Sunday, February 12, 2006
A Big Week For Gays In NJ
This week could see another huge benchmark in NJ for gay individuals. NJ could become the second state to legalize gay marriage in a case that will be heard before the NJ Supreme Court. The New Jersey Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on Wednesday that gay and lesbian couples hope will lead to same-sex marriage rights in the garden State. While alot of states in the US are moving to ban gay marriage, with amendments making the only legal marriage that between a man and a woman, NJ has been among the few states that instead has chosen to give more rights to gay couples. Seven gay and lesbian couples, some together as long as 30 years, and some raising children, sued the State of NJ in 2002, arguing that a state statute defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman was unconstitutional. This case was rejected at trial and appellate court levels, but legal analysts say the NJ Supreme Court could swiftly legalize gay marriage. "New Jersey's court has a long and proud history of interpreting cases in favor of civil rights, and a victory in this case would be in keeping with that tradition," said Sally Goldfarb, a family law professor at Rutgers University Law School in Camden who studies family law issues. "The New Jersey Supreme Court has not hesitated to overturn state laws, and so these litigants are in a better position than they would be before most other courts across the country." So, the 3,700 registered same-sex domestic couples and many more may soon realize the benefits of real, legal marriage in NJ. One can only hope for the best.