New Jersey people they will surprise you

I’ve been cautiously monitoring the court battle over marriage equality in New Jersey, the place of my birth. As John Gorka says, “I’m from New Jersey, I don’t expect too much,” and so I’ve been skeptical of the positive signs and reluctant to celebrate until it seemed clear that such celebration wasn’t just some cruel illusion. That’s the Jersey way of looking at things.

But I think maybe we can celebrate now.

N.J. Supreme Court: ‘No public interest’ in blocking gay marriage

The state Supreme Court not only cleared the way Friday for the first same-sex weddings while it continues to hear an appeal by Gov. Chris Christie — it flat out rejected the governor’s arguments for opposing gay marriage and stressed that he’s unlikely to win next year when the justices make a final ruling.

In a sweeping, 7-0 opinion written by Chief Justice Stuart Rabner, the high court signaled it has already wrestled with the biggest questions at the heart of the case, finding that “same-sex couples in New Jersey are now being deprived of the full rights and benefits the state constitution guarantees” and that the Republican governor “has not shown a reasonable probability of success” as he challenges a lower-court ruling that legalized gay marriage in September.

The justices ruled that gay couples are short-changed by civil unions, the only partnership New Jersey allows them, because a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in June extended hundreds of tax and medical benefits to same-sex couples but only if they are in “lawful marriages.”

“Civil-union partners in New Jersey today do not receive the same benefits as married same-sex couples when it comes to family and medical leave, Medicare, tax and immigration matters, military and veterans’ affairs, and other areas,” Rabner wrote. “The state constitution’s guarantee of equal protection is therefore not being met.”

Christie’s administration, Rabner continued, “has advanced a number of arguments, but none of them overcome this reality: same-sex couples who cannot marry are not treated equally under the law today.”

Legal experts and gay rights advocates said the court, which is due to hear oral arguments in the case the first week of January, has left little doubt about which way it is leaning. Even Justice Anne Patterson, a Republican appointed by Christie, joined Rabner’s opinion, they noted.

For Perry Dane, an expert on same-sex marriage law at Rutgers University in Camden, Rabner’s strong language shows the court is preparing to set in stone what it granted provisionally Friday.

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  • tricksterson

    7-0? That’s pretty much a slam dunk. If it had been 4-3 or even 5-2 opponents might have some wiggle room but if I were Christie I’d just save myself the embarrassment and drop it.

  • Erp

    And Red Bank and Asbury Park are on the forefront of issuing licenses? I’ve head they’ve changed in the decades since I lived in Monmouth county but this is still amazing. Ocean Grove must be having some conniptions.

  • mattmcirvin

    What strikes me is what a non-story this is nationally. “Another state gets same-sex marriage” is becoming routine. New Mexico has been enacting it in a strange piecemeal fashion for months now and almost nobody seems to have noticed.

    I figure Hawaii and Illinois are probably next in some order. After that it starts to get more difficult, because the campaign starts to run up against more states that either have constitutional amendments or lower public support or both.

  • Emcee, cubed

    Nevada is working on it. There is a two-pronged attack going on right now.

    First is through the legislature to repeal the amendment. It have been approved once. It has to be approved again by next elected legislature, then ratified by the voters. So 2016 at the earliest.

    The second is through the courts. A district court ruled last year that the amendment was constitutional, through the rather strange logic that homosexuals haven’t been historically persecuted because they have never been denied the vote or not allowed to own property, which seems like a really narrow view of the word “persecuted” to me. The ruling has been appealed to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

    Both of these are pretty well regarded as being likely to succeed, it would be mainly a question of which gets there first. The legislative one has a fixed date, but the question is how the next election works out. If more conservative legislators are voted into the state house, it could get sunk there. If it makes to the voters, it’ll likely pass. The judicial ruling has no set timetable as for when they would rule. And while the Ninth Circuit would be likely to overturn the first ruling, it is also likely they would stay the ruling for a SCOTUS appeal, which also has no set time, and is less likely to vote for equality. But if they do, it would be much more far-reaching. NV doesn’t have the same circumstances as Prop 8 in CA did, so they would be unlikely to be able to strike down NV’s anti-marriage amendment without striking down all anti-marriage amendments.

