On July 24th, 2011, 746 same-sex couples were legally married in New York City. According to Freedom to Marry— an organization fighting for marriage equality across the United States— yesterday went down in history as the day the highest number of couples were married in a 24 hour period in New York City.
Meanwhile, across the Hudson River in Hoboken, New Jersey, Garden State Equality— New Jersey’s local answer to the Marriage Equality debate—held yet another rally in support of bringing a clearly defined pro-same-sex marriage law to the Garden State. The sentiment of the rally was clear: We’re happy for New York and all, but New Jersey is hungry for equality within its own state lines.
There were a number of notable politicians at the rally, which took place at the picturesque Pier A Park. US Senator Frank Lautenberg was a guest speaker at the event, and the presence of Congressman Frank Pallone, Senator Raymond Lesniak and Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer, was clear. However grateful the gay community may be to our elected officials who support us, we can not overlook the absence of support from perhaps the most important politician in the fight to win New Jersey, Governor Chris Christie. Gov. Christie has explicitly stated to numerous publications (see Bloomberg.com, New York Post) that he “wouldn’t sign a bill like the one that was in New York.”
The thing is…Garden State Equality is fully aware that the odds are against getting a bill legalizing same-sex marriage in the state of New Jersey signed into law while the Republican Christie is in office, so the organization has taken a genius judiciary next step; bringing a lawsuit—which argues that the New Jersey Civil Union Law violates both the New Jersey Constitution and the Fourteenth Amendment of the federal Constitution—against the State (as represented by Paula Dow, the Attorney General of New Jersey, and other state officials). The Lawsuit was filed by Lambda Legal on June 29th, 2011 in Mercer County Superior Court on behalf of Garden State Equality and seven plaintiff couples, along with their children. The full lawsuit (click here to view the 40-page PDF) is brilliantly worded and admittedly heartwrenching, from the perspective of someone who has studied law at a minor level (thanks for that, Montclair State).
In closing, there’s not much we can do but salute GSE’s efforts as intelligent and persistent, cross our fingers that our Judges are more concerned with our best interest as a state than the man chosen to represent our best interest as a state, and if you’re feeling particularly generous (like I know I am), pop on over to http://www.gardenstateequality.org/donate.html and donate some of your hard-earned cash to an organization that actually gives a damn.