TRENTON – An emotional Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver talked of making history by passing the same-sex marriage law.
“I am a student of history, and I also relish being an American, and something that history has taught me as an American is that democracy as an ability for all people to equally exist is a right that is guaranteed to us in our Constitution,’’ she said.
“We can make a giant leap forward today in the fight against one of the last legalized barriers to equal rights,’’ she said.
Her religious upbringing, she said, taught her that she has no right to judge anyone else.
Oliver, who become choked up with emotion during her speech, said that there has been difficulty in America when it comes to balancing issues of equal protection under the law. She reminded the chamber there was a time when couples of different races could not marry.
“Civil union couples face difficulty getting employers and hospitals to accept’’ their status, she said, criticizing the state’s civil union law.
“I have no business as a legislator passing judgment on what anybody’s choice is.”
She said she will stand up and embrace the cause of equal rights for all state residents.