    So I had a point here. Where did it go? Oh yeah. Nevada might be in line after HI and IL.

  • caryjamesbond

    So, off topic- but this is currently the #2 most commented story on ABC news , com, and its all MRA’s spouting bullshit.

    I’ve been having a high old time playing whack-a-mole but A. I’m only one (loud) man. and B. …well, I’m good with the sarcasm, but when there’s a excellent chance lots of people who aren’t sold one way or the other are gonna have eyeballs on this, it’d be nice to have a bunch of people with like….better numbers.

    And if there’s one place that brings the research, its slacktivist.

  • Ivkra

    o/ Good for them! Very, very cool.

  • Invisible Neutrino

    Have they been asked how they justify telling these things to women?

    “I got emails and tweets and posts on Facebook that say, ‘You are
    disgusting. You are fat. No one would ever want you. You should be
    raped,” Friedman said.

    A lot of these MRA types profess to believing in some kind of Olde Timey gender-essentialist “proper gentleman” code of conduct, so what do they hope to gain by means of treating someone’s sister/mother/wife like that?


    Women often HATE one another. In incredibly petty ways too. But the moment a guy expresses his scorn for a woman or women in general, he is called a misogynist.

    Your Misogynist entitlement is my entitlement too, because I am a male who embraces true equality!!! I am deserved of equal entitlements too!!!

    Misogyny is mine!!!!! I claim my right to misogyny, misogyny is no longer just an entitlement to women only!!!



    Wow. Props for wading in on that hotbed of concentrated ill-will.

    EDIT 2:

    Someone on the comments thread indicated this was good reading. It is.

  • fredgiblet

    w00t, some really good news there.

  • Baby_Raptor

    Wow, umm…DudeBro in the second comment needs a whack upside the head with the Clue-by-four. There’s a huge difference between hating one or two butthead women and hating womankind as a whole.

  • David S.

    I’ve always found Nevada weird on this issue. It’s a clear win of political conservativism over economic conservativism. We’re the marriage capital of the US; if gay couples are looking for a place to get married, we should be encouraging them every way we can to come to Nevada.

  • mattmcirvin

    The Nevada amendment was passed in 2000-2002, earlier than even most of these amendments (there was a big wave in 2004, as a way of turning out social conservatives for Bush’s reelection). Same-sex marriage didn’t exist anywhere in the US at the time and it was relatively easy to agitate people against it. Recent polls show a majority there in favor of overturning the amendment; I could see them being one of the first states to overturn an anti-SSM amendment by popular vote.

  • mattmcirvin

    The old-timey ethos is to behave in a gentlemanly manner toward women until the instant they step out of line, at which point one generally applies violence.

  • mistformsquirrel

    I don’t even know what to say to comments like that. How can someone even say something like “You should be raped” and not realize “I’m a terrible human being”?

    And the worst part is this is hardly new; it’s just… eugh. I’ve gotten death threats before and I actually would prefer those to that kind of excrement.

    I’m somewhere between tears and blind fury at the moment just thinking about it.

  • mattmcirvin

    Hawaii is an unusual case: it was the first state ever to have a court rule that marriage had to extend to same-sex couples, so it was also the first one to block that with legislative action. But the constitutional amendment they passed didn’t actually ban same-sex marriage; it just explicitly gave the legislature the power to do so, and the actual ban is just a statute. Much easier to overturn.

  • Matthias

    I love the courts reasoning: “No, we are not going to issue a stay, because when we will rule on the merits it will be against you anyways so a stay is pointless.” I wonder why Christie doesn’t just accept it.

