Gay Marriage in N.J.Imagine, if you would, that the following described your rights as a U.S. citizen within a monogamous, loving relationship: you had no adoption rights in most states, no hospital visitation rights, no access to willed assets from the deceased, and your relationship had no legitimation under the law. What I’ve just described to you is the plight of same-sex couples throughout the state and the country, yet New Jersey is about to take a huge, life-affirming step towards rectifying this lack of basic human rights afforded to most of the population.
In February, New Jersey’s Supreme Court heard arguments for and against legalizing gay marriage, -- the ultimate, cultural boogeyman for so many Republican leaders -- and this summer will make a ruling on whether the state should legalize the institution of marriage for all persons. Many legal scholars are of the opinion that New Jersey will become the second state to protect the rights of same-sex couples and grant them the legal status afforded to heterosexual couples. Nothing would make me prouder than for our courts to grant this basic human right, especially with so many red states moving backwards by making same-sex marriage illegal. New Jersey is a progressive state with citizens who recognize that human rights and tolerance to all are not only foundational ideals built into our Constitution and Bill of Rights, but also ideals that should guide every human culture; this is perhaps why, when so much of the country is moving towards intolerant laws towards homosexuals, New Jerseyans favor gay marriage by a 56% to 39% ratio, according to a recent Zogby poll. Though some social conservatives make the claim that gay marriage threatens "traditional" Western marriages, I see nothing but fearmongering in such a wayward claim; we know that Massachusetts has not been "threatened" in any way because of their groundbreaking law that provides equal rights for gays and lesbians. Not a single institution, civic or ecclesiastical, will be threatened in our state if we legalize gay marriage.
Our state has the opportunity to lead the rest of the nation in affirming the rights of all of our citizens, straight or gay, and I encourage local civic leaders, clergy, and politicians to join me in supporting the legalization of gay marriage in our state