New Jersey Governor Chris Christie dropped his appeal to a lower court allowing same-sex marriage in the Garden State. IMAGE: Wikimedia Commons
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie dropped his appeal to the New Jersey Supreme Court on same-sex marriage, and same-sex couples began getting married today. Christie saw the writing on the wall after the New Jersey Supreme Court allowed same-sex marriages to proceed while they considered Christie’s appeal, a clear sign that they would ultimately side with the lower court’s ruling that same-sex marriage should be legal in New Jersey. This prompted Christie to instruct his Attorney General to drop the appeal. The Christie Administration released a statement:
“Chief Justice Stuart Rabner left no ambiguity about the unanimous court's view on the ultimate decision in this matter when he wrote, ‘same-sex couples who cannot marry are not treated equally under the law today.'
“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. The Governor will do his constitutional duty and ensure his Administration enforces the law as dictated by the New Jersey Supreme Court.”
That first sentence of the second paragraph is the key for Christie. Christie vetoed a same-sex marriage bill last year, saying that he would prefer that same-sex marriage be put to a popular vote. It sounds good—let the people decide—but same-sex marriage is actually one of the best arguments for bringing an issue to the courts instead of the people. The courts are there to enforce rights. If same-sex marriage is an issue of rights, that is a matter that should go before the courts. History has shown that voters are quite stingy with granting rights to disenfranchised groups.
Newark Mayor and New Jersey Senator-elect Cory Booker officiated 5 same-sex marriages and 2 heterosexual marriages just after midnight. Booker had refused to officiate any marriages until same-sex marriage was legal in New Jersey.
"It is officially past midnight," Booker said. "Marriage is equal in New Jersey."
New Jersey becomes the 14th state to legalize same-sex marriage. With public opinion now solidly in favor of same-sex marriage, the 15th won’t be far behind.