Now that the New Jersey Supreme Court has opened the door for gay marriage, I am most interested to see if Democrats will walk through it. It is now up to the New Jersey State Legislature to either 1) open marriage to same-sex couples or 2) create a whole separate institution all together that has the same rights as marriage. The State Legislature is completely controlled by the Democrats, 22-18 in the State Senate and 49-31 in the State Assembly, and the upcoming election is unlikely to offer gains for the GOP; they also control the governor's seat.
I'm reminded of the 2004 Democrat National Platform, which included this line:
"We support full inclusion of gay and lesbian families in the life of our nation and seek equal responsibilities, benefits, and protections for these families. In our country, marriage has been defined at the state level for 200 years, and we believe it should continue to be defined there."
Now, the Democrats in New Jersey have the opportunity to define marriage at the state level. It is exactly what they asked for in their platform from two years ago, and it's what they've got.
Democrats have said for six years that the Republicans are playing politics with gay rights. Now, the Dems have a strong opportunity to distance themselves from that and do what they claim to want to do: Include same-sex couples equally in marriage. As the Supreme Court found in Brown v. Board of Education in 1954, separate cannot be equal. I'm not holding my breath for the Democrats to put politics aside and do the right thing. Instead of opening marriage to gay couples, my money (and the money of many Democrats and gay leaders I know) is on them creating an entirely separate institution, which would fly in the face of everything they've said they stand for.
Hopefully, they'll surprise me.