New Jersey Judge Uses DOMA ruling to Legalize Same-Sex Marriage

New Jersey Judge Uses DOMA ruling to Legalize Same-Sex Marriage

Judge Mary JacobsonDiane Robertson

New Jersey judge, Mary C. Jacobson, has become the first judge in the United States to cite the Supreme Court’s ruling on DOMA as a reason a state must legalize same-sex marriage. Judge Jacobson said that not doing so deprives same sex couples of rights the United States Supreme Court supposedly guaranteed in June.

Jacobson’s ruling would allow same-sex couples to begin marrying on October 21st . Governor Chris Christie has appealed the ruling stating that same sex marriage in New Jersey should be decided by the people. Christie’s appeal will likely include a request for a stay blocking any same sex marriages until the case has finished the appeals process.

Christie’s press secretary, Michael Drewniak, said the governor “has always maintained that he would abide by the will of the voters on the issue of marriage equality and called for it to be on the ballot this Election Day.”

In 2006, the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled that same sex couples are entitled to all of the rights and benefits of marriage. Judge Jacobson used the combination of the 2006 New Jersey Supreme Court ruling and the U.S. Supreme Court ruling on DOMA to conclude that “under these circumstances, the current inequality visited upon same-sex civil union couples offends the New Jersey Constitution, creates an incomplete set of rights that Lewis sought to prevent, and is not compatible with a reasonable conception of basic human dignity.”

Most states do not have a similar judicial precedence. However, gay rights activists believe that Jacobson’s ruling in New Jersey could herald similar outcomes in other states across the nation. Given that U.S. Supreme Court Justice Kennedy used the argument that section 3 of DOMA interfered with a state’s right to determine marriage laws, one can hope that another judge would not be so reckless in overturning state law based on a federal ruling deciding state autonomy.

As gay rights have progressed over the years, individuals and businesses are finding that the resulting laws prohibit the free exercise of religion and the right of people to act on their consciences. An example is the recent far-reaching ordinance passed this month in San Antonio, which “prevents” appointees and members of city boards and commissions from engaging in “bias” by word or deed.

Legalized same-sex marriage takes the resulting religious discrimination one step further.  Legalized same sex marriage not only threatens individuals and businesses, but religious institutions as well. Just as gay rights activists have sued business owners and doctors to force service, they will sue religions to force them to marry same sex couples. A gay couple in Britain is currently suing the Church of England for the right to be married in the church. Opposing same-sex marriage is not about discrimination, it is about preserving freedoms that have protected individuals in the free world for more than 200 years.

 

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