Another step is being taken in the long march for full civil rights for gay Americans when New Jersey starts to allow for marriage ceremonies on Monday.
Late last week New Jersey’s highest court cleared the way for gay marriage even though Republican Governor Chris Christie for what I think is purely presidential reasons (such as Iowa caucus goers) has spoken out against the nuptials. With the first “I do” New Jersey becomes the 14th state allowing for gay marriage.
That is a good thing for our nation and our society.
The court ruling is spawned from a lower court decision that found the existing civil-union legislation to be unconstitutional and discriminatory. The state high court when ruling in favor of gay marriage stated “We can find no public interest in depriving a group of New Jersey residents of their constitutional right to equal protection while the appeals process unfolds.”
It is most clear to all that civil unions are more than half-a-loaf short of meaningful protection when it comes to legal rights for gay people. Civil union partners in New Jersey were not eligible for a long list of federal benefits including such things as leave time under the Family and Medical Leave Act, or the attaining of coverage for health benefits as a “spouse” of a federal employee. Gay couples were also not able to file a joint federal tax return.
No matter how one slices or dices the issue there is only one solution.
That is the fair and equitable allowing of gay men and women to marry not only in New Jersey but in all fifty states.
The opposition to gay marriage, such as the fake partisan rationale of Governor Christie, must end.