September 27th, 2013
In 2006, the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled that the state must offer the same rights and obligations to same sex couples that it offered to opposite sex couples. However, they allowed the legislature to create civil unions rather than marriage. However, when the US Supreme Court ruled that DOMA3 was unconstitutional, this changed the situation. Currently, the State of New Jersey offers two forms of couple recognition; heterosexuals get a type recognized by the Federal Government, while gays get a type that does not have federal recognition.
Today Superior Court Judge Mary Jacobson ruled – in summary judgment – that New Jersey must offer marriage licenses to same sex couples. (NBC)
“The ineligibility of same-sex couples for federal benefits is currently harming same-sex couples in New Jersey in a wide range of contexts,” the judge said.
“Same-sex couples must be allowed to marry in order to obtain equal protection of the law under the New Jersey Constitution,” she wrote.
The ruling does not mean that same-sex marriages will begin immediately in New Jersey. The state has until Oct. 21 to either appeal or start the process to allow gay marriages.
Now it will fall upon Governor Chris Christie to decide whether to appeal the decision. While Christie has stated opposition to same-sex marriage (he favors civil unions), the voters in the state overwhelmingly support marriage equality.
At present, Christie’s position hasn’t hurt him and he holds a double-digit lead in polls for reelection. But this could go in several directions. If he appeals, it could serve as a reminder to the voters that he does not share their values. I doubt it would seriously hurt his chances for reelection, but it could hurt him in future contests.
Or, he could see this as an opportunity to do nothing and have a potentially troublesome issue go away. It seems increasingly likely that his marriage veto could be overturned with Republican support and Christie may prefer that his authority not appear to be challenged.
UPDATE: Christie has released a statement (Politico)
In a statement about an hour after the ruling, Christie’s press secretary said “Governor Christie has always maintained that he would abide by the will of the voters on the issue of marriage equality and called for it to be on the ballot this Election Day. Since the legislature refused to allow the people to decide expeditiously, we will let the Supreme Court make this constitutional determination.”
That sounds to me like he’ll be making an appeal.
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Prologue: Why I Went To “Love Won Out”
Part 1: What’s Love Got To Do With It?
Part 2: Parents Struggle With “No Exceptions”
Part 3: A Whole New Dialect
Part 4: It Depends On How The Meaning of the Word "Change" Changes
Part 5: A Candid Explanation For "Change"
Using the same research methods employed by most anti-gay political pressure groups, we examine the statistics and the case studies that dispel many of the myths about heterosexuality. Download your copy today!
And don‘t miss our companion report, How To Write An Anti-Gay Tract In Fifteen Easy Steps.
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