Gusciora: Veto override still needed in order to deal with religious exemption cases

TRENTON – One of the Legislature’s two openly gay lawmakers applauded the governor’s decision today to stop battling gay marriage in court.

“Look, gay marriage is legal in New Jersey and the sky hasn’t fallen,’’ said Assemblyman Reed Gusciora today. “What a shock.”

Gusciora saw today’s decision to drop pursuit of the case as a victory for the concept of equal protection under the law. He believes that when the state Supreme Court unanimously ruled on Friday against holding up gay marriage until it heard the case next year that it sent a clear signal to the administration about what its chances of success would be.

Even the justices seen as traditional conservative votes on the high court went against Christie on this issue, according to Gusciora. “He can’t appoint enough justices between now and then (next year) to win.’’

He applauded today’s decision as a victory for equal rights that also will save taxpayers from the needless expense of further battles in court.

But there is a need to pursue the override of the governor’s veto of the same-sex marriage bill, said Gusciora. His bill included an exemption for religious reasons, an issue that still remains unresolved.

Gusciora said that it would seem to him that even deeply conservative lawmakers would want to vote for an override now in order to protect those religious freedoms.

But for now, he said, the cause of gay marriage has advanced by a great deal in New Jersey. 

“How does this diminish anyone’s marriage,’’ Gusciora asked.

And he chastised the administration for battling so long only to surrender now. “When you’re insincere it catches up with you,’’ Gusciora said.

The administration had said all along it would prefer a referendum on the issue, but there was not unanimity among gay marriage supporters whether that avenue would produce their desired results.

Today’s decision by the state renders that a moot point.

Gusciora: Veto override still needed in order to deal with religious exemption cases