Garden State

It’s not every day I get to blog the praises of my home state, but New Jersey’s Supreme Court has said that same-sex couples are entitled to “the same rights and benefits enjoyed by opposite-sex couples under the civil marriage statutes”, but fall short of calling such unions “marriage”.

Because of that last caveat, The New York Times reports that some harder line gay rights advocates think the decision doesn’t go far enough. They’re right of course, but it’s important to think tactically in politics, not to let the great be the enemy of the good. The actually sensible alternative is for government to get out of the marriage business altogether, and just endorse “unions” between individuals, and maybe even promote “families”, but leave the fraught term of “marriage” for churches, synagogues, and secular-humanist organizations to define.

On the other hand, as Mickey Kaus points out in Slate (or as do the people he points to), this is exactly the kind of thing that will get the juices of the anti-gay bigots flowing — and voting — just in time for the midterm elections.

One response to “Garden State”

  1. Dennis Blackwell avatar

    Hello Dr. Jaffe, yes this is a hot topic in our fair state right now. Gabriel and I are awaiting the next step with cautious excitement. I myself am divided on this controversial issue…on the one hand, I agree that government should get out of the marriage business, as you astutely opine. But on the other hand, a part of me wants to have the LGBT community to share ownership of marriage as a concept and as an institution, with all the rights and responsibilities that hetero couples currently enjoy. Maybe people like me will make significant strides moving away from second-class citizenship in our lifetime. Stay tuned.