The Magazine

Gay Marriage Lite

New Jersey's high court doesn't quite go all the way.

Nov 6, 2006, Vol. 12, No. 08 • By DAVID M. WAGNER
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Speculation will swirl as to what drove this strange mixture of activism and restraint. It could be a set-up: If the legislature responds by enacting Vermont-style civil unions that are not called "marriage," the court can, in inevitable litigation to follow, hold that the legislature had not shown a "substantial" reason for a difference of nomenclature. The result would be a Massachusetts-style same-sex marriage mandate, only without an election-year backlash. Or it could be they blinked: Public resistance to same-sex marriage is being felt in the courts, and the New Jersey Supreme Court is, by its own admission--nay, proclamation--sensitive to changes in "times and attitudes."

David M. Wagner teaches constitutional law at Regent University, and blogs at