Thursday, June 16, 2005

New Jersey Decision Available

LAMBDA Legal has made the decision of the New Jersey Appeals Court rejecting same-sex marriage available online here. (This is in PDF and you need an Adobe Acrobat compatible reader to view or print it. It runs 75 pages of decision and dissent.)

We'll take a look through it. Meanwhile, for a taste of the 31-page dissent, consider its conclusion:
While the Domestic Partnership Act gives, at some cost, many, but not all, of the benefits and protections automatically granted to married persons, we have learned after much pain that "separate but equal" does not substitute for equal rights. Plaintiff Sarah Lael describes the difference in this way:
For me, being denied marriage, despite how hard we work and support each other and our children, it is demeaning and humiliating. These feelings are part of my daily life ... because of constant reminders that we are second class.

What Sarah Lael and her partner lack and seek may be summed up in the word dignity. But there is more they will gain from lawful marriage. That something else goes to the essence of marriage and is probably best left to poets rather than judges. It is the reason that people do get married. For marriage changes who you are. It gives stability, legal protection and recognition by fellow citizens. It provides a unique meaning to everyday life, for legally, personally and spiritually a married person is never really alone. Few would choose life differently.

With great admiration for the wisdom, logic and eloquence of my colleagues, I must dissent.
Judge Donald Collester

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