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NJ court grants gay couples equal marriage rights post #1  quote:



NJ court grants gay couples equal marriage rights

By Jon Hurdle
Wed Oct 25, 9:23 PM ET



TRENTON, New Jersey (Reuters) - New Jersey's highest court on Wednesday guaranteed gay couples the same rights as married heterosexuals, but left it up to state lawmakers to decide if such unions can be called marriage.

"Times and attitudes have changed," the New Jersey Supreme Court said in a nuanced 90-page ruling certain to fuel America's culture wars ahead of November 7 elections, when eight states will vote on same-sex marriage laws.

Advocates on both sides declared varying degrees of victory and disappointment on the latest twist in a battle that has divided the country over issues of gay culture and morality.

"I am happy but not ecstatic. This is about 80 percent of what we wanted," said Leslie Farber, who is gay, at a rally in Montclair, New Jersey.

Comparing the decision to the days when black people were forced to ride in the backs of buses during U.S. segregation, she said, "At least now we are on the bus."

Same-sex marriage has faced legal and political roadblocks in much of the United States and has been a hot-button issue since 2003, when Massachusetts' highest court ruled it was unconstitutional to ban gay marriage, paving the way for America's first same-sex marriages in May 2004.

Some gay activists pledged to stop at nothing short of full marriage rights, while opponents took heart that the court chose to give the legislature a role in deciding the issue.

"We now hold that ... committed same-sex couples must be afforded on equal terms the same rights and benefits enjoyed by married, opposite-sex couples," the court said in a 4-3 ruling. Gay advocates must now "appeal to their fellow citizens whose voices are heard through their popularly elected representatives," the court said.

CONSERVATIVES VOW TO FIGHT

James C. Dobson, chairman of the conservative advocacy group Focus on the Family, said the decision highlights the need for voters to enact laws to protect traditional families.

"Nothing less than the future of the American family hangs in the balance if we allow one-man, one-woman marriage to be redefined out of existence," Dobson said in a statement.

"And, make no mistake, that is precisely the outcome the New Jersey Supreme Court is aiming for with this decision."

The court gave the New Jersey Legislature six months to amend state marriage statutes to include gay people or write a new law in which same-sex couples "would enjoy the rights of civil marriage."

At a news conference in Newark, plaintiffs in the lawsuit said anything less than full marriage rights for gays and lesbians would make them second-class citizens.

"Civil unions leave me cold, empty -- a marriage is a marriage," said Dennis Winslow, who is an Episcopalian minister as is his partner, Mark Lewis. "We want to get married in this state with the blessing of the Legislature."

Lesbian couple Marcye and Karen Nicholson-McFadden wanted marriage as they raise their 7-year-old son and 3-year-old daughter. "I hope to one day say this is my wife," said Marcye, surrounded by Karen and their children. "We will not be relegated as a separate class."

RIGHTS ADVOCATES BRACE FOR BACKLASH

In the 2004 election, many states had ballot initiatives limiting gay marriage -- a factor credited with boosting the vote for President George W. Bush.

On November 7, voters in eight states will decide on constitutional amendments limiting gay marriage or unions.

The court stressed its decision "significantly advances the civil rights of gays and lesbians," and Matt Foreman, executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, braced for a backlash.

"Sadly, we know that politicians on the right and their allies in the anti-gay industry will do everything in their power to exploit this decision for political gain on November 7. Again they will denounce 'activist judges' and defame gay people and our families to inflame their base," Foreman said.

Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, said the ruling "should give momentum to the eight states with marriage protection amendments on the November ballot."

Gay activists said they would launch a television advertising campaign, hold town meetings and solicit support from residents across the state.

(Additional reporting by Christine Kearney in Newark and Mark Egan in Montclair)


Old Post 10-26-2006 05:36 AM
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post #2  quote:

Another small victory in the journey to equality.

Old Post 10-26-2006 05:28 PM
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post #3  quote:

Good news, glad to hear it. New Jersey has made a big step. Hopefully a trend begins.

-HECK!


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post #4  quote:

Yeah... I hope that it does. I just wish that California would go that step further.

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post #5  quote:

They did for a second.

You know, most activists against gay marriage are butt ugly curs you wouldn't want to marry in the first place.

-HECK!


Old Post 10-26-2006 08:12 PM
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post #6  quote:

Agreed

Old Post 10-26-2006 08:44 PM
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post #7  quote:

The only thing that gets me is why they choose to allow state lawmakers to decide if they should call it a marriage or not.

I say to them "You are the damn State Supreme Court. You rule the state....you freakin decide. If you are willing to go this far...call it a damn marriage."

I like the fact that they are doing the right thing...but be big enough to say "its legal, and thats that!" No state lawmakers involvement after that point!


Old Post 10-26-2006 11:34 PM
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post #8  quote:

Well, I've just gotten to the point that I don't care anymore. No one else is going to tell me that my relationship is less valid, or something, because the state chooses to allow me only so much, or gives me a different title. We live in a f'd up world, with a bunch of people who think that they are the only one's who matter.

Old Post 10-27-2006 03:27 AM
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post #9  quote:

quote:
Lawless said this in post #4 :
Yeah... I hope that it does. I just wish that California would go that step further.

Oh yeah, right, with the Terminator in charge


Old Post 10-27-2006 03:37 AM
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post #10  quote:

Oh, I know that it won't happen... but, we can hope, that someday, it will. Until then, I'm fine with my life. I don't NEED to have a legal title to validate my partnership.

