Saturday, February 17, 2007

Garden State, Gonad Short

They try in Jersey, but on same-sex marriage they continue to fail in courage. Most recently, State Attorney General Stuart Rabner formally declared yesterday that he'll have no civilly united homosexual couples calling themselves married.

The New York Times story didn't say whether he made a face when he said that.

The AP version in the Trentonian reports some more gutless blathering from the AG. First, he claims that the state will recognize marriages from Massachusetts, Canada and other places that permit SSM. They'll have the same legal rights and benefits according to the state as married couples. However, in his opinion to the N.J. state Department of Health and Senior Services (which as of Monday, will register civil unions), the couples definitely may not use the title married.


So, this isn't Wyoming, that may declare a couple married in Massachusetts unmarried there, but it leans that way. According to the piece in the Trentonian, there is likely to be a suit in the matter, said Steven Goldstein, the executive director of Garden State Equality.

For praise of the AG's clarification, Lambda Legal's Director of Marriage Law Project David S. Buckel offered, "In the nick of time before next week, the attorney general has given peace of mind to a lot of families.'' On the other hand, the state ACLU's legal director, Ed Barocas, said, ''New Jersey should not be in the business of stripping individuals and couples of rights they already lawfully obtained."

Meanwhile, the anti-gay/anti--SSM forces have not given up. You might file that away for the next time you hear one of them saying that if the legislator votes, if the people "speak" on a ballot initiative or the like that they'll accept it. Quadruple B.S.!

The New Jersey Family Policy Council and the amorphous New Jersey Coalition to Preserve and Protect Marriage (is a a one-man group for John Tomicki?) have announced a drive to get an amendment on November's ballot to define marriage as limited to one man/one woman.

Amusingly, New Jersey is in that half of states blissfully free of the onus of ballot initiatives, which have become some badly abused in recent decades. So, the anti-gay folk intend to kind of make up a ballot initiative for this purpose. They are informally gathering signatures with the hope that the timorous legislators will be cowed into introducing this themselves.

Hey, given the lawmakers' milquetoast actions in the past year, it is tempting to figure you can make them dance to any nasty tune.

Back on planet Earth, the regional paper, the Courier-News reports that the Garden State has Massachusetts-style poll figures if not SSM. "
A Rutgers-Eagleton poll released last October, at the height of the debate over civil unions and gay marriage, found that by a margin of 53 percent to 39 percent, New Jerseyans opposed amending the state Constitution to define marriage as between one man and one woman."

Goldstein's reaction to this clumsy attempt at discrimination said, "
If anything, the momentum of the state is going entirely in the other direction towards marriage equality. There's not going to be a ban."

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