Dallas Voice (Dallas, Tex.), Vol. 22, No. 35, Ed. 1 Friday, January 13, 2006 Page: 16 of 60
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New Jersey a state of contrasts for gays
State won't budge on same-sex marriage, but expands its domestic
partnership law in areas of health benefits, :nheritance and funerals
From Wire Reports
New Jersey, one of the "blue" states, has
earned the color. It is one of a few that recognizes
gay and lesbian domestic partnerships. In fact,
lawmakers this week expanded the protections
given to gay and lesbian couples in areas includ-
ing inheritance and funeral arrangements, and the
bills are certain to be signed by the governor.
But the live-and-let-live attitude changes when
the topic is same-sex marriage.
Next month, the state's Supreme Court will
hear oral arguments on whether the Garden State
overstepped its Constitution by limiting marriage
to opposite-sex couples. In a legal filing Friday,
the state repeated its insistence that gay marriage
is not a protected right in New Jersey.
A state appeals panel ruled last June that gay
marriage is not protected by New Jersey's
Constitution and will not be recognized in the
Garden State unless the Legislature changes the
The issue goes to the state Supreme Court
because gay marriage supporters appealed the 2-
to-1 decision of the appeals panel.
The Supreme Court is obliged to accept all
cases from split appellate panels.
The case involves seven same-sex couples
seeking the legal right to marry.
Attorney General Patrick DeAlmeida filed a
brief with the court that echoed the lower court's
majority ruling. The law needs to be changed by
the Legislature, not the courts, the document said.
"This case presents the question of whether the
New Jersey Constitution demands that the long-
standing definition of marriage be changed by
judicial fiat to grant plaintiffs a right that has
never been recognized in our state — the ability
to enter into a government-sanctioned, same-sex
marriage," DeAlmeida wrote.
DaVid Buckel, a lawyer with the gay litigating
foundation Lambda Legal Defense and
Education Fund, said the state's view is based on
a misunderstanding of how democracy works.
"The courts are there under our system of
checks and balances to make sure the Legislature
hasn't crossed the line under the Constitution of
our state. That's what's happened here," Buckel
Lambda Legal contends that the New Jersey
Constitution provides for gay marriage because it
says, "All persons ... have certain natural and
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David Buckel, a lawyer with Lambda Legal, suggested
that the New Jersey Legislature overstepped its authority
in banning same-sex marriage. Buckel said the New
Jersey Constitution provides for gay marriages by stating
that all people have the right to "safety and happiness."
unalienable rights" including "obtaining safety
The Supreme Court has scheduled oral argu-
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16 I dallasvoice.com I 01.13.06
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Vercher, Dennis. Dallas Voice (Dallas, Tex.), Vol. 22, No. 35, Ed. 1 Friday, January 13, 2006, newspaper, January 13, 2006; Dallas, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth238891/m1/16/: accessed September 25, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Special Collections.