Wednesday, February 15, 2012

open letter to n.j. gov. chris christie

Dear Gov. Christie:

The New Jersey Assembly today is expected to pass legislation that would legalize same-sex marriage in New Jersey. As a person of faith, I am writing to urge you to sign this bill into law once it reaches your desk. Please do not veto it.

I've enjoyed the emotional intimacy and support of my wife for the past 13 years, through good times and bad, and I see no reason that my gay neighbors, relatives and friends should not receive these same benefits under New Jersey law -- including the benefit of calling one another "husband" and "wife," and not just merely "domestic partner."

I realize that you believe this is something that should be put to the general public in a referendum. With all due respect, though, Mr. Christie, this is wrong. Civil rights are neither granted nor denied according to mass consent. They are, as our nation's founders wrote, "endowed by our Creator" and they are inalienable.

Thomas Jefferson even listed among our most basic rights the pursuit of happiness, which for our gay neighbors, friends and relatives is obstructed by our state's refusal to recognize the dignity and value of their relationships with the designation of marriage. The duty of your office is to lead the way in seeing that these rights are upheld, not to defer those rights to the vox populi.

While our religious communities should be free to define and recognize marriage according to the context of their respective religious frameworks, one of the great strengths of our society is that it is nonsectarian, and is not governed by any ideology save a pluralist celebration of our differences. In that vein, and as a person of deep faith myself, I call upon you to sign the bill when it comes to your desk, and not to veto it.

David Learn

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