Last week, New Jersey’s state Assembly and state Senate passed a bill to legalize same-sex marriage. According to The New York Times, 42 state senators and 24 state assembly members felt like the people of New Jersey were behind them in making the right of marriage available to everyone.
The people may have been behind them, but Gov. Chris Christie apparently was not. According to many news sources, Christie promised to quickly veto the bill, and veto it he did on Feb. 17, only one day after it passed the Assembly.
His reasoning in returning the bill to the legislature was because the bill is something of such magnitude, it “needed to be left to the voters to decide.”
All I understand from that, Mr. Christie, is that you are quite a coward. Because, in terms of democracy, it clearly already has been.
I am not a political science major, but in my understanding of how things are supposed to work, when the senators, assemblymen and assemblywomen chosen by their constituents believe they are correctly representing the people of New Jersey in their deliberations of the government by passing a bill, the governor should honor that.
It is not then up to the governor to let his personal bigotry overtake him and cause him to hide behind false “concern” for the people of his state by adding more steps to the legislation process.
Either Gov. Christie is letting personal views get in the way of allowing his state to join the six other American states plus the District of Columbia who have legalized same-sex marriage, or he is scared of angering voters who could possibly support him in a ludicrous presidential bid he has alluded may be in his future. But his excuses aren’t fooling anyone.
“I think it’s terrible that Chris Christie would implement his power by skewing the very foundation of what the state of New Jersey is based upon: liberty and prosperity,” said Alexis Gerleit, a senior public relations major from New Jersey. “By expressing his oppressive, heartless, and ignorant views on gay marriage, he is trying to limit the freedom, power and love from the gay community.
“Nobody voted on Chris Christie’s ability to marry his wife, so why should he exercise his authority to limit others’ ability to do the same?” Gerleit asked.
In the past Christie has argued civil unions are not discriminatory. But we’ve all heard the “separate but equal” excuse before, haven’t we?
If the governor truly considered the values of the New Jersey gay and lesbian community equal to the heterosexual love he shares with his wife, he would have passed the bill.
He needs to understand that this is not just a conservative versus liberal issue. In New Jersey, the bill had the support it needed from Democrats and Republicans alike. It is plain and simple; a human rights issue, one I am ashamed still exists in this country. It is an situation that lets politicians who align with the majority use their elevated podiums of power and influence to tell others they are not allowed to do something they themselves are allowed to do. Gov. Christie should be ashamed he just passed up the chance to make it right.
My strong feelings of distaste for Christie’s actions could be motivated because they come after I proudly watched my governor, Andrew Cuomo, passionately fight for every last vote needed to pass the same-sex bill in New York this past summer. He then signed the bill into law later the same night. Gov. Christie just had a similar chance for a momentous show of character and to make a difference bigger than himself.