As most of you by now know, the Garden State’s Supreme Court has given state lawmakers “180 days to rewrite” state laws to give gay people “marriage or something like it, such as civil unions.“
In his post earlier, Robbie (whom, some have suggested, I would marry if we lived in the Bay State) pretty somewhat summarized my initial thoughts. Offering a different take than his co-blogger, Robbie was “not pleased” with the court’s decision, disliking “it when a court tells a legislature which laws it has to pass.“
That said, I am delighted that the New Jersey legislature will be addressing state recognition of same-sex unions. I would rather that this had come about as it had in Connecticut rather than by judicial mandate.
On the one hand, I’m pleased that the legislature will be dealing with the issue. On the other hand, I don’t think courts should mandate which issues state legislatures put on their calendars. It seems a clear violation of the separation of powers.
Finally, because a court has mandated this, it strengthens the hand of those supporting state referenda defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman. Whenever one state court mandates gay marriage, it leads to a backlash against gay marriage in other states. While this ruling may be good for same-sex couples in the Garden State, I fear this may hurt same-sex couples in other states.
– B. Daniel Blatt (GayPatriotWest@aol.com)
UPDATE: It seems James Taranto at “Best of the Web” is sympathetic to my argument: “we’d also be happier if this were thrashed over democratically rather than forced upon society by the courts.” Read his piece on the decision for a thoughtful conservative reflection on gay marriage and civil unions.