The first paragraph of the first article of the 1947 Constitution of New Jersey reads:
1. All persons are by nature free and independent, and have certain natural and unalienable rights, among which are those of enjoying and defending life and liberty, of acquiring, possessing, and protecting property, and of pursuing and obtaining safety and happiness.
The Supreme Court of the over-developed, mosquito-infested, and chemical-polluted wasteland of New Jersey ruled today that
Denying committed same-sex couples the financial and social benefits and privileges given to their married heterosexual counterparts bears no substantial relationship to a legitimate governmental purpose. The Court holds that under the equal protection guarantee of Article I, Paragraph 1 of the New Jersey Constitution, committed samesex couples must be afforded on equal terms the same rights and benefits enjoyed by opposite-sex couples under the civil marriage statutes. The name to be given to the statutory scheme that provides full rights and benefits to samesex couples, whether marriage or some other term, is a matter left to the democratic process.
Samesex? Interesting neologism.
When exactly did state constitutions start conferring rights on “couples” as opposed to individuals?
Individuals in (godforsaken) New Jersey obviously enjoy currently, each and every one, precisely the same right to matrimonial alliance as anyone else. True, the citizens of the armpit of the universe, like other Americans (residing outside the most lawless and demented communities of fashion) are restricted to marrying (one) only (of) persons of the opposite sex, of mature age, and of appropriate genetic remove, as is traditional. Victims of supposed oppression throughout America are not permitted to marry plurally, to marry inside conventional boundaries of consaguinity, to marry juveniles, nor to marry their labrador retriever Ralph, or the elm tree growing in their front yard.
As far as I can see, the only argument persons on the opposing side can reasonably make would be based upon the “pursuit of happiness” provision. But, if we do not grant polygamists, pedophiles, and other exotic seekers of happiness free pursuit of their objectives, why are we not entitled to deny complete equality with normalcy to one particular variation of perversity?
I feel obliged to note that I am a libertarian. I have always been a keen advocate of the abolition of laws penalizing private voluntary conduct among consenting adults. I have numerous Gay friends, and I do not think that I am overly censorious. I would defend the rights of Gays to do as they please privately to the death.
I think I was a relatively early supporter of civil union legislation, aimed at relieving various practical difficulties attendant upon unconventional domestic arrangements.
Still, even without religion, I do basically agree with the text of the older version of the Anglican Book of Common Prayer, under whose phraseology my wife and I were married, which says:
Dearly beloved, we are gathered together here in the sight of God, and in the face of this congregation, to join together this Man and this Woman in holy Matrimony; which is an honourable estate, instituted of God in the time of man’s innocency, signifying unto us the mystical union that is betwixt Christ and his Church; which holy estate Christ adorned and beautified with his presence, and first miracle that he wrought, in Cana of Galilee; and is commended of Saint Paul to be honourable among all men: and therefore is not by any to be enterprised, nor taken in hand, unadvisedly, lightly, or wantonly, to satisfy men’s carnal lusts and appetites, like brute beasts that have no understanding; but reverently, discreetly, advisedly, soberly, and in the fear of God; duly considering the causes for which Matrimony was ordained.