  • Carstonio

    Christie probably sees himself as occupying the alleged middle ground between marriage equality advocates and the fundamentalists, to broaden his appeal for a presidential race in 2016. But his harping on the supposed definition of marriage is just another form of demagoguery. The claim that legalizing same-sex marriage “changes the definition” is all about promoting fear, to lead audiences to believe that social disapproval is in danger of switching from homosexuality to heterosexuality. I’ve said many times that marriage’s definition would only change under the law if opposite-sex marriage would be banned, but ultimately the definition is what the spouses in a marriage make of the union. Frustrating that so many folks don’t see that this is about doing away with a norm, not redefininng it, and maddening that Christie so wants to ride the bus to the White House that he’s throwing LGBT folks under the bus.

    Plenty of marriage equality opponents who aren’t in the public eye insist that they don’t hate gays and lesbians. Reminds me of Fred’s point that recent GOP talk about “outreach” is white men convincing themselves that they’re not racists or sexists while promoting policies that hurt women and ethnic minorities.

  • tricksterson

    The first time an anti-SSM amendment is overturned, however it is done, expect a wave of strokes, heart attacks and general pants shitting to sweep the nation because, and I’m just guessing here, the anti-SSm forces have pretty much gone with the assumtion that once it’s in a states Constitution that’s it, they need worry no more.

  • tricksterson

    I figure he’s trying to pander to his party’s right wing and tone down the hate they’ve had for him ever since Sandy.

  • dpolicar

    (nods) No doubt.

    As the demographics inevitably shift, I’m waiting for the wave of social-conservative rhetoric arguing that we cannot trust something as unreliable as the expressed will of the people when it comes to important moral questions like who can marry whom; even if the majority endorses allowing consenting adults to marry one another, it’s the responsibility of the government to prevent such absurdities from becoming the law of the land, and to repeal them when they do.

    Of course, by that time that will always have been the social-conservative position on marriage equality, so they won’t understand why I’m laughing so hard.

  • Carstonio

    I’m hoping for a permanent separation between the wings of the party, with people like Christie trying and failing to bridge the gap. But my real dream is for the reactionary wing to simply retreat to their homes and look fearfully out their windows at a world that no longer assumes that straight white Christian men are society’s natural leaders.

  • Emcee, cubed

    Yeah, pretty much what matt says below. The marriage capital of the world thing was, in fact, used to push for the anti-marriage amendment. It was figured that unless SSM was banned by the Constitution, some court might say they had to allow it, and NV would be overrun by huge amounts of gay couples wanting to get married there because NV was the marriage capital of the world. Back then, before people could see the actual effects of SSM on the country (little to none), it was easy to play into this fear. Also, Vegas was booming back then – both in tourism and the housing market – so few felt a need to bring in even more business, they already had all they could handle. Now that we are one of the most depressed states in the country (though getting better, because while our governor is a Republican, he’s not a total dickhead. We even accepted the medicaid expansion without even a fight, because he knew it would be good for the state.), in hindsight we can see we shot ourselves in the foot (though it certainly wouldn’t have been a cure-all, more revenues coming into the state wouldn’t have been a bad thing.)

  • Invisible Neutrino

    The old-timey ethos is to behave in a gentlemanly manner toward women until the instant they step out of line, at which point one generally applies violence.

    Ah, so heads men win, tails women lose. (-_-)

    It WOULD be too much to assume that one could convice men that women should be behaved properly to under that paradigm.

    Is there any actual proof of their ranting about Sarkeesian trolling 4chan to purposely start a fuss over her proposed kickstarter project?

    Also, even if it did, that doesn’t make it right for them to lose their shit and threaten her.

  • Invisible Neutrino

    What, because he (shock, gasp) took federal emergency aid money? Christ, these Teabagger assholes really do have cutting off your nose to spite your face refined into an art form.

