Looking Out: New Jersey judge hears arguments over marriage equality
By Michael Gold
The Baltimore Sun
4:04 PM EDT, August 15, 2013
A New Jersey judge heard arguments Thursday over whether the state should be required to legalize same-sex marriage in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court's June decision on the Defense of Marriage Act.
Since December 2006, New Jersey has allowed same-sex couples to enter in civil unions. The Garden State's Legislature passed legislation that granted civil unions nearly all the rights of marriage without actually using the word "marriage." At the time, DOMA prevented same-sex couples from receiving federal marriage benefits.
But after the Supreme Court ruled DOMA unconstitutional, New Jersey's same-sex couples in civil unions aren't eligible for the federal marriage benefits that can be granted to couples in 13 states and the District of Columbia. Six couples and New Jersey LGBT group Garden State Equality are arguing that the discrepancy should force New Jersey to legalize same-sex marriage.
The state's argument Thursday was that the federal government should be the ones to recognize New Jersey civil unions as equivalent to marriage, the Associated Press reported.
Because when it comes to marriage, there's nothing like passing the buck, right? (Somewhere, a heterosexual male is nodding.)
Pointing fingers to other news:
Power gay Andy Cohen -- who hosts Bravo's "Watch What Happens Live" in addition to, you know, essentially running the network -- declined to host the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Russia due to the country's "discriminatory policies." Cohen told E! News that "he didn't feel right as a gay man stepping foot into Russia." Which makes it official: Mother Russia has scared the bajeezus out of the gay mafia.
In the midst of the sentencing portion of WikiLeaker Bradley Manning's trial, a psychiatrist testifying for the defense spoke about how Manning was struggling with his gender identity, according to BuzzFeed. According to Capt. Michael Worsley, Manning had revealed that he was beginning to identify as a woman rather than a man. Chat logs obtained by BuzzFeed also show that Manning worried about being identified "as boy" in press related to WikiLeaks.
California governor Jerry Brown signed a bill this week requiring the state's public schools to give transgender students access to sex-segregated restrooms, locker rooms and activities based on their gender identities rather than official campus records. Put your worries about "Just One of the Guys"-style shenanigans aside and remember, this is a huge step forward for transgender youth.