Same-Sex Marriage in the Garden State

By Stephfon Guidry

NJ

Jersey boys grab your tuxedos, wedding gowns, and book the chapel’s because marriage equality is coming soon! Judge Mary Jacobson of Mercer County Supreme Court ruled this past Friday that Same-Sex Marriage is set to happen LEGALLY in the Garden State of New Jersey on October 21st 2013. No longer will Jersey residents need to cross the bridge into Manhattan to tie the knot, they will be able to perform their own nuptials at home.

Judge Jacobson ruled in favor of Same-Sex Marriage after reviewing the United States v. Windsor case. She wrote a 53-page opinionated essay detailing her views on the matter of legalizing same-sex marriage.  “Same-sex couples must be allowed to marry in order to obtain equal protection of the law under the New Jersey Constitution,” said Judge Jacobson to press on Friday.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie publicly opposes same-sex marriage equality on the stance that he is following the will of the voters.  Spokesman Michael Drewniak for Governor Christie commented on the matter saying, “Governor Christie has always maintained that he would abide by the will of the voters on the issue of marriage equality and called for it to be on the ballot this Election Day.” While Governor Christie’s camp gears up to appeal and possibly freeze this ruling, U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) seeks to change Gov. Christie’s mind on the matter altogether. Menendez stated, “I am thrilled this court decision now brings us closer to fulfilling our nation’s promise of equality and I urge our governor and state attorney general to accept this ruling and finally give same-sex couples in New Jersey the equal rights they deserve.”

DOMA and more states than ever have developed their views on marriage and love. These political victories for civil rights represent the progressive culture of America. The battle for Same-Sex Marriage and civil liberties is still on going but for the moment it seems Jersey boys can count this a win as they are ready to hear wedding bells.

Life, Liberty and Equality for All?

By Stephfon Guidry

State Legislatures are battling for or against bills and lawmaking that will transform the future for the lives of many supporters of Equal Rights. Whether being taught in schools or giving protection under the law for the unions of marriage equal rights for all is a major political issue.

High school students stood in the streets of Nashville, Tennessee wearing purple shirts or purple tape over their mouths to let their voices and views heard on the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill. Conservative Rep. State Sen. Stacey Campfield introduced the bill that would silence any education professional in elementary or middle school from speaking, introducing, or teaching any material other heterosexual; and schools would only teach about ‘natural reproductive science’ e.g. no homosexuality in sex ed courses. Change.org posted a statement in lieu of this, “This bill would tie the hands of school counselors, school psychologists, teachers, principals and other school employees in protecting our children. If a child is experiencing issues relating to their sexual orientation or identity, they would be unable to discuss those issues with the adults who are supervising and teaching them.” Tennessee is a state with very little LGBTQ support other than having a Hate Crimes statute which does include sexual orientation and the state representatives are adamant about keeping their traditional views.

Meanwhile, the gay newlyweds in New York are gaining a surprise in the veto for their neighbors in New Jersey. Governor Chris Christie recently vetoed Same-Sex Marriage on Friday. The Advocate reports comedian and host, Bill Maher, strongly saying, “The one thing we had is we are from the sophisticated state of New Jersey from the Northeast. We’re not some yokel, car-on-the-lawn state.” Gov. Christie adopted the decision from his belief that ‘an issue of this magnitude and importance, which requires a constitutional amendment, should be left to the people of New Jersey to decide’.  While Senate President Steve Sweeney boldly went on record saying, “He had a chance to do the right thing, and failed miserably.” (Edge Boston.com)

Gay Rights whether on a marriage issues or in the classroom seem to be heating up the national headlines and debates. Soon Political Candidates will need to speak on their stances of equality and end this era of Silence.