Thursday, October 26, 2006

Two Cheers for Jersey

On a more positive note, I'd like to commend the great state of New Jersey for two recent developments:

First, the state Supreme Court managed to strike a nice balance on the gay marriage issue and handed the ball to legislators to make a decision on the subject within the next 180 days. While not explicitly endorsing gay marriage, the judges, in a 4-3 decision, made it clear that some kind of equal-benefits opportunity must be available to homosexual couples, and whether that is civil unions, marriage or something else is left up to the lawmakers:

"Although we cannot find that a fundamental right to same-sex marriage exists in this state, the unequal dispensation of rights and benefits to committed same-sex partners can no longer be tolerated under our state Constitution."

Dahlia Lithwick has a nice piece at Slate on why this isn't an example of the much-maligned "judicial activism".

Second, the state has decided they won't be bullied by the federal government into accepting sex-education money that comes with thick strings attached. The strings being that taking the money would require the state to ban teachers from discussing contraception and force them to tell teens that sex within marriage is the "expected standard of human sexual activity".

It's about time some states stood up to the federal government's blackmail and thinly-veiled attempts to push an agenda by withholding money (that the feds have no business handing out, anyway). NJ is the 4th state to do so in this case.

Hat tip for both stories from To The People.


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