Wednesday, October 25, 2006



More to come later when I get home...


New Jersey court recognizes same-sex unions

POSTED: 3:40 p.m. EDT, October 25, 2006
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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 -- pdf)

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.


JrnyWmn said...

Alright New Jersey!!!!!

I guess I should stop all the New Jersey jokes

Anonymous said...

Or better yet, why dont you and all your gay friends move to New Jersey and give the rest of us a break from all your whiny "I just want the same rights as everyone else" speeches. If you havent figured it out yet, the majority of us dont care what kind of rights you have, we just want you all to shut up already.

Jason Hughes said...

Journeywoman: thanks fro stopping by! Yea, it kinda blew me away too! Wasn't even expecting it, but hey, thee ya go! :D

Anon: Why feeling so bitter and left out? And where was the whining? If you truly didn't care about what rights we had, why have fifteen constitutiona ammendments been added to state constitutions, and why are eight more on the ballots for this election?

You should look up the facts, and maybe you should care a little more, one way or the other...

And looking at your comment, you're the one who sounds bitchy and whiny... Wonder why, wonder why...

Darkmind said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Jason Hughes said...