Thursday, October 26, 2006

New Jersey's Not-Quite-Equal Ruling

So New Jersey's high court has ruled that gays cannot be deprived of the "rights of marriage." Of course, they've also said that a "separate but equal" regime is perfectly OK, with government doing the legal equivalent of setting up a "gays only" water fountain and "straights only" water fountain in every area where the state regulates life today.

Everyone's a winner, and everyone's a loser, as a result.

Anti-gay forces, predictably, are outraged by the notion that gays have any rights at all. But they can console themselves in the likely fact that the NJ state legislature will not simply "open up" marriage, but will instead settle for a "civil unions" type of sorta-marriage.

Pro-gay people hoping for full marriage equality are disappointed that a "liberal" Democratic court would seek to create a remedy reminiscent of the segregation policies of Alabama in the 1960s. But they can console themselves in the knowledge that it's at least an acknowledgement of injustice and a partial remedy to a pernicious problem.

Last, but not least, Libertarians are upbeat that gays are recognized, but also mindful of the massive new bureaucracy and growth in government creating an entirely separate regime for "sorta-marriages" will create. But we can console ourselves in the knowledge that getting government out of the "moral legislation" and the marriage businesses altogether is the best solution to the gay marriage debate -- and that in a generation's time, it will probably be our approach which carries the day in American politics.