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Steven Goldstein

Views & Voices

Garden State Equality on Christie’s veto of NJ marriage equality bill

Friday, February 17, 2012

With the Governor’s just having vetoed the marriage equality bill, I beg your indulgence if this statement is a bit more personal than usual.

Many in Trenton know that Governor Christie and I have a good relationship. This may come as a surprise, and even disappointment, to some of Garden State Equality’s members, but I like the Governor personally even though I agree with him on almost nothing.

I came of political age where leaders who disagree passionately on the issues, who even fight with one another like cats and dogs in the political arena, were able put the fights aside and see one another as people.

I grew up at a time when the legendary Democratic Speaker of the U.S. House, Tip O’Neill – a hero of mine – and President Reagan did exactly that. And it’s always been my philosophy in dealing with Governor Christie and his Administration.

And having worked for several public officials myself, I know there’s a heck of lot more to them than their public images would suggest. No public figure is the two-dimensional character of the headlines. As Garden State Equality’s leader, I have worked closely with this Governor on issues upon which we agree, notably to counter school bullying.

As I have said before, where we agree with them on the issues, Governor Christie and his Administration have treated us with warmth and responsiveness. Yes is yes, no is no, and we’ll get back to you means they get back to you faster than you thought, usually with invaluable help.

And that’s precisely why Governor Christie’s veto of the marriage equality bill will hurt so badly. We’re not naïve – we’ve always known he would veto the bill, and frankly, I was always a bit puzzled by the silly tea-leaf reading and phantasmagoric hopes that perhaps the Governor would look deep inside his heart and let the bill become law. Ridiculous. I know this Governor, and when he says he’ll do something, take him at his word, for better and here for worse.

It’s why I chose not to waste a breath in pleading with the Governor not to veto – and have put Garden State Equality immediately to work to achieve an override. The great news is, we have until the end of the legislative session, in January 2014, to do it.

That doesn’t obviate the pain of the Governor’s veto. Because I do know him, I also know he is not some anti-LGBT nut. He is no Rick Santorum. Frankly, I don’t think Chris Christie has an anti-gay bone in his body, however much I cannot say the same about his impending veto. His veto will be a brutally anti-gay act, pure and simple.

The Governor keeps calling for a referendum, which everyone knows will never happen in New Jersey. To borrow the Governor’s words, it’s time for him to stop engaging in political theater. Our lives are not La Cage Aux Folles: LGBT people fall in love, raise families, often children whom the rest of society shuns, and pay taxes in what is still one of the most heavily taxed states in the country.

Our Governor knows our contributions to society. He won’t veto the bill because he’s anti-gay. He’ll veto the bill because the 2016 South Carolina Republican Presidential primary electorate is anti-gay. And if I get flooded with letters now from Charleston, so be it.

And that’s what hurts so badly. I like this Governor and am able to see him beyond the headlines. When you are rejected by someone you want so badly to love you unconditionally – my own parents have taught me what that’s like – the pain is searing. Rick Santorum I can live with. Gerry Cardinale I can live with, too. But Chris Christie’s rejection? That hurts.

Governor, rest assured that even though I came of political age in an era where political adversaries could be friends – and if you’re game, we’ll continue that good relationship – Garden State Equality and I will continue to fight you on marriage equality with every bone in our bodies. You would expect no less.

For us, this is not about politics. This is about our fundamental American right to conduct our lives with a full life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Equality.

And until we achieve it, we will fight with our every last breath. And we will win, so help me God.

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20 more reader comments:

  1. Gov Christie needs to be recalled. I totally think he’s a disjointed dildo.

    Posted on Friday, February 17, 2012 at 5:46pm
  2. This is going to sound like a dumb question but could a gay couple sue him for discrimination? Class action law suit if more join?

    Posted on Friday, February 17, 2012 at 5:46pm
  3. Steve. maybe you should have tried to talk to him before the veto.. imho you let us down as much as he did.

    Posted on Friday, February 17, 2012 at 5:50pm
  4. it may take something like that to eventually get the US Supreme court off their plush asses and make a statement of equality.. a historical message.. I like your thinking Shoryo

    Posted on Friday, February 17, 2012 at 5:52pm
  5. Solidarity my friend.

    Posted on Friday, February 17, 2012 at 6:02pm
  6. is it legal in CALI!!! yet??

    Posted on Saturday, February 18, 2012 at 12:15am
  7. No! It is still going thru the courts. The last court (9th fed court of appeals) ruled against
    Prop 8 which took away Gay Marriage. Next stop may be Supreme Court.

    Posted on Saturday, February 18, 2012 at 12:30am
  8. arnold vetoed similar bills in CA twice. I hope he feels ashamed.

    Posted on Saturday, February 18, 2012 at 12:35am
  9. time to go to sleep, Sharon! let’s turn off our computers! Hi to Mina!

    Posted on Saturday, February 18, 2012 at 12:36am
  10. This is some bullshit…c’mon NJ seriously this is a slap in the face…

    Posted on Saturday, February 18, 2012 at 12:47am
  11. Christie AND Santorum are COWARDS! I pray for their already tainted souls, and feel shame on them! Weak spineless jellyfish! Smh

    Posted on Saturday, February 18, 2012 at 12:52am
  12. He seemed from a distance to have his shit together. I thought for sure I’d be going to at least one wedding soon. Wow, I stupidly didn’t see that coming.

    Posted on Saturday, February 18, 2012 at 12:52am
  13. Gov. Christie is a homophobic ass!! To deny anyone the right to be equal is hatred!!! Shame on you!!

    Posted on Saturday, February 18, 2012 at 1:00am
  14. You can put whatever spin you’d like on this one – Christie is as bad as all the current (and former) GOP candidates who signed off on that marriage is only between one man and one woman hate proclomation – all so he can be backed as a candidate in 2016. That means he sold out for a cruel, hateful bigoted group over the side of what is right and just. That alone says all I need to know about this bigot. We pay our taxes, serve our country, contribute to our communities, and we raise families. His veto was a bigoted, selfish, and cruel act against all of us and our families. I’m all for working bi-partisian lines but this issue is not one that can be a “forgivable” offense by any elected official that stands in the way of equality.

    Posted on Saturday, February 18, 2012 at 7:24am
  15. All the people who married in Ca when it was leagal, are valad but right now it’s still not, but in do time!! Now for NJ .. Are we really surprised that ‘DeepFryedCrustey’ vetoed the bill ???? He has to protect his own marriage as for him I’m betting it’s very difficult to have a woman or even a man be interested in him as he is so ‘unhealthy and he knows it’

    Posted on Saturday, February 18, 2012 at 9:16am
  16. The Author Of The Article Is A “Gay Uncle Tom”…

    Posted on Saturday, February 18, 2012 at 9:40am
  17. I think this country will take three steps forward when it spends less time and money denying human rights and more time and money educating kids.

    Posted on Saturday, February 18, 2012 at 9:46am
  18. This clown of a Govenor is hoping to get a cabinet seat, if the Republicans take the white house, dont be fooled, it is purely political!!

    Posted on Saturday, February 18, 2012 at 10:31am
  19. Posted on Saturday, February 18, 2012 at 11:17am
  20. The author of this article is the “leader” of NJ’s state Equality group…it’s sad that he’s such an apologist.

    Posted on Saturday, February 18, 2012 at 11:40am