NJ is More Vermont than Massachusetts

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

NJ is More Vermont than Massachusetts

If memory serves, this decision is nearly identical to the Vermont Supremes which left the door open for the legislature to set up a separate-but-equal system where they can call it something else other than marriage.
Only rights that are deeply rooted in the traditions,
history, and conscience of the people are deemed to be
fundamental. Although we cannot find that a fundamental right
to same-sex marriage exists in this State, the unequal
dispensation of rights and benefits to committed same-sex
partners can no longer be tolerated under our State
Constitution. With this State’s legislative and judicial
commitment to eradicating sexual orientation discrimination as
our backdrop, we now hold that denying rights and benefits to
committed same-sex couples that are statutorily given to their
heterosexual counterparts violates the equal protection
guarantee of Article I, Paragraph 1. To comply with this
constitutional mandate, the Legislature must either amend the
marriage statutes to include same-sex couples or create a
parallel statutory structure, which will provide for, on equal
terms, the rights and benefits enjoyed and burdens and
obligations borne by married couples. We will not presume that
a separate statutory scheme, which uses a title other than
marriage, contravenes equal protection principles, so long as
the rights and benefits of civil marriage are made equally
available to same-sex couples. The name to be given to the
statutory scheme that provides full rights and benefits to samesex
couples, whether marriage or some other term, is a matter
left to the democratic process.
Personally, I think that is fine. My idealist side wants full marriage, but I'm also a pragmatist, so I care far more about the rights more than whether or not it is called marriage.

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