New Jersey’s highest court ruled on Wednesday that gay couples are entitled to the same legal rights and financial benefits as heterosexual couples, but split over whether their unions must be called marriage or could be known by another name, handing that question to the Legislature.
In a decision filled with bold and sweeping pronouncements about equality, the New Jersey Supreme Court gave the Democratic-controlled Legislature 180 days to either expand existing laws or come up with new ones to provide gay couples benefits including tuition assistance, survivors’ benefits under workers’ compensation laws and spousal privilege in criminal trials.
You can go to Memeorandum and track the collective freak-out on the right yourself. I am tired of reading the GOP mouthpieces, to be honest, so I am gonna spare myself the hysterical proclamations that this will be the end of western society and that this is just what happened to Rome, I am not gonna pay any attention to the right-wing hopes and left-wing fears that this will impact the election, and I am gonna pay no attention to the bleats about activist judges (because let’s face it, the Republicans don’t care about activist judges, in fact they like them- when they rule the way they want them to rule). I will state right now, though, that the unofficial Balloon Juice stand is that the angrier the loudmouths on the right are about this decision, the better.
My impression of the ruling- the court found the state can’t treat homosexual couples any different that heterosexual couples in regards to benefits, but as long as you treat people the same, you don’t have to call it “homosexual marriage.” So, in fact traditional marriage is still safe, and the state will no longer discriminate against couples who love each other (and, fortunately, given the state of marriage with many Republican leaders, couples who no longer love each other). This seems to be pretty much in line with Bush’s stance, as well as McCain’s, as well as most of the GOP save the ” family values” (*cough*) wing. I, in fact, thing it is a fine way to go about things.
As always, my interpretation of legal rulings is always suspect, so I may be wrong. At any rate, I can’t tell for sure since I refuse to check, but I am willing to bet that James Dobson and Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter and Red State and the Corner and Dan Riehl are furious. They’ll just have to stay mad and try to pretend that their marriage has been somehow cheapened- well, not Rush. He manages to cheapen his marriages simply through the sheer volume of them.