Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Don't Give Us Marriage, Give Us Anti-Gay Judges

How's this for irony.

On the very day when the New Jersey State Senate defeated marriage equality legislation, the Judiciary Committee voted 12-1 to advance the nomination of a Municipal Court judge with an anti-gay record to be a judge in one of New Jersey’s workers’ compensation courts.

Doubly smacked, I'd say.

“It was certainly disappointing that the night that marriage equality failed in New Jersey that Judge Zaben got a promotion,” said Senator Bill Baroni, the lone Republican who voted for marriage equailty and lone Nay vote against Steven J. Zaben.

Zaben has presided over the Municipal Court that handles cases arising in the New Jersey portion of the Palisades Interstate Park. He has heard more than 100 cases of men arrested for public lewdness in the park, with most ending in guilty pleas, and Zaben has handed out harsh sentences that typically included a $1,000 fine, two years on probation, a two-year ban from the park, including use of the highway that runs through it, and, in some cases, court-supervised psychiatric counseling.


Many of the men arrested in the park said they had briefly exposed themselves only after being urged to do so by another man who turned out to be a plainclothes police officer; under New Jersey law, this conduct is legal. Now, I know there are laws regarding indecent exposure, but Zaben has a double-standard when it comes to straight men taking Little Johnny out for some air. or women airing their dirty bits in public.

In 2005, Zaben gave a far lighter sentence to a heterosexual couple who were arrested and charged with lewdness while having sex in a car in the park. The two were also charged with littering, drinking alcohol in the park, and a parking violation.
Separate but equal. If you're straight, you can screw to your heart's content and get a slap on the ass, or hand, but if you're gay, pay a huge fine and seek counseling.

Another 2005 case against a second heterosexual couple arrested for having sex in the park was dismissed after the conviction against the first couple was overturned on appeal. Also in 2005, in a case involving a gay man, one of the few that went to trial, Zaben concluded that because the defendant said he was gay that meant he was in the park “perhaps to have some type of encounter.”

The defendant testified he was in the park to have lunch and briefly exposed himself only after the arresting officer, Detective Thomas Rossi, repeatedly said, “Show me what you got… Take it out, show me what you got.”

See, Zaben thinks gay folks use parks to have sex, while straight folks who use the park to have sex, well, they don't count.Way to go, New jersey.

You threw us under the bus when it comes to marriage, then decided to advance the nomination of anti-gay judges.


Kyle said...

Sometimes when it rains, not only does it pour, but the storm continues to intensify. This is awful news Bob.

Mark in DE said...

Well, at least he's consistent with his anti-gay behaviors. Just another reason why FEDERAL equality legislation is needed.