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SOMA Reacts to Supreme Court's Gay Marriage Decisions

Local residents and activists cheer decisions against DOMA and Prop 8, but some lament that gay marriage is still against the law in New Jersey.

 

The Supreme Court ruled Wednesday by a 5-4 vote that The Defense of Marriage Act, the

The court also dismissed Proposition 8, which banned gay marriage in California.

Many South Orange and Maplewood residents were elated by the pair of decisions. "Today my family officially matters, not just to our family and friends but in the eyes of the law," posted Kristin O'Connor Saslovsky on Maplewood's Facebook page. 

"While this is a major day of victory and celebration for our LGBT neighbors, it is a significant day for us all," posted Maplewood resident Barbara Heisler. "Diminished civil rights for any of us threatens us all."

DOMA, signed by President Bill Clinton in 1996, prevents same-sex couples whose marriages are recognized by their home state from receiving the hundreds of benefits available to other married couples under federal law.

Others were guardedly optimistic, noting that despite the rulings, gay marriage is still not permitted in New Jersey. Gov. Chris Christie vetoed a gay marriage bill in 2012.

"This is a huge day for equality in our country and a very emotional day for my family, personally," said CJ Prince, Maplewood resident and executive director of North Jersey Pride. "My partner and I have been waiting 13 years to have the same federal rights and recognition as our heterosexual friends. This broad ruling puts New Jersey right in the spotlight now, as ground zero for marriage equality, because it highlights the differences between civil union and marriage."

Prince said North Jersey Pride would host a celebration on the steps of Maplewood Town Hall Wednesday from 6 pm - 8:30 pm. The public is invited to attend; children are welcome.

"We would be happier if it had been a unanimous decision," said South Orange resident and blogger Deborah Goldstein, who is also a contributing editor for LesbianFamily.com. "It still confounds me that there are educated, esteemed and experienced judges ruling over our nation who would allow political leanings and subjective definitions of morality to prevent them from ruling in favor of equality."

Steve Mershon, moderator of Rainbow Families of Maplewood and South Orange, said the rulings made him "both elated and saddened." He continued, "Now that the word 'marriage' comes with over 1100 federal benefits, rights, and obligations for same sex married couples, as it always has for heterosexual married couples, state law is more clearly than ever in non-compliance with the NJ Supreme Court ruling that our constitution requires equal benefits for same sex married couples."

Steven Eisenberg June 26, 2013 at 06:24 PM
Judges do not rule over our nation. Will "political leanings and subjective definitions of morality" bludgeon other opinions into silence?
Alex C June 26, 2013 at 08:19 PM
Get the government out of marriage. Civil unions with equal rights for all couples. Government lacks the power or right to define marriage. Only the two individuals involved can define the relationship that they have.
Bigamy Bill June 26, 2013 at 08:40 PM
Two is a purely arbitrary number. If reducing marriage to between a man and a woman is arbitrary and capricious, so is reducing it to two adults.
Alex C June 26, 2013 at 09:04 PM
You're right, but the Constitution does rule over our nation. We are a republic, not a democracy, so I don't care what CA voted on in Prop 8. It was against the 5th and 14th Amendment. In a republic when it comes to human rights, "majority rules," doesn't cut it. That goes for equal protection under the law, free speech, due process, gun rights, you name it, if it is protected in the Bill of Rights, mob rule can not take it away.
Christian Miller June 27, 2013 at 12:51 AM
Also get the government out of the civil union business. It is unfair to single people.
Alex C June 27, 2013 at 01:14 AM
Look man, if a man wants to have 5 different religious ceremonies that say he's married to 5 different women, I am fine with that. Not hurting me, plus, freedom of religion. But you can draw a line in terms of legal aspects of a union at two people. Honestly, why do you care? Let's say you believe homosexuality is wrong. Do you believe that the government has so much power that God is bothered by what some government says? No. People who want the government to define marriage itself give government too much power.
Sherlock Homes June 27, 2013 at 01:43 AM
Some people dont want to have their kids taught about two mommies and two daddies in the public schools we pay for. Hence why we send them to private school.
Gene Chollett June 27, 2013 at 10:38 AM
your poor children. hiding them from beauty and love in the world.

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