Wednesday, October 25, 2006

New Jersey: a human rights victory... but...

New Jersey Supreme Court ruled 4-3 today that same-sex couples are entitled to the same rights as hetero couples, including the right to marriage "or something like it" (civil unions). It's a compromise that gives gay couples the same privileges and responsibilities as straight married couples, without actually being called marriage. In my opinion they should settle for nothing less than full marriage; however, in a country that's had so much backlash against the concept of equal marriage (the vote on the ballots in 2004 comes to mind), it's a step forward.

What worries me is the timing. Less than 2 weeks before midterm elections, the bush administration is desperate to find some issue that will mobilize their base, many of whom are growing increasingly disenchanted with the republicans. My concern is that this decision will be used to rally all the extreme conservatives and get them to the polls, which might hurt the democrats' chances of winning the house or senate. Not to mention that it would ramp up the bigotry and set the equal marriage process back even further.

I wish I could just think of this as a happy day for some couples in New Jersey, but I can't shake this sense of dread.