TRENTON – One of the Legislature’s two openly gay members cheered today’s court decision regarding gay marriage in New Jersey.
“Once DOMA (the Defense of Marriage Act) was declared dead it clearly drew the line that if you were married you could enjoy federal benefits and if you were civil unionized you could not,” said Assemblyman Reed Gusciora, (D-15), Trenton.
A Mercer County judge today declared that same-sex couples in New Jersey should be able to marry, a decision that the administration could decide to appeal.
“I’ll be disappointed if the administration chooses to appeal,’’ Gusciora said of Gov. Chris Christie.
“Politically he has to resolve the differences within his own party,’’ Gusciora said. “The Tea Baggers will want him to appeal, and the more moderate Rockefeller Republicans … will say live and let live.”
Still, Gusciora said he hopes the Legislature continues to pursue a possible override of the governor’s veto of a gay marriage bill because appeals of today’s ruling could keep the matter tied up in court for another two years.
“A veto override would settle the court case,’’ he said.
DOMA was upended earlier this year by the U.S. Supreme Court, which led to a case being filed in New Jersey over the state’s same-sex civil union laws.
Assemblyman Tim Eustace, (D-38), Paramus, the Legislature’s other openly gay member, said he was “cautiously optimistic.”
“I have maintained that civil unions are discriminatory, separate, but equal alternatives that have no place in our society. I commend the plaintiffs who kept on the good fight for equality, and the court which granted us this victory. Whether we’ve won the battle or the war remains to be seen,” he said in a release.
“The governor has been adamant in his opposition, so an appeal could be on its way, but I am hopeful that good will prevail over ideology, the ruling will stand and same-sex couples in New Jersey will finally have the right to marry and enjoy all the benefits that come with marriage.”