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Stop delaying same-sex marriage

Christie should withdraw appeal to bring it to referendum

It’s been a long time coming. Superior Court Judge Mary Jacobson affirmed something that we’ve known all along — same-sex couples deserve the same rights straight couples receive under state and federal laws — a message that, surprisingly, is the first of its kind in the state.

In June, the Supreme Court of the United States struck down the Defense of Marriage Act, which prevents same-sex married couples from being recognized under federal law, as unconstitutional. And rightfully so. However, the DOMA decision only affects same-sex marriages in the states that legalize them.

So, we are proud New Jersey is adding itself to the list of the 13 other states that do. What we’re not so proud of is our governor’s reaction to the decision. He wants to appeal it in the State Supreme Court.

We knew it was too good to be true.

We think it’s completely unnecessary that Gov. Chris Christie is insisting on making the question of same-sex marriage legalization a referendum on the ballot. Since he’s so staunchly against it, he wants to have New Jerseyans vote on the issue instead — which might really delay Jacobson’s legalization start date of Oct. 21. We could be having legal same-sex marriages in New Jersey in a matter of weeks, but now we might have to sit tight to hear what the State Supreme Court feels about Christie’s request first. There’s no way he could’ve made it so easy, after all.

The thing is, the people have already spoken. The New Jersey legislature, made up of our respective elected representatives, already passed a bill legalization same-sex marriage back in February 2012. But — major shocker — Christie vetoed it the next day. Christie is singlehandedly prolonging and presenting unnecessary hurdles in the way of a decision that a vast majority of New Jerseyans is trying to make happen. Disguising personal opinions and political motives as wanting to place the decision in the people’s hands is underhanded and detrimental to their interests.

Plus, stalling and delaying things isn’t going to change the imminence of same-sex marriage legalization anyway. According to a series of polls conducted by Rutgers-Eagleton, the percentage of residents in favor of it has been steadily increasing over the past 10 years. As recently as June 2013, Eagleton polls showed that about 59 percent of residents are in favor of same-sex marriage in New Jersey. There’s no arguing the numbers.

What matters is same-sex married couples are being denied the basic rights they are entitled to under our national and state constitutions. They are being barred from thousands of federal and state programs their heterosexual counterparts are enjoying simply because they have a different sexual orientation. They are being treated differently under the same law, and therefore being denied their equal protection.

That’s how Jacobson sees it, and that’s how we see it too. The decision has been made time and time again. There’s no sense in mocking our political system and denying their rights any further.

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