The Garden State must allow same-sex marriages, a state judge ruled last week in Mercer County. The state ruling upholds a Supreme Court ruling in June that allows same-sex marriages nationally and effectively dismisses Gov. Chris Christie’s unwavering stance of rejecting gay marriages despite the state’s current legislation that recognizes civil unions.
On Friday, Trenton Superior Court Judge Mary Jacobson wrote that the “ineligibility of same-sex couples for federal benefits is currently harming same sex-couples in New Jersey in a wide range of contexts.” She added that, in part, “Same-sex couples must be allowed to marry in order to obtain equal protection under the law in New Jersey.”
Jacobson noted that disallowing same-sex couples from marrying clearly violates the Supreme Court ruling earlier this year that clearly extends all of the conventional privileges of heterosexual marriages to same-sex couples.
In a usual show of force, toughness and steadfastness, the Christie administration quickly filed an appeal to the ruling, and the corpulent governor issued a statement that espoused his long-held objection to same-sex marriages. “As long as I am governor, I will not sign a bill that legalizes same-sex marriages in the state of New Jersey. I’ve always believed that marriage should be between a man and a woman,” Christie said.
Currently, the state allows for civil unions, which allows for certain legal rights to be granted to same-sex couples that parallel those given to heterosexual married couples, without specifically using the word “marriage” to describe the union.
A recent statewide poll showed that a majority of New Jerseyans support same-sex marriages. However, the governor does have some support from other residents regarding his stance on gay marriage. One blogger posted, “For once, something the governor and I agree on, but this doesn’t mean that I like him any better.”
Some observers said the decision to appeal the court’s ruling may, at least temporarily, delay the date same-sex couples may begin to marry across the state—which the court mandated as Oct. 21. However, it appears unlikely that a dismissal of the recent court ruling will occur. Hundreds of gay couples across New Jersey lauded the decision and have made plans to wed. “I think it’s a great time for our community and our state,” said Chet K., a gay man from Hopewell, N.J. “My partner and I have been together for more than 30 years, and our commitment to each other is finally being recognized in our own state.”