There is little need to rehash the details, but New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine signed the bill providing equal-but-not-really-equal civil unions to same-sex couples. Of particular note is Gov. Corzine’s statement explaining his willingness to accept the legislature’s reasoning behind the civil union label instead of marriage, creating economic inefficiency on top of the separate-but-equal outcome. Consider:
The New Jersey bill creates a commission that will regularly review the law and recommend possible changes.
Corzine, a Democrat, said that seems to be a reasonable approach, but he said calling the arrangement a civil union rather than gay [sic] marriage is preferable.
“For most people, marriage has a religious connotation, and for many there is a view that that term is not consistent with the teachings of their religious belief,” the governor said. “So there is not democratic support in the broader society for that label, even though there is strong support for equal protection under the law.”
The state constitution of New Jersey presumably requires equal protection. “Democratic” support for the label matters how? Really, the Governor is stating that he believes mob rule is acceptable, in spite of said constitution. Granted, the New Jersey court’s ruling allowed this option, but the future is obvious. Marriage will arrive, whether the broader society wants it or not. Gov. Corzine should lead. If he doesn’t want to lead, he should resign. He should’ve refused to sign the legislation until the legislature gave him a solution that contains equality in practice, not just wishful thinking.
One thought on “I value your rights. Let’s vote on them.”
The real problem isn’t mob rule. It’s the government’s insistence on retaining the power to discriminate (as witnessed in its trashing of the equal protection clause and its stunning refusal to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment) that’s at the root of this predicament.
People who support so-called “affirmative action” programs while railing against proposals that deny marriage rights to gays (and see no contradiction) can thank themselves for helping to get us into this situation.
As long as the government is allowed to retain its power to discriminate, there will be many more cases where constitutional principles are ignored. The targets will be different but the end result will be the same.
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