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Jersey Rocks

Contrary to the long held opinion of The Boy (who grew up in Philly), Jersey is currently the coolest state in the Union. It is now the only state where people of no sexual preference are treated the same as everyone else…

Via CNN

New Jersey court recognizes right to same-sex unions

POSTED: 3:49 p.m. EDT, October 25, 2006

TRENTON, New Jersey (AP) — 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. (Opinion — pdfexternal link)

“The issue is not about the transformation of the traditional definition of marriage, but about the unequal dispensation of benefits and privileges to one of two similarly situated classes of people,” the court said in its 4-3 ruling.

New Jersey lawmakers voted to allow domestic partnerships in 2004, but they have been reluctant to delve into the sensitive issue of marriage.

Under domestic partnerships, gay couples have some benefits of marriage, such as the right to inherit possessions if there is no will and healthcare coverage for state workers.

The case was brought by seven gay couples who say the state constitution allows them to marry.

New Jersey is one of only five U.S. states with neither a law nor a state constitutional amendment blocking same-sex marriage. As a result, the state is more likely than others to allow gays to wed, said advocacy groups on both sides.

Only Massachusetts — by virtue of a 2003 ruling from that state’s top court — allows gay marriages.

Proponents and opponents from across the country are watching the case closely.

“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.”

From a practical standpoint, the Massachusetts court decision made little impact nationally because the state has a law barring out-of-state couples from wedding there if their marriages would not be recognized in their home states.

New Jersey has no such law.

People on both sides of the issue expect a victory for same-sex unions would make New Jersey a destination for gay couples from around the country who want to get married. Some of those couples could return home and sue to have their marriages recognized.

Daniels said gay-rights advocates are already looking ahead to such lawsuits. “Their game, of course, is they figure all they need to do is execute this maneuver in a half-dozen states and they’ll have the momentum,” he said.

David S. Buckel, the Lambda Legal lawyer who argued on behalf of the seven New Jersey couples, said he expects some couples would travel to the New Jersey to get married if his suit is successful. But, he said, “it won’t be tidal.”

Buckel said that there have been relatively few such lawsuits filed in the U.S. by couples who went to Canada to exchange vows.

And, he said, while many same-sex couples would prefer to be married, they are getting more legal protections for their relationships. Several states, including New Jersey, offer domestic partnerships or civil unions with some of the benefits of marriage. A growing number of employers are treating same-sex couples the same way they treat married couples.

Cases similar to New Jersey’s are pending in California, Connecticut, Iowa and Maryland.

Conservatives watching the cases believe the best chance for gay marriage to be allowed would be in New Jersey, where the state Supreme Court has a history of extending civil rights protections.

Gay marriage supporters have had a two-year losing streak, striking out in state courts in New York and Washington state and in ballot boxes in 15 states where constitutions have been amended to ban same-sex unions.

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

We still hate the Devils, though.

Filed under: Politics

8 Responses

  1. blipey says:

    Okay, I’ll give NJ a small break. In this matter, way cool. In the upstate, Johnsonburg sort of area, kinda cool.

    Jersey Shore: Belmar, etc. Way cool. Everywhere else, SUCKITUDE! New Jersey sucks. I’ve spent 2 weeks there now, in a row, and it sucks. AHHHHHHHHH!

  2. Lou FCD says:

    Lemme just say that I did indeed grow up in Philly, and Jersey does indeed suck.

    In fact, we used to say that Pennsylvania was once in the midwest, but Jersey SUCKS.

    Growing up, we were pretty good with the idea of amputating all of Jersey from the Delaware River to just before the shore, and pulling the shore up close to Philly.

    Once I saw the North Carolina beaches, I realized just how much the Jersey shore sucks, too.

    I’ll give them credit for this, but otherwise Jersey has much “SUCKITUDE”.

    And it smells funny, too.

  3. JanieBelle says:

    The current CNN story has some interesting additional information.

