Calif. same-sex marriage case resonates in N.J.

TRENTON – Gov. Chris Christie may want to let the voters decide whether same-sex marriage should be allowed in New

TRENTON – Gov. Chris Christie may want to let the voters decide whether same-sex marriage should be allowed in New Jersey. But if another state’s experience is any indication, the voting public’s decision may not always hold up when challenged by the courts.

On Tuesday, three judges serving on the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in a 2-1 vote that a lower court judge correctly interpreted the federal Constitution in 2010 when he declared the ban on same-sex marriage is a violation of the civil rights of gays and lesbians.

The situation regarding whether the public should vote on the sensitive subject caused a brouhaha some weeks ago, with Christie later apologizing for his remarks when he compared the idea of holding a public vote with the Civil Rights movement.

But the Democrats want the same-sex marriage issue to be decided legislatively, and they jumped on the development of the California case as proof that referendums on same-sex marriage are not the way to decide the issue.

“Today’s court ruling simply reaffirmed what we already knew: Marriage equality is right and its time is now.  It also shows what can happen when the rights of the minority are left to the whim of politics, sound bites and millions of dollars in campaign ads,” Senate President Steve Sweeney, (D-3), West Deptford, said. “You don’t put people’s rights on the ballot, period.”

Both the Senate and the Assembly will take up the issue next week.

Sweeney said the issue should be taken on directly.

“You either support marriage equality or you don’t.  There is no third option.”

Calif. same-sex marriage case resonates in N.J.