HELD: Denying committed same-sex couples the financial and social benefits and privileges given to their married heterosexual counterparts bears no substantial relationship to a legitimate governmental purpose. The Court holds that under the equal protection guarantee of Article I, Paragraph 1 of the New Jersey Constitution, committed samesex couples must be afforded on equal terms the same rights and benefits enjoyed by opposite-sex couples under the civil marriage statutes. The name to be given to the statutory scheme that provides full rights and benefits to samesex couples, whether marriage or some other term, is a matter left to the democratic process.
For decades we have published announcements of engagements, weddings and anniversaries. But a few weeks ago, for the first time, a couple submitted an annoucement of their union ceremony, held at an Episcopal Church in Washington, D.C.
Value judgments or religious arguments aside, critics might have complained that because same-sex marriages are illegal in Tennessee, we should not have accepted the annoucement. We considered, though, that the page is not designed to record legal proceedings. We don’t require couples to show their marriage licenses, and engagements, after all, have no legal status.
We decided it would be discriminatory, and wrong, to exclude an event that a gay couple considered a milestone. In any event, we received only one or two complaints.
When Atrios wrote a couple of days ago that the New Jersey court was likely to follow in Massachusetts’ footsteps and instruct the state to start marrying the gays, already, it didn’t take long for people to start wishing this decision could be handed down in three weeks, after the elections, when it wouldn’t blow back on the Democrats.
To those fine folks I can only direct their attention tothis post of Tena’s, written after the 2004 elections:
I have never in my life been so disappointed in people as I am in the so-called liberals who are all over the blogosphere bashing gays and blaming them. If y’all want to be fascist appeasers, then be my guest, but you are not going to have me as a companion on your particular road to tyranny and hell.
And to thewords of Martin Luther King Jr.:
We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed. Frankly, I have yet to engage in a direct-action campaign that was “well timed” in the view of those who have not suffered unduly from the disease of segregation. For years now I have heard the word “Wait!” It rings in the ear of every Negro with piercing familiarity. This “Wait” has almost always meant ‘Never.” We must come to see, with one of our distinguished jurists, that “justice too long delayed is justice denied.”
Yeah, it’s inconvenient, and it’s messy, but I was a bride once. And if you’d told me the day before my wedding that I had to wait one more second than absolutely necessary to put on that dress and walk down that aisle and pledge my life to my beloved, with all my friends and family waiting, I’d have stuck the handle of my bouquet through your throat.
If we can end injustice today, it’s sinful to wish it ended tomorrow instead. If we can make it so that people tomorrow have freedoms they didn’t today, how dare we wish it not so, simply because we haven’t yet figured out a way to tell the bigots to go stuff a sock in it?
This is only a downside to Democrats if they let it be, if they let themselves be attacked, if they start pretending it’s 2004 instead of 2006, and running scared again, and letting others define them, and dithering around taking 50 positions at once or hammering out some stupid halfway policy instead of just saying, “Fuck off, already, with your backward-ass thinking, and your political opportunism, and your shamelessness, and your impotent rage. Fuck off to someplace where you can think about how to fix this country instead of making one part of it afraid of the other part. Fuck off, because we’ve heard nothing but the same from you for six years now, and we’re not better off, we’re worse off, so when you start getting some things right maybe we’ll listen to you on this, you selfish, small-minded, anti-American, anti-family, anti-freedom, anti-love excuse for a candidate for office. We don’t want to hear word one from you about our lives anymore.”