    “The court’s vote was 4-to-3. But the ruling was more strongly in favor of same-sex marriage than that split would indicate. The three dissenting justices argued the court should have extended full marriage rights to homosexuals, without kicking the issue back to legislators.”

    Well that rocks even more.

    “Garden State Equality, a gay rights group, announced that three state legislators plan to introduce a bill to legalize same-sex marriage. In an e-mail to supporters, the chairman of the group, Steven Goldstein, vowed that only “over our dead bodies will we settle for less than 100 percent marriage equality.””

    Of course, the usual bullshit from the right wing…

    “Those angered by the ruling predicted it will reinvigorate the fight in Congress for a federal constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage nationwide.

    “They took the future of marriage out of the hands of the people of New Jersey,” said Matt Daniels of the Alliance for Marriage, which supports the amendment. “They are holding a gun to the head of the legislature of New Jersey and saying pick between two bullets — one that allows civil unions and one that allows marriage.”

    Sen. Sam Brownback a leading social conservative in Congress, said the New Jersey decision “warrants swift, decisive action by Congress in the form of passage of the Marriage Protection Amendment.”

    “Huge social changes should be decided by the people and their elected representatives and should not be forced by the courts,” the Kansas Republican said in a written statement.

    The federal amendment, which President Bush supports, has stalled in Congress. It has so far failed to get the necessary two-thirds vote to be submitted to the states for ratification.

    Opponents of same-sex marriage contend the New Jersey decision could have a national impact because the state imposes no residency requirements for people seeking marriage. In essence, it could open the door for gay and lesbian couples from other states to marry in New Jersey and challenge laws against same-sex marriage in their own states.”

    Yep. ‘We don’t want them damned queers marryin’! Dat might make us normal folks get divorced! Plus, they might actually get treated like PEOPLE!’

    Fundies suck. Jersey fundies suck double.

  4. PiGuy says:

    My wife is a gymnastics coach. One of the other coaches is gay (and black – I think that this tends to the full effect in the end) and, every year on the weekend of the state championships, he holds an open house to show off his garden. Mrs. Pi is an avid gardener and has always admired Mr. Damon’s flowers. Last year, my daughter Emily (who was 11 or 12 at the time) was competing that weekend and Mom thought that it was okay to let Em come along. Apparently, Em had never thought about Mr. Damon’s life outside the gym. To her, he was just Mr. Damon…

    Anywho, at some point, Em noticed some other man that she’d never met before (she knew pretty much everyone else from the gym) and asked Mom, “Who’s that man?” Mrs. Pi wasn’t sure how to go so – good for her! – she went with the truth and said, “That’s Mr. Damon’s, uh, partner.” Em’s in middle school so, after a little thought she said, “Ooooh, okay.” Then, a moment later, she asked, “Why haven’t I never seen him before?” The Mothership said, “Well, he didn’t want to make anyone uncomfortable. You know, there are a lot of people who think that two men living together like this isn’t right.” To which Em replied indignantly (so said Mrs. Pi), “Why should that matter?”

    I sure am proud of her! I think that we’re raising her just right.

  5. JanieBelle says:

    Good show Mr. and Mrs. Pi!

    Perhaps the next generation will think of this one like we think of the “Separate But Equal” generation. They’ll scratch their heads and wonder what the hell was going on.

    Here’s hopin’. The world could use a little less hate.

  6. Kristine says:

    I’ve often wondered about what we’re supposed to say to the kids twenty years from now when they say, “How could people be so stupid?” about the whole gay marriage hysteria. Every generation has some splanin’ to do to the next, but dang! What are we going to say? What a nonissue, this “danger.” And take a pick from any one of the other superstitions going around—what are we going to say (except that we at least tried to do something about them)?

  7. JanieBelle says:

    “what are we going to say (except that we at least tried to do something about them)?”

    Exactly. And if we can’t say THAT, then we should hang our heads in shame.

  8. Jersey Fundy Minister Goes Down Swinging

    Last week, Vincent Fields, minister of Greater Works Ministries in New Jersey, delivered the invocation before the New Jersey Senate

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