Beth Asaro and Joanne Schailey celebrate, first same-sex couple married in NJ
Gov. Chris Christie dropped his legal challenge to same-sex marriages on Monday, removing the possibility that the vows of couples who began getting married hours earlier could be undone by a court.
New Jersey became the 14th state to allow gay marriages Monday, three days after the state Supreme Court unanimously rejected Christie’s request to delay the start of the nuptials…
…The announcement came from a Republican governor who is a possible 2016 presidential candidate and has for years opposed gay marriage while supporting the state’s previous civil union law.
It was met with jubilation from gay rights advocates including Steven Goldstein, the founder and former leader of Garden State Equality, who asked “How much happiness can I stand..?”
The decision caught some by surprise, but not Larry Lustberg, one of the lawyers on the case on behalf of gay couples and Garden State Equality. “The handwriting was on the wall as clearly as it could possibly be. The governor had always said he would fight this all the way up to the Supreme Court, but he didn’t say he was going to fight it in the Supreme Court twice,” he said in a conference call. “This was inevitable.”
The letter detailing Christie’s decision, from the Acting New Jersey Attorney General John Hoffman to the Supreme Court, was just two sentences and didn’t get into detail…
Last year, the state Legislature passed a law to allow gay marriage and deal with those issues, but Christie vetoed it.
And at 12:01 a.m., couples in a handful of communities wed.
In Newark, Mayor Cory Booker, in one of his last acts before joining the U.S. Senate in coming weeks, led a ceremony for seven gay couples and two heterosexual couples.
“Tonight we have crossed a barrier, and now, while you all have fallen into love, I want to say that the truth is, that the state of New Jersey has risen to love,” he said. “This state now is resonant now with the core values of our county, with the idea that there is no second class citizenship in America, that we’re all equal under the law.”
Like pretty much every case involving civil rights in America – long overdue.
Christie deserves little credit for recognizing the foolishness of continuing the suppression of equal opportunity for folks in the LGBT community. He recognizes the need to behave like a moderate if he ever intends to attract independent votes in a national campaign – like for president. He recognizes that living in one of the literate, educated, modern enclaves within the United States – instead of neo-Confederate backwardness – he needed to act like someone with a reasonable understanding of constitutional law.
Even though he stands damned near alone among potential candidates on the national stage of Republican office-holders.