Blue State Blues
TRENTON, NJ -- The New Jersey Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday that gay couples have the same rights as heterosexual couples. The result of this landmark case is that I've just developed a case of the "Blue State Blues". I'm downright depressed. As Bugs Bunny would say... "What a revoltin' development!"
My concerns span a number of areas. First and foremost, as a Christian I am brutally affronted at the sheer audacity of the decision. I'm not really SURPRISED by it. After all, living in a "blue" state means never having (or being able) to say: "Jesus said...", or "the Bible teaches...", or even "the Founding Fathers asserted..." On the other hand, it's still a shock to think of how far our society has departed from the beliefs of those intrepid Pilgrims who braved a long sea voyage and untold hardships pioneering an unknown land in order to establish a God-fearing society in the New World. No doubt there are many such souls who are now turning over in their graves this day.
Secondly, as one who believes that the Supreme Court's role (whether a State Supreme Court or the SCOTUS) is to interpret the law and not to create it from the bench, I am again disappointed that the New Jersey Judiciary has seen fit to legislate. You can read the ruling for yourself HERE, if you like. It's straight-forward and gets right to the heart of the matter. It says that...
New Jersey's marriage laws, which were first enacted in 1912, limit marriage to heterosexual couples. The recently enacted Domestic Partnership Act explicitly acknowledges that same-sex couples cannot marry. Although today there is a national debate over whether same-sex marriages should be authorized by the states, the framers of the 1947 New Jersey Constitution could not have imagined that the liberty right protected by Article I, Paragraph 1 embraced same-sex marriage.
Therefore, one would presume that a "strict constructionist" interpretation of the New Jersey Constitution would prohibit same-sex marriages in any form. Or at least, that's the "logical" conclusion one might draw. But who's to let "Stare Decisis" stand in the way of activist judges? Who's to stand in the way of judges intent on CHANGING THE LAW rather than interpreting the law? Apparently no one...
Times and attitudes have changed. There has been a developing understanding that discrimination against gays and lesbians is no longer acceptable in this State...
And while this passage goes on to say that "the Court cannot find that the right to same-sex marriage is a fundamental right under our constitution", it strongly implies that such a right OUGHT to be there. And why? Simply because "times and attitudes have changed". Damn the Founding Fathers. Damn the framers of the 1947 New Jersey Constitution. There are no "absolutes". There are no "Ten Commandments". There is no "Right" or "Wrong". There is only the mood of the moment. What was "immoral" yesterday is "moral" today. What was "perversion" yesterday is "chic" today. It's the "in-thing"... and therefore it MUST be legal. Anyone who believes otherwise is an old-fashioned, "traditionalist", fuddy-duddy.
Which brings me to the third reason for my "Blue State Blues". On what basis did the New Jersey Supreme Court found its ruling? Why, on none other than the basis of "equal protection". Same-sex couples must be afforded the same rights and privileges as heterosexual couples because they are "EQUAL" in the eyes of the law. Well... I guess, if you SAY so!?! As a judge, if that's what you believe when you sit down to hear such a case then I guess that's what you're going decide, isn't it? Especially if you don't give a damn about what they believed 40 or 50 years ago (let alone 230 years ago). After all, "times and attitudes have changed" now, haven't they? Personally, I don't think gay couples and heterosexual couples are "equal" for any number of reasons. But then, nobody asked me. In fact, those SCONJ judges didn't ask ANYONE in the State of New Jersey what they think. There was no referendum that I can recall. I didn't vote to give gays equal status.
And that brings me to the fourth reason for my "Blue State Blues". The SCONJ went so far as to "order" the NJ Legislature to change the laws...
To bring the State into compliance with Article I, Paragraph 1 so that plaintiffs can exercise their full constitutional rights, the Legislature MUST either amend the marriage statutes or enact an appropriate statutory structure within 180 days of the date of this decision. (emphasis added)
Hmmmm. Seems to me I once heard something about three co-equal branches of government... neither one having jurisdiction or power over the others. I guess that doesn't apply in the State of New Jersey? The Judiciary in New Jersey can just order the Legislature around as it sees fit. Wow! Impressive. I'll be even more depressed if the State legislators roll over and agree to do the Judiciary's bidding without telling them to go shove it!
And last but not least, my fifth reason for the "Blue State Blues". As a taxpayer, I have to pick up the tab. The tax laws clearly favor married couples. Giving gay couples all the "benefits and privileges that are afforded to married heterosexual couples" means that they will be paying less taxes than they were paying formerly. Unfortunately, state and federal expenses will not decrease when gay couples are provided with these new rights. Therefore, this decision will result in a net loss of tax revenue. Lower tax revenues means tax hikes to offset these benefits accorded to gay couples. Hence, I and my fellow old-fashioned, traditionalist, fuddy-duddy, heterosexual, Christian friends will be subsidizing with our taxpayer dollars the lifestyles of those whose values we do not agree with.
Rant over... but disallusionment persists.