Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Surprise!

The New Jersey Supreme Court today ruled that same-sex couples deserve the same rights as straight couples, and ordered the legislature to rectify the situation.
New Jersey's Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that same-sex couples are entitled to the same rights as heterosexual couples.

But the court left it to the Legislature to determine whether the state will honor gay marriage or some other form of civil union.

Advocates on both sides of the issue believed the state posed the best chance for gay marriage to win approval since Massachusetts became the only state to do so in 2003 because the New Jersey Supreme Court has a history of extending civil rights protections.

Instead, the high court stopped short of fully approving gay marriage and gave lawmakers 180 days to rewrite marriage laws to either include gay couples or create new civil unions. (AP)

This is the right ruling, I think. It strikes a balance that a lot of people will be able to live with.

But. It's October. It's late October, and everything is political. Is this what the national Republican Party, reeling from scandal, Iraq and the misfortunes of an unpopular president, has been looking for?

The ramifications, if there are any, won't be strongly felt here in Connecticut. We have civil unions already, and only the extremists at the Family Institute seem to care. But what about in Virginia? What about Montana, or Idaho? Will a mild ruling in New Jersey help light a fire under disenchanted evangelical voters?

We'll see.

Source

"New Jersey court recognizes right to same-sex unions." Associated Press 25 October, 2006.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Welcome to the Senate Mr. Keane!!!
The majority ball is in the Dems, hands right now...why do I get the feeling that they are about to drop it?

adam said...

Evan Wolfson, Executive Director of Freedom to Marry says,

“Today's unanimous NJ Supreme Court ruling is a recognition of the equal needs and common humanity of committed same-sex couples and their kids. The Court said these American families are entitled to equal rights and responsibilities under the law. As the legislature moves now to implement the constitution's command of equality, we are confident that legislators will see that the right way to end discrimination in marriage is, indeed, to end discrimination in marriage, not repackage it. The easiest next step is not to cobble together a separate new system with two lines at the clerks' office, but rather, to end the exclusion from marriage itself with two simple words, ‘I do.’”

Bobby McGee said...

I think it may have a small effect, but definitely not on any CT races. It might motivate some evengelical voters, but it's probably too little too late.

Anonymous said...

Note that the court "leaves it to the legislature" to decide what to do. That's why court's write "opnion pieces". That's all they can do.

If the New Jersey legislature decides that it has more pressing issues to deal with in the next 180 days then what will the Supreme Court do? Hold them all in contempt?

Its just too bad that the court can't make laws, can only write opinions and those judges can only wish they had a legislator's job. I just hate bullies...

Anonymous said...

Its amazing, this has not come up as an issue anywhere in CT. What do you think the next QPoll on gay marriage opinion in CT will be? I bet a majority of CT now supports it, just like in NJ, VT and MA

Shadow said...

You'd have to think so, based on the responses to the gays in the military question in the last Senate debate; it was the one solitary issue on which they each totally concurred. Lamont, Lieberman, and Schlesinger all agreed that gays deserve to serve in the military, and that the don't ask/don't tell policy of anonimity should be dropped.

MikeCT said...

A majority of Connecticut residents already supported civil unions 1 1/2 years ago. A smaller majority opposed equal marriage, though I would not be surprised if that has flipped by now.

Support for equality has been a plus for candidates, with 80% of candidates endorsed by Love Makes a Family winning in 2004.

MTV, of all organizations, put the issue in context in a PSA, as did Jon Stewart.

Anonymous said...

The New Jersey Supreme Court decision is the right decision legally (and in my opinion morally). But the decision, as I read it, does not require marriage, but would allow for civil unions similar to what we have in CT. If that interpretation is correct, then this decision helps those in CT and other states that may want to enact civil unions but not marriage. This case, coupled with Vermont, puts forth the argument that civil unions provides the rights of marriage; whereas, the Mass ruling said that only marriage would. I think that the CT Supreme Court would likely follow the NJ, VT standard, not Mass. As a result, the only way to get gay marriage in CT is via the legislature and not the courts.

What do the legal experts on this board think?

Anonymous said...

the open question from the various Opinions by the court seems to boil down to: do same sex couples have the right to marry or the right to the benefits of marriage or both?