  • Emcee, cubed

    Not just that he took the federal aid, but that he criticized members of his own party who were trying to block aid money, and that he gave credit to Obama for doing everything he could to help. Just accepting the money would have been fine in and of itself.(see various other red states such as TX who got federal disaster money and weren’t criticized for it)

  • Lori

    There is nothing like accurately describing reality to make Republicans hate you.

  • Lori

    I’m wondering how he reconciles “some women don’t get along therefore I am entitled to be a raging asshat misogynist” with the stock MRA whine about misandry*. Clearly some men hate each other therefore by his lights women are entitled to hate men and they need to stop complaining about it.

    *Misandry is an actual thing, but that real thing is not what MRA’s are talking about when they winge and whine about misandry.

  • Invisible Neutrino

    As best as I can tell, folks like him say, “women fight like vicious hellcats over things men don’t even know or care about so that is TOTALLY ‘misogynist’, so I want in on the action of being able to dislike women.”

    And then they say, “And women can be hateful bitches to men over like NOTHING and they hold grudges FOREVER*, and that is totes misandry!!!111oneone”

    Yeah, it doesn’t make any sense to me either.

    * In my experience, the man who says he “just said something ordinary” and got the perma stink eye from a woman thereafter usually ends up turning out to be a bit of a prick in other areas.

  • Monala

    Wasn’t there a scene in one of the LB books in which Buck behaves violently toward Verna Zee? I remember being shocked, and I didn’t think these books could shock me anymore. It is one thing for LeHaye and Jenkins to act as if dripping condescension and general assholery directed toward women in their books is OK and Christian, but how in the world can they justify violence? So your point makes sense as an explanation of their mindset.

  • Lori

    The day MRAs start to make sense to you, seek help. I went over there and took a look. That is one seriously delusional group of folks.

    Crime statistics are totally wrong because women get men to commit crimes for them, like hiring a hitman to kill their husband. WTF?

    MRAs are like the Tea Partiers, which figures since those groups have a good bit of overlap. They are so wrong in so many ways that it’s nearly impossible to talk to them. Where do you even start?

  • Lori

    Yes, Buck was violent during his hissy fit in the office when he went back there after the bombing. And after that she still loans him her car.

  • Invisible Neutrino

    Yeah, didn’t he slam the door in her face with his shoe?

  • Monala

    My husband and I were members of a theologically conservative church for many years in the Boston area, and when we moved to the other coast, it was a chance to make a new start religiously as well. Now we attend a theologically liberal church which we’re happy with, but there are things we miss. For example, our old church had a lot more activities and groups to be involved with.

    Now, however, when we are in touch with friends from our old church via Facebook, we are sometimes shocked at some of the negative, angry and violent words that come from their mouths. We keep wondering, were these people always like this? Our church back home was pretty apolitical, and we knew members who were Democrats, Republicans, Independents or what have you, and political differences didn’t really seem to matter back then. But President Obama’s election seems to have unleashed this ugliness in a lot of people that we never knew was there.

    Here’s the interesting thing: my daughter recognizes it, even if she doesn’t know the reasons why. She was too young when we moved to remember our old church.

    My husband recently met a man who is a member of a local church from our old denomination, who invited us to visit. My husband decided, “Why don’t we check it out, for old times’ sake?” So we went a few weeks ago.

    Our daughter attended the children’s program while we were in the service. She is a very social child, and usually the only thing she needs to enjoy something is the presence of other children to get to know and play with. So if she had said something afterward such as, “I had fun, but I miss our regular church,” I’d have understood.

    Instead, she said, “I didn’t like it. It was too negative, and I never want to go back there.” Even the presence of other children wasn’t enough to shield her from picking up on that vibe.

  • ReverendRef

    And there’s expected to be a marriage equality issue on the 2014 ballot in Oregon. I suspect by that time one pro-argument might be along the lines of, “Look, do you really want OR to be out of step with the entire country?”

