Thursday, October 26, 2006

New Jersey Court rules same-sex couples must have same rights

They didn't say it has to be called marriage, but the NJ court said same-sex couples must get the same "rights and benefits":

The Legislature has recognized that the “rights and benefits” provided in the Domestic Partnership Act are directly related “to any reasonable conception of basic human dignity and autonomy.”....It is difficult to understand how withholding the remaining “rights and benefits” from committed same-sex couples is compatible with a “reasonable conception of basic human dignity and autonomy.”

....Disparate treatment of committed same-sex couples, moreover, directly disadvantages their children. We fail to see any legitimate governmental purpose in disallowing the child of a deceased same-sex parent survivor benefits under the Workers’ Compensation Act or Criminal Injuries Compensation Act when children of married parents would be entitled to such benefits.

....Gays and lesbians work in every profession, business, and trade. They are educators, architects, police officers, fire officials, doctors, lawyers, electricians, and construction workers. They serve on township boards, in civic organizations, and in church groups that minister to the needy. They are mothers and fathers. They are our neighbors, our co-workers, and our friends. In light of the policies reflected in the statutory and decisional laws of this State, we cannot find a legitimate public need for an unequal legal scheme of benefits and privileges that disadvantages committed same-sex couples.

Kevin Drum adds:
Good for them. I suppose this will spark another frenzied and cynical round of "scare the evangelicals" from Karl Rove & Co. just in time for the midterms, but you know what? Let 'em. Liberals shouldn't run scared from this stuff just because there's an election coming up.

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