? I think the answer to that is simple: "if we don't call them marriages, we can change the rules on gay unions without changing the rules on straight unions." That doesn't sit well with me. Not one iota.
     
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