Same Sex Nuptials Are Now Certain To Remain Legal in New Jersey
Given the State Supreme Court’s signal that the Christie administration would not prevail in its appeal of Superior Court Judge Mary Jacobson’s decision compelling the State to grant same sex couples the same marriage rights as heterosexual couples, Governor Chris Christie withdrew his appeal today, the first day that gay couples can wed in New Jersey under Jacobson’s order and the Supreme Court’s refusal to stay that order.
“Although the governor strongly disagrees with the court substituting its judgment for the constitutional process of the elected branches or a vote of the people, the court has now spoken clearly as to their view of the New Jersey constitution and, therefore, same-sex marriage is the law,” said Colin Reed, a spokesman for Christie. “The governor will do his constitutional duty and ensure his administration enforces the law as dictated by the New Jersey Supreme Court.”
State Senator Mike Doherty issued a statement condemning Christie for caving to the activist judiciary.
“As a member of the Legislature, I am disappointed that same-sex marriage is apparently now the law of New Jersey despite neither the enactment of legislation nor a vote of the people to amend our state constitution.
“For four years, Governor Christie has repeatedly stated that he supports traditional marriage and that the voters of New Jersey should decide this important issue. By dropping the state’s appeal, Governor Christie has acquiesced to the same judicial activism that he has long railed against. His action will ensure that the people of New Jersey, and its elected representatives in the legislature, will have no part in deciding this major, societal-changing issue. By refusing to challenge the court’s decision, he is also blocking the opportunity for third parties to present their case to the court via amicus briefs.”
Senator Barbara Buono, Christie’s opponent in the November 5 gubernatorial election, cheered the end of Christie’s “bigoted” appeals, according to PolitickerNJ.
“At long last, our gay brothers and sisters will now be afforded the same rights as all New Jerseyans,” Buono said in a statement.
“Despite Governor Christie’s efforts to block the rights of gays and lesbians at every turn, it took a determined effort by brave individuals and a unanimous decision by the New Jersey Supreme Court to force the Governor to drop his appeal.
“I am thrilled the court ended his ability to enforce his bigoted views that are contrary to the values of our state.
“I applaud all who have worked tirelessly for this day and promise to continue fighting to ensure that all are treated with respect and dignity.
“Congratulations to all the loving couples getting married as equality has finally come to New Jersey.
The State Legislature must now decide whether to override Christie’s veto of the Marriage Equality and Religious Exemptions Act, pass a new bill for Christie’s signature, or do nothing.
Doing nothing, or presenting Christie a bill without the protections afforded clergy and religious institutions who opposed to gay marriage in the Marriage Equality and Religious Exemptions act that was passed by the legislature in February, would inevitably lead to contentious litigation over the First Amendment Rights of religious objectors.