Same-sex couples must be allowed to marry
September 28, 2013 8:11 AM   Subscribe

Yesterday, Superior Court Judge Mary Jacobson of the Mercer County Superior Court ruled in Garden State Equality et al. v. Dow that New Jersey's civil unions are inherently unequal in light of the SCOTUS Windsor ruling, and that plaintiff couples and those similarly situated should be allowed to marry beginning October 21st.

Gov. Christie's administration says they will appeal the ruling to an intermediate court and the NJ Supreme Court.

If yesterday's order is not stayed, New Jersey will become the 14th state to officially sanction marriage equality.
posted by roomthreeseventeen (26 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
 
It's weird to me how some politicians insist that "the voters" only count as expressing themselves when it's via ballot initiative and not via the legislature. Christie, like Schwarzenegger, vetoed a marriage equality bill last year on the grounds that it was "the voters" who needed to make the decision.
posted by rtha at 8:18 AM on September 28, 2013 [13 favorites]


These are the glimmers of hope for America. Makes me very happy to hear news like this, and pulls me out, at least a little bit, from the pit of despair I'm in when it comes to thinking about the US, with its near-constant wars and oceans of guns and blatant inequities and corporate control and...

Thank you judge Mary Jacobson. Actions like yours are America's best hope.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:26 AM on September 28, 2013 [5 favorites]


Glad to hear this, being from NJ and fed up with Christie in many ways. He should just let this stand, then he can tell his keepers the Catholic Bishops that he tried his best but the courts, not him, let it pass. By the way I am Catholic and feel the Bishops are out of touch with the majority of the laity who do not really care about gay marriage one way or the other, or are in favor.
posted by mermayd at 8:34 AM on September 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


Christie's doing his best to block it, that's for sure. The state legislature was a dozen votes shy of overriding his veto of the marriage equality law that they passed in 2012. This after they had passed a registered partnerships bill way back in 2004. The lege seems far more interested in serving all the people of his state than he is.

Of course, he's probably grandstanding for a future Presidential run. Of the states that have passed marriage equality rulings or laws, most have been enacted by court order or legislation rather than ballot voting. Christie's probably hoping the bigots will turn out in force on election day. But it seems unlikely: polls suggest that public support for marriage equality in NJ is around 66%.

This seems inevitable, and he's on the wrong side of history. Good for Judge Jacobson.
posted by zarq at 8:37 AM on September 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


One of my first thoughts was that it might be fun to start a betting pool with friends on which states will be next. After mulling that over for a few minutes, I realized how happy it makes me that I can now have thoughts like that without the slightest hint of sarcasm.
posted by C'est la D.C. at 8:38 AM on September 28, 2013 [6 favorites]


I would think a stay is likely, pending the appeals. I agree, it's encouraging to see trial courts outside of CA applying Windsor on their own initiative.

By the way I am Catholic and feel the Bishops are out of touch with the majority of the laity who do not really care about gay marriage one way or the other, or are in favor.

Or, you know, the Pope.
posted by snuffleupagus at 8:39 AM on September 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yeah, Snuffleupagus (one of my favorite Sesame St. creatures) I have a lot of respect for the new Pope, unlike his predecessors. He is exactly right about the hysteria over abortion, contraception, and gay marriage, none of which Jesus had anything to say about. Maybe he will even finally make the Bishops responsible for protecting and moving around pedophiles instead of turning them over to the police when reported.
posted by mermayd at 8:48 AM on September 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


!
posted by Jacqueline at 8:54 AM on September 28, 2013


Equality, minority rights, and civil rights are vitally important for our society as a whole. This is progress, and I have seen a huge amount of it since I came into adulthood in the early 1980s. Momentum is on our side, and it's building every day. Good.
posted by Daddy-O at 9:35 AM on September 28, 2013


I wonder how many bills Christie has been happy to see passed via the legislature that he would object to being ballot-intiative'd instead.
posted by rtha at 9:40 AM on September 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


[One comment deleted; thread is not about the Pope so maybe let's just leave that derail alone? Thanks.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 9:46 AM on September 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


So, separate but equal is still inherently unequal. Imagine.

I think the real surprise is why there are any states left with domestic partnership laws on the books.
posted by jenkinsEar at 9:53 AM on September 28, 2013


Domestic partnership laws can be great as backdoors into same sex marriage laws. Indeed, the very reason why this event occurred is because civil unions exist in NJ.

They can also help ensure rights where there are political divides within states. For example, civil unions in NYC helped improve lives, even when the rest of the state's politicians were still holding back same sex marriage.
posted by Sticherbeast at 10:00 AM on September 28, 2013


One of my friends has posted the Huffington post article on his FB and he seems ecstatic/optimistic that this is the smoking gun, as it were. As he has said:

(pardon language)
What this means, folks, is that there's no longer a reason anymore to bring it to vote. No longer will homosexuals have to habe their owm RIGHTS at the hands of a fucking vote anymore! DOMA has been testing in a court of law and it held up. This means that if ANY citizen in any state decides to follow suit, and do this EXACT process in their own state, it will ALSO yield the same outcome!