  • Emcee, cubed

    OR does have an anti-marriage amendment, though, doesn’t it? Is it as simple as a referendum to repeal it? Or have the early steps already been taken? (I heard recently that OR will recognize out-of-state marriages because they can’t do them themselves because of the amendment. The logic being – correctly, I think – that we recognize legal out-of-state heterosexual marriages that we don’t do – like common law marriages – so we should be recognizing SSM as well.)

  • ReverendRef

    To be honest, I don’t know if OR has an anti-marriage amendment. All I really know for sure is that I signed an equal marriage petition last spring.

    It would be nice if they (we) recognized out of state marriages — the logic you presented seems to back it up.

    I think to be on the safe side, we just need to say the state will recognize and perform all marriages, regardless of the gender of the couple (with, of course, legal age, consent, monogamous, etc etc).

  • Lori

    I think so. It was definitely something about his shoe & a door.

  • Emcee, cubed

    Okay, so here’s the article about recognizing out of state marriages. That looks like a done deal by the article. It also at the end mentions a court case against the OR amendment, and a referendum. I checked the OR Constitution, and it looks like it has to be passed by both state houses first, then sent to the voters. I don’t know if that first step has been done yet, but wouldn’t surprise me. If so, then OR is definitely in the running to be the next state with marriage equality.

  • esmerelda_ogg

    I’m not sure Christie accepting the money would have been all right with the red states – right after Sandy a number of middle-of-the-country right wing politicians, from the states that are forever (legitimately) receiving aid for things like tornadoes, did a lot of pearl-clutching at the very notion of New Jersey and New York receiving any disaster relief at all.

  • Lori
  • Lorehead

    Yes, I’m sorry to say we do. Since then, we have civil unions (edit: called domestic partnerships), and we (despite the language of Measure 36) began recognizing out-of-state same-sex marriages three days ago.

    I should go find a signature drive and sign the marriage equality initiative, just to make a statement.

  • Lorehead

    There was a court case against Measure 36, years ago, but it failed. Oregon passed civil unions in 2008 a domestic partnership law in 2007 that took effect in 2008, and began recognizing out-of-state same-sex marriages just a few days ago.

    Oregon does allow constitutional amendments by citizen initiative, and this is what Oregon United for Marriage is doing. However, this cannot happen until November 2014, and fortunately, it appears that other states will beat us.

  • Lorehead

    Washington Resolution 74 passed last year, legalizing same-sex marriage in the state by popular vote, although it did not overturn a previous constitutional ban.

  • ohiolibrarian

    Yet another reason to suppress the vote and maybe rescind the 17th amendment. (Yeah, that’s the ticket!)

  • ohiolibrarian

    The car he promptly destroyed, right?

  • mattmcirvin

    Already happened in California (by highly idiosyncratic Supreme Court decision). And, yeah, there was some of that.

  • mattmcirvin

    “Gay marriage has never won a state referendum” was an applause line right up to the day it won three state referenda at the same time. They have to be adaptive about these things…

  • Lori

    IME, a very high percentage of the tales of woe that MRAs tell turn out to have a strong element of the guy being a total asshole.

    For example, men don’t always get a fair shake in family court and I support efforts to change that. Still, I’ve lost count of the number of whiners who complain about “losing their kids” who barely spent any time with them when they did live with them, regularly blow off the visitation that they have and are really just pissing and moaning about having to pay money for something that is no longer in their possession.

  • Lori

    That would be the one.

  • Baby_Raptor

    Christie is stocking political points. Word is his he has eye on a presidential run next election. What better to score him points with the GoTea than standing up against the evil gays?

  • Lori

    I can’t imagine that Christie thinks he can take any significant part of the Tea vote away from Ted Cruz. I assume he thinks that opposing marriage equality will help him lure socially conservative Dems since the idea that he can appeal to the Right side of the Democratic vote is really the only reason he’s considered a possibility for the presidential nomination.