10/25/2006

A victory for equality

New Jersey made the right decision, morally and judicially. From CNN's coverage:

"'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."

The court was right to leave the ulimate decision up to the legislature whether to approve gay marriage or civil unions. But how heartening it is to hear them declare that homosexuals have the same rights as heterosexuals. This is a step forward, an important step but also not a radical or activist one. I don't know how it will affect the election, but for now, let's hope it's a turning point in how we view gays. No more second class citizenship, at least in New Jersey.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Are you sure the court right to leave the decision of civil unions/gay marriage up to the legislature though, really?

In the next 180 days of debate among legislators (most of which have been given the chance for years now to provide the protection for gay and lesbian families when instead they stood by and did nothing) how many couples will be denied visitation rights in hospitals? How many children will be injured and not properly taken care of because their parents won't be legally recognized? If the ruling really was about getting rid of the undue burden on gay and lesbian families in New Jersey, shouldn't the courts have taken more immediate action? For the next six months the courts have assured that nothing happens. Legislators will wait until 11:59pm on day 180 to put in civil unions. And you can bet 20 years down the road, there will be another lawsuit deciding whehter separate but equal works when in the history of this country separate has rarely, if ever, been equal.

Patrick Boyle said...

I see what you're saying and agree that it's unfortunate we have to wait even a day to see these changes. But the court's ruling was not designed to ease the burden on gay families. It was an interpretation of the New Jersey state constitution, which has no ban on gay unions.

It's not any court's place to impose any legislation. Just because you and I agree with the end doesn't mean it justifies the means. We certainly wouldn't like it if an Oklahoma or Utah or Alabama State Court decided to take that approach.