Wednesday, October 25, 2006

NJ Ruling Out

Watch the two editorial lines on this story.

First, the NYTimes: New Jersey Backs Rights for Gay Unions
Second, the Bellingham (WA) Herald: NJ Court Stops Short of Gay Marriage

Both are true but misleading--or at least shows the editorial slant. The ruling states that according to NJ Law, same-sex couples enjoy the same rights and status as opposite sex married couples under the law. But it leaves open to the democratic process whether this is marriage or civil unions.

I know my position on this isn't popular with all gay people--both friends and activists. But I think this type of ruling (similar to Vermont) is the way forward. Leaving the definition and proceduralism to the local state elections--I realize then in most states there will not be gay marriage legislation enacted. As long as that is balanced by a judicial restraint of protecting rights and leaving open the details to the legislature, while I don't personally like that setup, it is not what I would vote for, I think it is the best deal to be made.

My worry is that if a federal or even state judiciaries impose rulings, we will have another Roe v. Wade scenario whereby the opponents can claim for 30 yrs.+ that it would never have been passed by legislative process and therefore is unconstitutional (judicial activism), ripping another gaping hole in an already fractured American psyche.

More locally and short term, the Senate Race in NJ is hot as the one seat that the Democrats could possibly lose. The Republicans were hoping for a pro-gay marriage ruling two weeks before the election to energize conservative traditional marriage voters. It will be interesting to watch whether this gives the Republicans enough juice.

The strangest scenario--the one the Democrats would shoot themselves if it occurred--would be if the Dems got the 6 seats necessary to change control. That is the Democrats win in Penn, Montana, Ohio, and Rhode Island, which looks very likely at this point. Then take 2/3 of Tenn, Missouri, and Virginia. Then lose NJ and lose their majority by one seat.

The Republicans as of last week had pulled moneys out of the NJ race because of the expense of the market. They may be willing to jump back in here. Don't know.


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