TRENTON, N.J. (CNS) — New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie planned to appeal a state judge’s Sept. 27 ruling that same-sex couples “must be allowed to marry” to receive “equal protection of the law” under the state constitution.
Superior Court Judge Mary C. Jacobson said her ruling would take effect Oct. 21.
New Jersey currently recognizes civil unions, and last year Christie vetoed a measure to legalize same-sex marriage, saying the issue should be put before voters this November.
“Gov. 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,” said his press secretary, Michael Drewniak. “Since the Legislature refused to allow the people to decide expeditiously, we will let the Supreme Court make this constitutional determination.”
Democrats in the statehouse Sept. 30 urged the New Jersey Supreme Court to “fast-track” any appeal Christie may file with the higher court.
The New Jersey Catholic Conference, the public policy arm of the state’s Catholic bishops, did not issue an immediate reaction to Jacobson’s ruling but a long-standing statement on its website urged citizens “to protect marriage as the union of one man and one woman.”
“Same-sex unions may represent a new and a different type of institution — but it is not marriage and should not be treated as marriage,” it said.
Catholic teaching upholds the sanctity of traditional marriage, between one man and one woman, and also teaches that any sexual activity outside of marriage is sinful.
“Citizens must care about the government’s treatment of marriage because civil authorities are charged with protecting children and the common good, and marriage is indispensable to both purposes,” said the conference’s statement. “Citizens have the right and the responsibility to hold civil authorities accountable for their stewardship of the institution of marriage.
“Citizens also have the responsibility to oppose laws and policies that unjustly target people as bigots or that subject people to charges of unlawful discrimination simply because they believe and teach that marriage is the union of man and a woman,” it added.
In her ruling Jacobson said same-sex couples in New Jersey are entitled to the same rights and benefits “as opposite-sex couples,” pointing out that since June 26, when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the federal Defense of Marriage Act to be unconstitutional, “several federal agencies have acted to extend marital benefits to same-sex couples.”
“However, the majority of those agencies have not extended eligibility for those benefits to civil union couples,” she wrote.
“As a result New Jersey same-sex couples in civil unions,” she continued, “are no longer entitled to all of the same rights and benefits as opposite-sex marriage couples,” who receive federal marital benefits “for no reason other than the label placed upon their relationships by the state.”
The New Jersey Catholic Conference statement reiterated Catholic teaching that “our homosexual brothers and sisters are beloved children of God” and “the fundamental human rights of homosexual persons must be defended. “Everyone must strive to eliminate any forms of injustice, oppression, or violence against homosexual persons” and any sign of “unjust discrimination” must be avoided.
“But it is not ‘unjust discrimination’ to treat different things differently,” it said. “Same-sex unions are not, in fact, the same thing as the union of one man and one woman in marriage.”
Join the CatholicPhilly.com family
CatholicPhilly.com works to strengthen the connections between people, families and communities every day by delivering the news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live.
By your donation in any amount, you and hundreds of other people become part of our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community and sustain CatholicPhilly.com as your trusted news source. Thank you in advance!
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103
PREVIOUS: St. Mary Magdalen Parish, Media, celebrating 50 years as vibrant family
NEXT: Stable, growing southern Chester County parish hits 25-year mark
Hope Gov. Christie doesn’t check with our PA Governor for talking points before he gives an interview regarding NJ’s same-sex marriage proposals.
Gov. Corbett compared same-sex marriage to “marriage between children” and “marriage between siblings.” No problem, Corbett said he was ““thinking with his legal head” when he made these statements.