Oct 29, 2006

[Gay Rights] Dubya on New Jersey

New York Times Image

"Yesterday, in New Jersey, we had another activist court issue a ruling that raises doubts about the institution of marriage. I believe that marriage is a union between a man and a woman. And I believe it's a sacred institution that is critical to the health of our society and the well-being of families, and it must be defended."

- President George W. Bush

This was how good old Dubya responded to the recent NJ Supreme Court ruling regarding the legality of gay marriage. Their current decision is to give the Legislature 180 days to make a final ruling on whether same-sex couples should be allowed to marry, in a manner of speaking. The next six months should be interesting as we can already see the presently Republican-controlled Federal government will definitely make moves to prevent the state of New Jersey from pushing through with this decision despite the interpretation of the state Supreme Court of their constitution.

The decision is a landmark one given the current political climate in the US in terms of how they feel about same-sex marriages. There have been repeated attempts by the Republican party to turn this into a campaign issue around which conservatives can rally around but have met little success in recent election years. There have also been attempts to get the constitution changed such that it clearly defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman - another move that has thus far met with failure.

I'm proud enough to say that I am homosexual, and I do feel strongly about our right to marry. I think I, along with many advocates out there, are more than willing to negotiate a compromise such as just allowing civil unions and not necessarily marriage, if the politicians want to play the semantics game. If they feel so attached to the term, then they can have it. What matters most is our right to be recognized as individuals with equal rights. We deserve to be recognized as contributing citizens of the world with the right to have our unions and partnerships recognized to be official and binding.

What is Bush protecting? I thought there was supposed to be a separation of Church and State - so why is he trying to present a predominantly Christian agenda as state policy, as something that become fundamental to the definition of what America supposedly is?

This is but one more minor skirmish in the overall war for gay rights across the world. Given the United States' place in the world, everyone cannot ignore what they'll decide to do. The actions of this one nation, whether we like it or not, will surely influence the policies and statements of many other nations around the world.

Personally, I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

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