New Jersey Okays Gay Marriage
New Jersey’s Supreme Court ruled today that gay and lesbian couples in the state must be afforded “the same rights and benefits enjoyed by opposite-sex couples under the civil marriage statutes.” That could mean same-sex marriage, or it could mean Vermont-style civil unions, and the Court gave the state legislature 180 days to decide which. Only three months ago, New York’s highest court punted in a similar case, refusing to give similar instructions to our legislature. We checked in with Alan Van Capelle, executive director of the Empire State Pride Agenda, to ask whether it’s time for New York’s gays — well, more of New York’s gays — to start house-hunting in Montclair.
So who’d have thought that side of the Hudson would go first?
I haven’t read the decision in full yet, but it’s not just New Jersey going in the right direction. Every state that borders New York, with the exception of Pennsylvania, has passed a comprehensive regulation or law that protects gay and lesbian couples. New Jersey will soon have probably marriage, Connecticut and Vermont have civil unions, Massachusetts has marriage, and Quebec and Ontario have marriage. We’re surrounded by jurisdictions that understand that gay and lesbian couples need protections, and we’re alone.