The New Jersey Supreme Court just handed down a 4-3 decision that holds "Denying committed same-sex couples the financial and social benefits and privileges given to their married hetersexual counterparts bears no substantial relationship to a legitimate governmental purpose." It notes that New Jersey's Domestic Partnership Act "has failed to bridge the inequality gap between committeed same-sex couples and married opposite-sex couples. Significantly, the economic and financial inequities that are borne by same-sex domestic partners are also boren by their children." The majority leaves it to "a democratic process" to decide whether marriage or civil unions should be the result of the decision; the dissenting opinions make the case that marriage itself should be open to same-sex couples. I'm sitting here with tears in my eyes.
I don't live in New Jersey, so this won't immediately affect me, although I know that this decision is one in a series that will eventually end with marriage rights for all of us. I'm not convinced Politica and I will ever enjoy those marriage rights (unless we move to Massachusetts or New Jersey), but I know that someday, those rights will be more fully available.
I'm thrilled. But I'm also scared. The New Jersey decision comes down shortly before the general elections, and it will probably reverberate in our elections here. My state is in the midst of its slow (mandated 3 year long) process to amend its constitution to "protect" marriage from the likes of Politica and me. The state Republican party has been leading the charge on the marriage amendment (not trusting the mini-DOMA which has defined marriage as between a man and a woman for lo! these many years here already), and the language of the amendment is quite restrictive. Like Ohio's amendment, it could possibly threaten any legal agreements between un-legally-married partners. The state Democratic party did put up a fight against the amendment, but in the meantime, lost control of the statehouse. They have since demonstrated their eagerness to move rightward in an attempt to regain seats, and in so doing are clearly willing to campaign against gay rights interests in order to woo conservative voters. They make me sick. I am what Politica tells me the political science literature calls a "voting enthusiast." I love to vote. I vote for everything. But I am sorely tempted to stay home and not vote for these lousy Democrats, who are so scared of being in the position of possibly being seen as even thinking about support for gay families.
The fact of the matter is--and I'm preaching to the choir here in with my group of much-appreciated readerse--that it is really not in Curious Girl's interests to have un-legally-married parents. She would be much better off to have her parents securely married to each other. And it makes me sick to listen to the politicians around here who are doubtless already dusting off ads that reflect their commitment to straight-only-family values, politicians who cannot see that my beautiful girl has rights and needs, too.
I hope the success in New Jersey doesn't create a backlash here.
And I'm hoping that Politica and I can have another wedding reception one of these days, a wedding reception with a state-issued marriage license present.