October 26, 2006

NJ Supreme Court Ruling Brings New Issue To The Forefront

Yesterday's ruling on same-sex marriage in NJ will have some impact on Nov. 7th. The difficulty is figuring out the size of that impact.

Lefties will rightly assume that this decision hurts Democrats but for the wrong reason. They believe that any effect will be the result of Christian Right bigotry against gays.

Wrong. This is the major fallacy on which they assess opposition to same-sex marriage. Certainly anti-gay bigotry exists to a certain extent but most Christian Conservatives don't "hate gays" as many on the Left would assert (as if they even know any). Liberals find it so easy to hate their political opponents that they have trouble grasping the concept that you can be opposed to something without being motivated by the same kind of hatred.

Opposition to same-sex marriage is a majority opinion in this country because a majority of the population is against redefining the institution of marriage. If same-sex couples were to simply seek legal rights comparable to those that afforded to traditional marriage - something along the lines of domestic partnerships or civil unions - they would run into very little opposition. But in the minds of most Americans, a redefinition of a cultural institution like marriage is neither desired nor warranted. And when this happens via judicial fiat rather than the consent of the governed, then you have a problem.

Captain Ed weighes in:

Gays rightly want to have the ability to determine issues such as hospital access, estate planning, tax partnerships, and so on -- the "incidentals of marriage", as the court puts it. The court ordered the legislature to recognize these relationships as either marriages or civil unions, but both are basically contractual relationships, and the government recognizes and enforces these routinely...

...This issue really is simple. If two adults want to live together, nothing stops them from doing so, no matter the gender composition of the relationship. The government cannot stop adults from doing so, and has no real interest in doing so. What gays want is an active government sanction for the relationship, and that is a legitimate public policy interest for the people of New Jersey -- and the people should make that decision. As long as gay couples can contract as described above, no one faces any kind of discrimination for their relationships.

What the NJ Supreme Court has done is remind voters - two weeks out from a mid-term election - about the importance of having a Judiciary that interprets laws rather than making them up at their own whim. The President has a six-year record of appointing the former and, in order to ensure that this continues for the next two years, the Senate must remain Republican-controlled. And even that doesn't guaranty anything.

Mary Katherine Ham puts it another way:

Gee, wouldn't this all be easier if we could vote on this kind of thing?

Political implications? Big reminder to the social conservative base and other folks worried about the judiciary that they don't cotton to courts making these decisions for them.

Again, how exactly will this affect turnout among both Republicans and Republican-leaning Independents? Impossible to tell.

But voters now have some new post-election consequences to chew on in the voting booth. And for States like Tennessee and Virginia that have same-sex marriage bans on the ballot this year it could provide the kind of motivated turnout that heavily favors the GOP and keeps their Senate seats - and Senate control - in Republican hands.

TN Rep. Harold Ford (Dem candidate for Senate) spoke out against the ruling and supports the TN same-sex marriage ban. And Kos is pissed.

Posted by: Gary at 09:15 AM | No Comments | Add Comment
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