Reasonably Ascertainable Reality

Thoughts and musings on current events and other random occurrences.

Location: South Jersey, United States

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Big Day in NJ

Today is a pretty big day in New Jersey. Today, the NJ Supreme Court will issue its ruling on whether it will allow gay marriage to be legal in NJ.

As readers know, I support gay marriage and don't feel as though the government should have a position on the sex of your spouse. Religion, and religious institutions, are another thing entirely. Considering that for governmental purposes, marriages are contractual agreements anyway, I don't see why the government should hold a moral or philosophical opinion on who you marry.

The ruling is expected at 3pm EST. I guess we'll see what we see!

** Update**

I had a nice updated post when the ruling first came out, but stupid blogspot lost my post. Anyway, I'm relatively satisfied by the ruling. The NJ Supreme Court basically said that under the equal protection clause of the NJ Constitution, you can not deny same sex couples any rights that are afforded to heterosexual married couples. Whether or not to call it 'marriage' or 'civil unions' is up to the legislature. They then gave the legislature 180 days to either re-write the existing marriage laws or come up with another vehicle for conferring those rights upon same-sex couples.

I see this as a victory. Not being gay myself, I see the whole "marriage v. civil union" debate as a debate of semantics. When the rights are the same, who cares what you call it? But of course, its not directly affecting me or my relationships, so I can understand how others might feel differently and I have seen passionate responses from those part of the actual case who still feel as though their relationships are less with the 'marriage' label.

I also think that people who are against same-sex 'marriage' are holding onto a tradition that is a tradition in name only. In the eyes of government, your marriage is a civil contract, now no different, in NJ anyway, than a civil union. Why deny the term 'marriage' to same sex couples when all the rights are exactly the same. It seems to me that the resistance to 'marriage' is based only in reluctance to let go of a traditional view of marriage, even while being receptive to the idea that same sex couples should have all the rights afforded to married couples. Its this last vestige of tradition that is so hard for some to let go of.

Either way, there will be no more discrimination in NJ when it comes to heterosexual and gay couples. That IS a victory.


Blogger Dave Justus said...

"I don't see why the government should hold a moral or philosophical opinion on who you marry."

Does that include polygamy?

11:20 AM  
Blogger Katinula said...

My assumption on the polygamy debate is that its not advantageous for the government, in many ways, financial and otherwise, for people to enter into plural marriage. Additionally, in most cases of religious sects which authorize polygamy, who a woman marries is not up to her, but to some "higher power" which instructs her who to marry.

10:51 AM  
Blogger Dave Justus said...

Those are perhaps some moral or philosophical reasons that the goverment shouldn't support this, so I take that as a no.

1:25 PM  
Blogger Katinula said...

Actually, no, its not a no. I'm not married so I dont know the ins and outs of tax breaks and other economic benefits of being married, but I assume that plural marriage is not economically beneficial for the government. I dont know enough about it to say though. HOwever, recognizing that in many cases, people are forced, including minors to marry into these arrangements isn't moral or philosophical, its deprives someone of their constitutionally protected rights. However, if the laws against polygamy are based soley on the moral implications of monogamy or that marriages should be between two people, than i dont think it should be illegal. People should be free to do what they wish in a free country, unless what they wish deprives others of their rights or endangers the lives of other people.
I don't know enough about polygamy laws or their history to comment though.

11:07 AM  
Blogger Dave Justus said...

"I assume that plural marriage is not economically beneficial for the government."

I am not sure where this argument comes from. I have never heard anyone argue that we should have marriage, or gay marriage, or civil unions or anything similar based upon them being economically beneficial for the government.

People have argued that such institutions are good for society or good for individuals or a matter of equal justice, but basing them strictly on economic utility for the government has never been an argument that I have seen made.

Obviously one could support polygamy, but not for minors or forced marriages just as one can support marriage for gays, but not support a gay man marrying an 8 y.o. boy. I presume that would be your position (and mine.)

Certainly, polygamous 'marriages' in the U.S. in the few places such things are practiced have the negative features you mention, one could probably argue that this is as much a function of the illegality as it is of the polygamy (when your second marriage to a 30 yo woman would be illegal and your second marriage to a 14 yo girl would be illegal there is not a legal reason to choose one over the other.)

I disapprove of plural marriages and don't think they should be legal. I don't think though that there is a 'logical' reason that this should be outlawed other than the will of the people to sanction or not sanction what types of unions they approve or or disapprove of.

12:51 PM  

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