NYU Reacts: Marriage equality in New Jersey

Kavish Harjai, Staff Writer

Courtesy of the NYU LGBTQ Center via facebook.com

New Jersey opened the state to same-sex marriages on Oct. 21 without an appeal from Republican Gov. Chris Christie.

Christie’s administration had initially stated it would appeal the state’s Supreme Court ruling last Friday denying the state the right to prevent marriages, but then withdrew their appeal stating it had a constitutional obligation to honor the court’s decision.

Stern freshman and New Jersey resident Revathi Mekala said she personally supports the ruling and believes it will be beneficial to her home state.

“Like any political change, same-sex marriage has had its fair share of opponents and battles, and I do not think the disputes will end anytime soon,” Mekala said. “However, working to achieve the equality that we as a nation pride ourselves in and embracing the diversity that exists in New Jersey I believe is a much-needed step in the right direction.”

Gallatin senior Joe Ehrman-Dupre, who is studying sexuality, compared the ruling in New Jersey to the struggles of same-sex couples in his home state.

“As a North Carolinian, I have been reading about couples going to county offices to try and receive marriage licenses as a form of protest against our constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriages, Amendment One,” Ehrman-Dupre said. “They are, of course, largely unsuccessful. So, it is always uplifting and exciting to see another state begin the process of creating an egalitarian society.”

Despite recognizing the monumental success of this New Jersey ruling, president of the NYU Queer Union Doug Keeler said the group wants the focus to switch to the other issues surrounding the LGBTQ community.

“Notwithstanding various critiques of marriage equality from people within our communities, we simply have more pressing issues to organize around, such as youth homelessness, police violence, and the deployment of ‘gay rights’ in colonial projects,” Keeler said.

Keeler clarified that Queer Union does not represent the entire NYU LGBTQ community, and other LGBTQ groups on campus may be more excited about the ruling.

Erika Kindsfather, CAS freshman, shares this sentiment.

“I’m happy regarding the passage of the same-sex ruling in New Jersey, but I also feel like marriage equality is used in politics to mask and neglect other issues affecting the LGBTQA community such as poverty, homelessness, workplace discrimination [and] unjust incarceration,” Kindsfather said.

Additional reporting by Michael Domanico. Kavish Harjai is a staff writer. Email them at [email protected].