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Same-sex marriage (SSM) in New Jersey via the state courts

2013-OCT:
Reactions to the Court's decision to legalize
SSM and to Governor Christie's decision
to stop resisting SSM: by conservatives.

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Earlier information about the case

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In this web site:
"SSM" refers to same-sex marriage;
LGBT refers to lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transsexuals

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2013-OCT: Religious conservatives' reactions to Governor Christie's capitulation:

  • Peter Sprigg, the Family Research Council's Senior Fellow for Policy Studies wrote:

    "Family Research Council is disappointed by Gov. Christie's decision to withdraw the state's appeal of a lower court order redefining marriage. The fact that the Supreme Court refused to stay the lower court's order is no reason not to litigate this important issue to a final conclusion on the merits.

    We are glad that Gov. Christie vetoed the legislature's attempt to redefine marriage, and that he was initially willing to defend the state's marriage law in court. However, conservatives are looking for leaders who will sustain their commitment to unchanging principles. Combined with his signing of a radical bill to outlaw even voluntary sexual orientation change efforts with minors, today's action has given conservatives serious pause about Gov. Christie's reliability." 1

  • Len Deo, the founder and president of the New Jersey Family Policy Council -- a conservative group opposed to same-sex marriage -- wrote:

    "The force of the New Jersey Supreme Court’s lust for power has never been more evident than it is today. An executive like Governor Christie is not easily outmaneuvered, nor are the people of the United States and the State of New Jersey easily stripped of their say in important political and cultural matters. But the New Jersey Supreme Court has done both, stacking the deck against the people of New Jersey and intentionally making it impossible for Governor Christie’s defense of natural marriage even to get a fair hearing. We are disappointed that Governor Christie dropped the appeal, surrendering the moral authority of the executive branch. But we especially condemn the New Jersey Supreme Court’s efforts to reshape this state after their own ideology, leaving the natural family without an advocate and religious liberty twisting in the wind.

    The nature of marriage transcends the decrees of man. A judge can order the law to include squares in the definition of circles, but no judge can change the mathematical realities that geometry is founded on. Likewise, the court can invent new configurations that it calls ‘marriages,’ but it can never change the way a child is conceived or conjure social stability out of a biological falsehood and conjugal mismatch.

    Ahead of us is a constitutional crisis. The court has allowed a single judge to decide for the entire state what marriage is, treading on both the governor and the legislature in doing so. It has included no provision for religious exemptions, meaning we will soon see people threatened with intolerable choices between their consciences and their authorization to minister to the needy or conduct business with the public, as has happened elsewhere in this nation from Vermont to New Mexico.

    We are here for religious liberty, for marriage, and for the people. And we are not going away." 2

  • Greg Quinlan, President of Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays & Gays [PFOX] 3 commented:

    "It would still make a statement to say that marriage is one man and one woman. And for this governor particularly, who has stayed steadfast with that definition and has defended the definition of marriage even when he was running for governor, it would still have been a good thing for him to have stayed firm regardless of what the outcome looked like it was going to be or may have been.

    We must stand firm in following and being obedient to the gospel of Jesus Christ, to the Word of God. So what choice do we have but to show our love to Jesus Christ and defend his definition of marriage, which is what makes a healthy society."

    OneNewsNow commented:

    "Quinlan believes God will not honor what has happened in New Jersey – and argues that Christians ... [should not] give up when it comes to standing on moral principles." 4

  • Heather Haddon, writing for the Wall Street Journal, reported that:

    Al Cardenas, chairman of the national American Conservative Union, said he thought conservatives would understand Mr. Christie's reasoning to drop the appeal if it couldn't withstand a court challenge. "If it looks like the chances of success are minimal, they are doing the right thing," Mr. Cardenas said. "Hopefully the more-thoughtful conservatives will look at it and probe at it before they opine." 5

  • Brian Brown is president of the National Organization for Marriage (NOM). This is the main national organization trying to prevent all same-sex couples from being able to marry anywhere in the U.S. He issued a press release on OCT-21:

    "An activist judiciary has once again imposed its views and ignored the rights of voters. Regrettably, Governor Christie's decision to surrender on marriage reveals him to be a man who lacks the courage of his supposed convictions."

