Hours after Newark mayor Cory Booker began officiating same-sex weddings at promptly 12:01 am Monday morning, Governor Chris Christie dropped the legal challenge to New Jersey’s marriage equality ruling.
Last month, Mercer County Superior Court Judge Mary Jacobson ruled that “[s]ame-sex couples must be allowed to marry in order to obtain equal protection of the law under the New Jersey Constitution,” beginning October 21. Jacobson accepted the position of lawyers from gay rights groups that the state was blocking citizens from receiving federal benefits after Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act was ruled unconstitutional back in June.
Christie had (rather half-assedly) appealed the law in lower court in hopes of upholding the state’s ban on gay marriage and/or in hopes of demonstrating his leadership skills to the Grand Old Party (six on one, half dozen the other). However, the State Supreme Court refused to delay Judge Jacobson’s order, forcing Christie to finally give up the gay ghost. The Governor released the following statement (via NBC News):
“Chief Justice 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,’” he said in a statement.
“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.”
While not a ringing endorsement, at least if one of Christie’s kids comes out as gay, dad will be able to walk them down the aisle. Or at least, not purposely trip them on their way to the altar.