Old Post 10-27-2006 03:54 AM
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post #11  quote:

Lawless I have a query and I think you would be in the best position to answer it if you don't mind. If you and your partner came to the UK or Holland and got married would Californina law recognise the marriage or not.

Old Post 10-27-2006 02:01 PM
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post #12  quote:

No, unfortunately, it doesn't work like that. Even straight couples aren't legal. For instance... my brother, and his wife, got married down in Mexico a couple years ago. It wasn't legal. They had to file with the courts, and sign a marriage certificate, and all that jazz, at the court house, to make it legal in the US.

Old Post 10-27-2006 04:26 PM
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post #13  quote:

I just heard about this yesterday. Alright New Jersey! I hope this prompts other States to legalize gay marriage, too. Like Kris said, one step further in the journey to equality

Old Post 10-29-2006 06:55 PM
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post #14  quote:

Well, I guess I will have to be the one to take this in another direction.

Personally, I don?t agree with the call NJ made. I believe everyone has the privilege to live their lives the way they want but I don?t agree that this is simply a matter of equal rights.

I don?t mean to offend some here but I simply don?t believe in same sex relationships as being normal because it?s not. Traditionally marriage was instituted to be man and woman and I believe in preserving it as is.

Just another perspective.


Old Post 11-02-2006 09:21 PM
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post #15  quote:

Point read... definitely don't agree with it, but we're all entitled to our opinions.


Personally, I think that this world will be a much better place when others tell people how they should, or shouldn't, live.


Old Post 11-03-2006 12:02 AM
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post #16  quote:

Some say the belief that marriage should be between a man and a woman only is a millennia old system of control manifested from the writings of religious men who flocked across the known world as missionaries and crusaders eager to tame the heathens who had with multiple wives and/or partners of all ages and engaged in sexual relations. Personally, echoes of self-appointed holy men shaking a disparaging finger at me from thousands of years ago doesn't make it gospel and certainly doesn't speak to what is right and wrong today.

-HECK!


Old Post 11-03-2006 12:25 AM
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post #17  quote:

I think the fundamental debate about marriage should be this:

The definition of marriage suggests that it's between a man and a woman. There for the word implies man and woman.

Should we change the definition of marriage to include either sex?

Should we create a second institution which is between either sex, leaving marriage the way it is?

Religious people tend to believe that it's a sin to be homosexual, or at least don't approve of it. But marriage is a religious institution, so my question is, why would gay people WANT to get "married" when they could create a new, broader, legally binding institution?

Personally, I am straight, and I will NEVER get married. Maybe some day if there's a better institution out there I'll go for it, but marriage is a joke.


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post #18  quote:

In the UK we had a problem i this area because the government wanted to have same sex marriages but the church and some other right wing grops went crazy, so the government created civil partnershipswhich are open to anybody regardles of wether you are straight or gay. Basically you get married in a registarts office, town hall or a church if they will take you, go through a small ceremony and you are done and I believe that you get the same rights that are given to married couples it seems to be a rather popular move and I think Elton John was one of the first to do it.

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post #19  quote:

quote:
Sayzak said this in post #17 :
why would gay people WANT to get "married" when they could create a new, broader, legally binding institution?


That's a good point. It's a logical alternative to fighting a religion that doesn't accept your lifestyle and probably never will.

-HECK!


Old Post 11-03-2006 04:41 PM
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post #20  quote:

Sayzak has a point here. Marriage is a religious institution. This is why its vows are traditionally done in religious institutions (churches, synagogues, mosques, etc). The vows of marriage contain promises made before God and man and typically ended with ?whom God has joined together?. Therefore, it stands to reason that religious leaders would chime in on something they consider this important.

Sayzak, I don?t think marriage is a joke, I believe the players make it so. Most people repeating the vows have no idea what they are doing. I agree it?s a difficult life to live because you commit yourself to a person who has issues at heart that hasn?t been effectively dealt with.

Lastly, I believe people will inevitably do what they want to do despite whether it being right or wrong. Today, the label on the jars get switched around so much, you don?t know which is which. People will justify almost anything they do despite it being right or wrong because they pleasure in doing it and this is true of the gay and the straight. However because you put a peanut butter label on the jelly jar doesn?t mean that the jar is now peanut butter.

I personally believe in God. And if you don?t you have to believe in nature at the very least. Whether God or nature, everything is created with purpose. When it?s not functioning inside of its purpose the end result is abuse. That?s just a principle of life.


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post #21  quote:

Well, marriage isn't totally a religious institution. John & Jane Sixpack could go down to the local courthouse and get an ol' fashioned shotgun wedding. Drinky McDrinkerson and Lola The Stripper could tie the knot at a casino in Vegas.

Yes, traditionally it's in a place of worship. It's also a legal union- income, debt, taxes, etc. At this point, roughly half the population is eligible to marry the other half. But once people could legally marry 100% of the population it could be big trouble for the IRS and several other government agencies.

-HECK!


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post #22  quote:

I agree today, marriage isn?t just a religious institution but it is derived from religion. Man takes woman and makes vows to God and "voila", man has wife.

Many laws in our societies are based in religion. Marriage is one of them. In the past there were never any issues as to whether same sexes would marry. Today, almost anything is acceptable as being normal and throughout the centuries right has been redefined and laws have been rewritten to reflect this.

As for the IRS, that?s another story. I think their tantamount to legal racketeering.


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