Will NJ Same-Sex Couples Be Allowed To Marry Monday? [AUDIO]
New Jersey must allow same-sex couples to marry starting this Monday, unless the State Supreme Court rules otherwise before Oct. 21.
Last week, a judge denied the Christie Administration's motion to delay the start of same-sex marriage in New Jersey. The Administration quickly appealed to the High Court.
The Christie Administration is asking for the delay because it wants the Supreme Court to definitively rule whether or not the state's civil unions law meets constitutional muster. Oral arguments in the overall case are scheduled for Jan. 6 and 7.
Assemblyman Reed Gusciora was one of the prime sponsors of the bill to legalize same-sex marriage in the Garden State. The measure passed both houses of the legislature, but Gov. Chris Christie vetoed it. The issue has been in the courts ever since.
"I would expect the court to show the same maturity as 14 other states that the institution of marriage has not failed simply by allowing gay couples to marry," says Gusciora. "They pay taxes. They raise children. They own homes and businesses together so they should be able to enjoy the full benefits of marriage."
Gay couples will be hurt if the Supreme Court delays the lower court's ruling that same-sex marriage must be legal starting Monday, Garden State Equality (GSE) said in its court filing yesterday. GSE and a group of same-sex couples insist that if couples are not allowed to marry in New Jersey, they'll miss out on some federal benefits, like family medical leave, health insurance for partners of federal workers and death benefits.
"Those who enjoy the benefits of the constitution would agree that civil union couples should enjoy the same rights as married couples," says Gusciora. "That puts everybody on an equal playing field. Everyone could enjoy the federal benefits for marriage and I think it will be a better day for New Jersey."
In his first debate against his gubernatorial opponent, Sen. Barbara Buono last week, Christie made his position on the issue clear
"I believe that the institution of marriage for 2,000 years is between a man and a woman, and if we're going to change that core definition of marriage, I don't think that should be decided by 121 politicians in Trenton or seven judges on the Supreme Court," said Christie. "It should be decided by the 8.8 million people of New Jersey, and if they do decide to change the definition of marriage by referendum then I will support that law and enforce that part of the constitution with the same vigor that I've done for the last four years with every other part."