Lambda wins in New Jersey. Lambda's mission:
Lambda Legal carries out its legal work principally through test cases selected for the likelihood of their success in establishing positive legal precedents that will affect lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people and those with HIV. From our offices in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta and Dallas, Lambda Legal�s staff of attorneys work on a wide range of cases, with our docket averaging over 50 cases at any given time.
Everyone is happy! Glenn Reynolds posts jubilantly:
Brendan Loy (I take back my proposal, Brendan. It might be 40 for you) enthuses:
The opinion allows that something not called "marriage" might be enough, but it pretty clearly leaves open the door to hold otherwise later. And the concurrence/dissent says: "I can find no principled basis, however, on which to distinguish those rights and benefits from the right to the title of marriage, and therefore dissent from the majority’s opinion insofar as it declines to recognize that right among all of the other rights and benefits that will be available to samesex couples in the future."
It thus seems that this isn't really a "third way" approach to gay marriage. This is a clean win for gay marriage advocates.
Also: maybe the Republicans will overplay their hand. If Bull Moose is right that moderates who are sick and tired of divisive partisanship are the key to this election, then transparent GOP harping on this “wedge issue” could actually hurt the Republicans. We can hope, anyway.
I wonder if it would be okay for a hypothetical New Jersey relative to "marry" (civilly unify) another hypothetical relative in order to get health benefits. The one relative is acting as a sort of "wife" and "caregiver". The time has come for us to be tolerant of all lifestyles. We are a close-minded society, intent on imposing our values on others. This must stop!
Hey! Who are you to judge?
Update: Some people aren't happy. Democratic strategists, for example:
The timing of the decision shouldn't matter. This is a matter of principle. People need to wake up and stand up for what they truly believe and for what is right.
"This ruling is the last thing Democratic leaders want," said Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia's Center for Politics. "Republicans and fundamentalist leaders will say to their flock, 'Go out and save traditional marriage.' The only question is how many seats this will cost the Democrats.
"The irony is that the New Jersey Supreme Court justices guaranteed rights for gays in New Jersey but they helped deprive gays of their rights in a lot of other states. One wonders if they appreciate that irony. The timing of this decision is just unbelievable."
Update II: Lawyer Eugene Volokh says this ruling is evidence of the "slippery slope":
One can condemn this slippery-slope effect, or praise it. (I support same-sex marriages and civil unions as a policy matter (see PDF page 37), but I don't think that state courts should mandate them as a constitutional matter.) But I think that one can't dismiss the possibility that slippery slope effects, good or bad, are indeed present here, and can be present in similar contexts. And this is so even when, as a purely logical matter, the initial steps (employment discrimination bans, domestic partnership laws, hate crimes laws, and the like) are eminently distinguishable from the final step (same-sex civil unions).From John Hawkins at Right Wing News:
If you want to know why it makes sense to push for Constitutional Amendments designed to block gay marriage on the state and federal level, this case is a perfect example. When you have judges acting in this fashion, like a super legislature that can make any law they wish without regard to what the people or their elected representatives want, you can try to appeal their rulings or stop them by electing conservatives who'll promise to put originalist judges on the bench. However, in cases like this, constitutional amendments are the only effective way to prevent these power mad judges from running roughshod over the wants and desires of the American people.Ace says this:
By the way... If you think a mere state-constitutional ban against gay marriage protects you from the courts imposing this on you, think again.
Liberal courts have several times invalidated parts of their own state constitutions in finding in favor of liberal policies.
As Nevadans, who had a constitutional provision forbidding tax increases without supermajority legislative support. Not so fast, said the Nevada Supreme Court -- the constitution's preamble says the state will fund education and such, and that means it has to spend money -- a lot more money -- and that invaldiates the specific mandate against raising taxes with anything less than a supermajority. The general, "We the people" preamble trumps the specific constitutional provision in this case.
So-- they ruled you can raise taxes with a mere majority.
In Florida, an initiative passed that would have limited the Supreme Court's desicison to invalidate laws.
But they decided the initiaitive limiting their own power was, wonder of wonders, passed by unconstitutional means, as, they claimed, the public was "misled" about what the iniitiative meant, and didn't fully understand all the great benefits the SCOFLAw provides for them.
Hence-- ruled off the books by a vote of five liberals.Only liberals could imagine that their own written constitutions are themselves unconstitutional, and they're not afraid to play that absurd trump card when they feel the cause is important enough.