California’s Breaking News on Prop 8 Stirs NJ Activism

Garden State Equality is using a decision in the California court system that came minutes ago as a jumping off point to ramp up activity and create waves to impact the NJ legislature, even as two dates loom which could change everything for gay couples in love in this state. The full Senate will consider NJ’s marriage equality bill Feb. 13. The full Assembly follows 3 days later. Both come after companion bills were passed out of both houses’ Judiciary committees over the last few days, following 10 hours of often-emotional testimony. Chris Christie, his sights set on his national GOP street cred at least as much as his responsibility to do the right thing in this pro-equality state, has signaled his intention to veto. Unknown if there are enough votes to overturn that veto, and some of those votes may still be in flux.  

Less than an hour ago, a 3-judge panel from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, serving California, ruled that state’s Proposition 8, banning marriage equality, is a violation of the United States Constitution. The case is widely seen as destined to be decided in the United States Supreme Court.

In a message sent wide to GSE’s NJ supporters, founder Steven Goldstein wrote this:

Jump with me …

From the Golden State to the Garden State, millions of fair-minded Americans are jubilant over today’s milestone on the road to equality for all. Of particular relevance to us in New Jersey, today’s judicial victory gives us fantastic momentum as both houses of our state legislature vote next week on the marriage equality bill. Today’s victory also renders Governor Christie’s call for a statewide referendum on marriage equality far less credible, as the Court of Appeals today ruled that a referendum like Proposition 8 is impermissible because it takes away the constitutional right of marriage equality.

GSE’s message concluded with a strongly-worded urge for members and supporters to take time from work and family if possible and show up in numbers at either the Feb. 13 or Feb. 16 dates – or both, then gather for a free organizing event following the Assembly hearing on Feb. 16.

Disclosure: Repping so many straight supporters in NJ, I serve on GSE’s board.

Comments (3)

  1. zi985

    Even though only 2 of the 3 circuit court judges in the 9th Circuit Court ruled yesterday that Propositon 8 in California was unconstitutional (Case No. 10-16696, Kristin Perry v. Edmund G. Brown, Jr.) all three judges agreed that former Chief Judge Vaughn Walker (of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California), who is openly gay, was not disqualified from ruling that Proposition 8 was unconstitutional in Perry v. Schwarzenegger in August 2010 simply because he is a gay man in a committed relationship.  In the circuit court opinion released yesterday it states on pp. 7-8: “We also affirm–for substantially the reasons set forth in the district court’s opinion–the denial of the motion by the official sponsors of Proposition 8 to vacate the judgment entered by former Chief Judge Walker, on the basis of his purported interest in being allowed to marry his same-sex partner.” This is very important because it directly applies to Christie’s Supreme Court nominee, Bruce Harris.  

    Harris recently said that he would recuse himself if the issue of same-sex marriage comes before the Supreme Court since he personally advocated for same-sex marriage in an e-mail he sent to state legislators in 2009.  Sending your opinions to your representatives on a specific issue should not be grounds for having to recuse yourself from deciding on the constitutionality of that issue.  Also, the fact that Harris is openly gay should not be a legitimate reason to recuse himself from deciding on same-sex marriage that even conservative 9th circuit court judge N. Randy Smith (a Bush Jr. appointee) agrees does not count as bias from a judge.  Senator Weinberg and other Senate Democrats should mention this point during his eventual confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee.  For a link to the full 128 page opinion by the 9th Circuit Court go here: http://www.ca9.uscourts.gov/op

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