So there's your challenge, my gay friends around this great nation who live instates where gay marriage isn't legal! Ask your partners! Get this moving in your own states!
While I'm touched for his zeal and optimism, it doesn't seem to me that this is so universal and it doesn't seem to be happening because of what he has said (e.g., "DOMA has been tested in a court of law and it held up"...that's...not...how...things...work..)-- but I'm not a legal expert and I also haven't dived too much into the legal opinions. But it seems to me that this is really just a case where New Jersey realized its civil unions are not equal to marriage, so it needs to make them marriage.

But this wouldn't help in states where no gay relationships are recognized whatsoever, right?

I guess my question is: how could this have an impact on other states? Obviously, it's not precedential, but would the process work similarly in other states with other state courts?
posted by subversiveasset at 10:02 AM on September 28, 2013


I guess my question is: how could this have an impact on other states?

Not legally, just as a cultural moment. is it a sign or cause of more progressive attitudes, both or neither? You be the judge.

Obviously, it's not precedential, but would the process work similarly in other states with other state courts?

The general process would be similar, for similar cases, but there's no guarantee whatsoever that the results would be the same. You have a case at trial; you believe that the trial court made an error of law; so, you appeal. Either way, you couldn't really have a similar case in a jurisdiction where there are no civil unions to begin with.

Also, FWIW, this is just an intermediate appellate decision. There's a Supreme Court above the Superior Court.
posted by Sticherbeast at 10:25 AM on September 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


rtha: "It's weird to me how some politicians insist that 'the voters' only count as expressing themselves when it's via ballot initiative and not via the legislature. Christie, like Schwarzenegger, vetoed a marriage equality bill last year on the grounds that it was 'the voters' who needed to make the decision."

Here in Minnesota, appeals to "the voters" were quite transparent attempts to derail. Like, when popular support appears to be on their side, it's all about "the voters", but once they realize they're not as popular as they thought, it's all "sanctity of traditional marriage" and "the way it's always been". Even when the debate got to the Mn Senate, it was still "Come on now, why can't we just have a rational, calm, public debate about whether or not these people are disgusting? Why are you taking this so personally?"

I've never been on the "give the voters a choice" side. Yes, sometimes it works, and popular support is ultimately necessary. Mostly, though, putting minority rights to a popular vote is just disheartening on a bunch of levels. I'm glad the courts can protect my rights without bowing to popular pressure.
posted by jiawen at 10:34 AM on September 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


I think it will help in states without any gay recognition, subversiveasset: it's one more chip in the wall, and have you noticed --- that big ol' equal rights snowball, it just keeps getting bigger & bigger, rolling faster & faster. New Jersey will make what, #14 on the right side of history?

(Of course, my own state of Virginia..... sigh. If I had to bet, I'd say this place is gonna be number 40-something.)
posted by easily confused at 10:35 AM on September 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Why are we even arguing about this, it's 2013 FFS
posted by GallonOfAlan at 10:38 AM on September 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


So Christie WANTS to be in ads as opposing 2 adorable lesbians' wish to be protected under FEDERAL law with the same rights to marry as say .......murderers?

Hit the popcorn machine and light the lantern Ms. Freedomboy, it's gonna be a good 'un!
posted by Freedomboy at 10:47 AM on September 28, 2013


I'm glad Christie is fighting it, insofar as that fight will torpedo this dipshit's ambitions to be President. Fuck that guy and ten others like him.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:55 AM on September 28, 2013 [8 favorites]


Regardless of where his politics lie or what his constituents want... If the guy wants to have any chance at all in the GOP primaries he has to contest this. I mean its utter bullshit and I think hope he loses relatively quickly but this is about his ambitions outside of NJ.
posted by JPD at 11:16 AM on September 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


!
posted by Paris Elk at 11:19 AM on September 28, 2013


Also, FWIW, this is just an intermediate appellate decision. There's a Supreme Court above the Superior Court.

Ahh, I did not know this. Not to knock a good step forward, but this could still be trivially overturned.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 11:20 AM on September 28, 2013


Yeah, Christie has to act like a full-on right-winger to have any chance of making through the Republican primaries. I doubt that he has any chance since he was more concerned with his state's well being during the hurricane than with Romney's election campaign but he's still going to try to play the game.
posted by octothorpe at 1:00 PM on September 28, 2013


re other states: NJ courts had already ruled that gay couples have to get the same benefits. prior to Windsor, gay couples couldn't access federal benefits, so it didn't really matter whether they had civil unions or marriage, said the court. post-windsor, they have to be married to access benefits, hence the ruling here.

so its based on caselaw that is unique to Jersey, and we shouldn't expect sister state courts to follow this court (although its inevitable that some will reach the same result through different reasoning)
posted by jpe at 2:18 PM on September 28, 2013


The NJ Supreme Court is one of the finest judicial bodies in the nation, and one that regularly delivers landmark civil rights rulings. Christie must know which way the wind is blowing here, and I suspect he won't be too vocally disappointed if and when the ruling is affirmed.
posted by eugenen at 10:13 PM on September 28, 2013


« Older But what I really want to do is "Vint"   |   Did you zing about it? Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments