Chris Douglas

Court Majority and Entire Dissent: Republican Appointees

Filed By Chris Douglas | October 25, 2006 4:56 PM | comments

Filed in: Living, Marriage Equality, Politics, The Movement, The Movement, Transgender & Intersex
Tags: amendment, LGBT community, marriage, New Jersey, Republicans

(It's important for Republican leadership to note that in other states, it has been Republican-appointed courts that have upheld the equal protection clause of the Bill of Rights in these cases. New Jersey is not the first state in which old-line small government Republican governors have appointed judges who insist on protecting the rights and freedoms of individuals. The right wing of the Republican Party disgraces a core Republican tradition of liberty and justice for all when it seeks to void our Constitutional guarantees to equal protection and religious freedom.)

The Supreme Court of New Jersey today affirmed that the equal protection clause of the New Jersey Constitution protects the rights of gay and lesbian citizen of New Jersey, and that the equal protections of the law must extend to them.

The ruling was 7-0 for the application of equal protection to same couples, with the only split being between 4 Justices who affirm that an equivalent structure such as civil union would suffice, and 3 justices asserting that civil marriage must extend to same sex couples.

Of the 7 Justices, 4 were appointed by New Jersey Republican Governor Christine Todd Whitman. All 3 of the dissenters, who pressed further for civil marriage, were the appointees of a Republican governor.

The Court in this case has done its job as the sole responsible enforcer of the Bill of Rights when executive and legislative branches fall derelict. This opinion represents a black and white reading of the equal protection clause of the Constitution of New Jersey, a clause bearing nearly identical resemblance to that of the U.S. Constitution and the Constitution of the State of Indiana.

Those who argue for an amendment to Constitutions propose the singularly un-American course of stripping American citizens from our guarantees of equal protection. Proposals to amend the Constitution in order to void its equal protection desecrate our founding documents, upend a core American ideal, and make a mockery of American freedom.

(From First Republican Principles:
FIRST REPUBLICANS BELIEVE in equal rights, equal protection, equal justice, equal opportunity and equal responsibilities for all people, regardless of race, religion, creed, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability or national origin.

FIRST REPUBLICANS BELIEVE the United States Constitution and its Bill of Rights is the bedrock of American freedom. The individual rights and freedoms established in federal and state constitutions must be protected from amendment and defended from encroachment.

FIRST REPUBLICANS BELIEVE in the absolute importance of separation of powers. The Legislative, Executive, and Judicial branches of government must all be respected. The balance between these branches is our primary defense against tyranny.)

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Just to clarify, as I read the syllabus, the majority did not affirm that civil unions would suffice, but held that until the legislature had a chance to propose such a scheme (if it did not grant equal access to marriage in the coming 180 days anyway), it was premature for the court to rule that no such scheme could be sufficient before they could consider the details of the legislature's plan.