If a California web designer gets his way - Til death do us part? – will mean just that. John Marcotte, who runs the comedy website Badmouth.net, is attempting to put a measure on next year’s ballot that will ban divorce in California. The effort is meant to be satirical. The thought process behind the idea is that if California can pass Proposition 8, which bans same-sex marriage, allegedly to protect the sanctity of marriage, than what prevents California from going one step further and banning divorce?
So far Marcotte has not collected the 694,354 signatures necessary to put the proposition on the ballot, but with a grass-roots movement and use of the Internet, he may achieve his goal – although it would be highly unlikely to pass. And even if it did pass, it would certainly be found unconstitutional if challenged in court. But the proposition does raise an interesting question – does the State have an interest in protecting the sanctity of marriage?
Often opponents of same-sex marriage cite the sanctity of marriage as the reason same-sex couples should not be allowed to marry. On December 14, 2006, the New Jersey Legislature passed the Civil Union Act, providing for civil unions, which was signed into law by Governor Jon Corzine on December 21, 2006 and came into effect on February 19, 2007. Same-sex couples who enter into a civil union are provided almost all of the rights granted to married couples under New Jersey state law. However, under the provisions of the federal Defense of Marriage Act or DOMA, same-sex couples in marriages, civil unions, or domestic partnerships do not have any right or entitlement to the 1,138 rights that a married couple has under federal law.
In New Jersey, Governor Jon Corzine has stated that he would sign a bill legalizing same-sex marriage if it comes to his desk before he leaves office in January. While Governor-elect, Christopher Christie said he would support a New Jersey constitutional amendment, similar to Proposition 8, that would ban same-sex civil unions.
In a study released on November 25, 2009 by Quinnipiac University, New Jersey voters now oppose a law that would allow same-sex couples to marry by a slim margin of 49 – 46%. This reverses the 49 - 43% support for same-sex marriage in an April 23, 2009 survey by the independent Quinnipiac University. The poll taken by the university shows some interesting trends in who are the strongest supporters of same-sex marriage: Women support same-sex marriage 53 – 41%, while men oppose it 57 – 38%; Democrats support same-sex marriage 60 – 34%; Independents support same-sex marriage 49 – 45%; Republicans are against same-sex marriage 69- 25%; White voters split 49 - 47 %, while African -American voters oppose the measure 61 - 28 %.
The legalization of same-sex marriages is certainly a heated debate with proponents on both sides. But does California’s satirical proposition to ban divorce change your opinion? Does the State have the right to regulate who gets married – or gets divorced? If the State can tell you who you can and can’t marry – why shouldn’t they be able to tell who you can and can’t divorce? And will New Jersey’s next governor enact New Jersey’s own Proposition 8? Its obvious that from the West Coast all the way to here in New Jersey, the same-sex marriage debate will continue………….