Republican prospects in November's elections are decidedly brighter today as result of the ruling by the New Jersey Supreme Court on same-sex marriage.
The court ruled that same sex partners must be granted the same rights and benefits afforded opposite-sex couples under New Jersey's civil marriage statues, but deferred to the state legislature the decision on whether the same sex arrangement should be called marriage. So the court essentially said that same sex partnership walks like a duck, looks like a duck and should be granted all the rights and benefits of a duck, but concluded it didn't have the authority to call it a duck.
Now the state legislature has 180 days to decide whether to call it a duck, or to call it a goose that has the same legal standing as a duck. It will decide whether to legalize same-sex marriage, or whether these homosexual partnerships should exist under a separate but equal civil union regime.
I guess you might call the latter possibility, which local pundits say is the more likely outcome, the Plessy V. Ferguson equivalent of same-sex marriage. Plessy, of course, was the Supreme Court ruling in 1896 that found segregation in public facilities constitutional as long as the separate facilities were of equal quality.
How the New Jersey legislature handles this will not be known until well after the November elections. But those who are saying that this decision, because it fell short of outright legalization of same sex marriage, will not be the adrenalin injection to disillusioned and apathetic conservative voters that Republicans claim it will be, are wrong.
Conservatives are not as dumb as liberals might think we are. You might call a duck a goose, but we really know a duck when we see one.
Consider the disappointment among homosexual activists in the wake of this decision. Listening to these folks make their case for same sex marriage over recent years, you would really have thought that this was all about complaints about discrimination in rights and benefits.
But if that was what this was all about, they'd be ecstatic with this decision. Same sex partners in New Jersey now have identical rights and benefits to those of traditional marriage. The complaint about legal discrimination is off the table.
Their disappointment emerges from the fact that homosexual activism is as much about legitimacy and acceptance as rights and benefits. It's about culture and values.
A club that is not enthusiastic about my becoming a member may grant me all the benefits of membership, but withhold the designation "member." When I show up for functions, even though I can do everything everyone else does, I'm still an outsider. I'm still different.
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