I was in the New York State Court of Appeals courtroom in 2005 when New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's lawyers argued to reverse the state of New York's first court ruling in favor of marriage equality. Now Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey is making increasingly desperate attempts to appeal his own state's decision before New Jersey couples can obtain licenses on Oc. 21. It should be even clearer to Christie than it was to Bloomberg that he is advocating for yesterday's policies. Those of us who are fighting for LGBT rights must make it clear to him that his position is inexcusable, especially in 2013.
In 2005 my now-husband and I listened to Mayor Bloomberg's lawyers make antiquated, inaccurate, and, frankly, ridiculous arguments against marriage equality. We heard, not for the first time, attorneys representing our own city claiming that marriage is meant to "preserve the family," and that only couples with the ability to procreate should be allowed to marry. We would endure many other spurious claims made in the attempt to deny the legitimacy of relationships like ours, and unfortunately, lose our case, leaving New York LGBT couples to endure outdated and discriminatory policies for a few more years. But eventually we prevailed.
In 2011 the marriage equality bill I sponsored was signed into law in New York, and my partner of over 30 years and I were among the many couples finally able to marry.
Since that court case, 11 states in addition to New York have welcomed marriage equality with widespread celebration, and since at least as early as 2010, a full majority of Americans have supported same-sex marriage. Mayor Bloomberg himself, who claimed to support same-sex marriage even as he fought its legal enactment in New York, lobbied and gave money in support of New York's successful marriage equality law in 2011. It is becoming more and more difficult to make arguments against same-sex marriage, because the truth is becoming clearer: Marriage equality hurts no one and corrects a fundamental inequity in our society.
Gov. Christie must learn that he cannot discriminate against a great swath of his citizens and claim that it is just a "difference of opinion." If he is willing to deny marriage equality to even his gay friends and family members while simultaneously claiming that his support for civil unions means he supports them, he is no true friend to them or to any of his constituents. Actions, not just professed beliefs, matter.
It is time to tell Gov. Christie that his opposition to marriage equality is unacceptable, especially in 2013. I am hopeful that New Jersey's Supreme Court will soon end Gov. Christie's final frantic bid to stop marriage equality in his state. Maybe then he will learn that a man who opposes equality for all is yesterday's politician, not today's, and certainly not tomorrow's.