    A NOM press release was issued on the same day in which Brown stated:

    "There's no question that the courts of New Jersey are responsible for the imposition of same-sex marriage in that state, and we sharply criticize them for redefining our most important social institution with no regard to the wishes of voters or even elected officials. The refusal of the New Jersey Supreme Court to order a stay of the same-sex 'marriage' ruling was wrong, and the latest example of an activist judiciary running amok, substituting their views for those of the people of the state. Still, we are extremely disappointed in Governor Chris Christie for withdrawing the state's appeal of the underlying decision, effectively throwing in the towel on marriage. The mark of a leader is to walk a principled walk no matter the difficulty of the path. Chris Christie has failed the test, abandoning both voters and the core institution of society - marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

    It's a sad day for the voters of New Jersey," said Brown. "An activist judiciary has once again imposed its views and ignored the rights of voters. We will continue to fight for the right of New Jersey voters to determine the definition of marriage. Regrettably, Governor Christie's decision to surrender on marriage reveals him to be a man who lacks the courage of his supposed convictions. As far as we are concerned, it's a disqualifying failure. His surrender on marriage effectively surrenders any chance he might have had to secure the GOP nomination for president." 6

A common theme among NOM and other conservative religious and social information sources is that any court that decide in favor of marriage equality are "activist courts" whose judges simply base their rulings on their own personal whims. Another theme is that the courts "legislate from the bench." That is, they act as if they are a Legislature and create laws, thus usurping the role of the Legislature.

We posted a comment to the NOM article that discusses the "activist court" and "legislating from the bench" It said:

"NOM and other social and religious conservative information sources that discuss marriage equality all seem to promote the same belief system: that courts who decide in favor of marriage equality are "activist courts" whose judges simply base their rulings on their own personal beliefs. Another common theme is that the courts "legislate from the bench." That is, they act as if they are a Legislature and create laws, thus usurping the role of the Legislature.

I don't recall any conservative group explain what is really going on: that state courts compare existing marriage laws with the state constitution, conclude that the laws discriminate and are thus unconstitutional, and issue a ruling accordingly. In this case, the judges on the New Jersey Supreme Court refused to stop same-sex marriages, and they did it unanimously. 6

The NOM web site responded to our posting with the following message:

"Posted October 24, 2013 at 7:15 am

Your comment is awaiting moderation."

We do not expect it to survive NOM's moderation process.

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This topic continues in the next essay

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. Peter Sprigg, "Gov. Chris Christie's Marriage Decision Troubles Conservatives," Family Research Council, 2013-OCT-21, at: http://www.frc.org/
  2. Christie administration drops SSM appeal!," New Jersey Family Policy Council, 2013-OCT-21, at: http://www.njfpc.org/
  3. "Greg Quinian Bio," Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays, undated, at: http://www.pfox.org/
  4. Charlie Butts, " 'Judicial oligarchy’ ushers in NJ same-sex ‘marriages’," One News Now, 2013-OCT-21, at: http://www.onenewsnow.com/
  5. Heather Haddon, "New Jersey Governor Christie Withdraws Appeal on Same-Sex Marriage," Wall Street Journal, 2013-OCT-21, at: http://online.wsj.com/
  6. "National Organization for Marriage Sharply Criticizes Activist Judiciary For Redefining Marriage In New Jersey and Christie For Abandoning Voters," National Orgaization for Marriage, 2013-OCT-21, at: http://www.nomblog.com/

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Site navigation: Home > Homosexuality > Same-sex marriage > SSM Menu > New Jersey > here

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Copyright © 2013 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally posted: 2013-OCT-21
Latest update: 2013-OCT-24
Author: B.A. Robinson

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