Assemblyman To Christie: Drop The Gay Marriage Lawsuit [POLL/AUDIO]
Triumphant gay couples are marrying throughout New Jersey today.
Last week, the State Supreme Court denied the Christie Administration's motion to delay the start of gay marriage. One longtime proponent of legalizing same-sex marriage thinks the wording of the ruling should be enough to convince the Administration to drop its lawsuit seeking to prevent gay marriage from becoming permanently legal.
"I think the Supreme Court gave him (Gov. Chris Christie) a big hint that equal protection is just that," says Assemblyman Reed Gusciora. "The ruling proves the state's suit against gay couples being allowed to be married is just mean-spirited and not in the spirit of the constitution."
The High Court is scheduled to hear arguments in the Administration's lawsuit on Jan. 6 and 7.
"The state has advanced a number of arguments, but none of them overcome this reality: Same-sex couples who cannot marry are not treated equally under the law today," the High Court ruled last week in an opinion written by Chief Justice Stuart Rabner. "The harm to them is real, not abstract or speculative."
According to Gusciora, it not just the way in which the decision was phrased, but how each justice ruled that should also be considered by the Administration.
"The Administration should take a hint from the court," feels Gusciora. "It was a 7-0 decision. The judges voted 7-0 to affirm that gays and lesbians have just as much right to full marriage benefits as straight couples."
The Governor doesn't agree with the ruling, but he will comply with it.
"The Supreme Court has made its determination," wrote Christie's press secretary Michael Drewniak in an emailed statement. "While the Governor firmly believes that this determination should be made by all the people of the State of New Jersey, he has instructed the Department of Health to cooperate with all municipalities in effectuating the order of the Superior Court under the applicable law."
Some of Gusciora's colleagues agree that the Administration's suit should be dropped.
"Friday's ruling gives justice to the many who have waited decades to be wed and be treated equally as other married couples under the law," says Assembvlyman Ruben Ramos. "No more waiting. No more appeals."
The top Democrat in the Assembly and the leader of that House would also like to see marriage equality become permanently legal.
"It's a shame it took this long to get to this point and that it took a court fight for same-sex couples to gain equal rights,' says Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver. "New Jersey could have had marriage equality already if it wasn't for Gov. Christie, who has done everything he could to prevent this from happening, including wasting money and time continuing this court battle."