Equal marriage victory in New Jersey
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The Supreme Court of New Jersey ruled Wednesday that gay couples have the same rights as straight couples. The court gave the state 180 days to draft a marriage bill in light of that bedrock legal fact. Soon, all couples in New Jersey will have the right to legally cement their life partnerships.
Pam Spaulding of Pandagon is very pleased with the equal marriage ruling:
This is a legal slam dunk as far as I am concerned. You can argue over whether the timing of this ruling is a net positive or negative in terms of its impact on elections, but the reasoning is clear, and forces a debate about fairness under the law for gay and lesbian taxpaying citizens and their partnership rights. It takes matters out of the realm of the homo straw man destroying religious marriage or past traditions â€” as the ruling states â€” times and attitudes have changed .
Terrance of Republic of T notes that the court stopped short of finding a right to same-sex marriage in New Jersey's constitution.
However, even without a specific right, the New Jersey constitution's equal protection clause guarantees that all citizens have the same right to marry, which amounts to the same thing. If anyone has a right to get married, everyone does.
John Aravosis of AMERICAblog notes that this isn't such a radical position. In fact, it's more or less the president's position on gay marriage!
Sadly, this ruling did not come in time for Laurel Hester a New Jersey police officer who died of lung cancer before she could secure death benefits for her same sex partner.