Analysis Essay-“Step Aside, Governor”
August 4, 2014
Civil rights are defined as the rights of citizens to political and social freedom and equality. Perhaps somebody is gay — does civil rights still apply to them? According to the fourteenth amendment, the answer is yes! The fourteenth amendment states, "All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws." (United States Constitution) Therefore, whether a person is gay or not, that person is still entitled to the same rights as everyone else. In the article, “Step Aside, Governor”, Governor Chris Christie clearly indicates that he feels otherwise about this topic. Christie has rejected the reform of marriage equality several times. When Christie is asked about what is his opposition to gay marriage, he indicates that voters should decide the issue in a referendum. Although he says “leave it to the voters, instead of judges and politicians”, his actions shows that he is just trying to stop New Jersey from progressing in its’ journey toward marriage equality. Other great politicians like Barack Obama and Senator Rob Portman of Ohio have changed their opinions on same-sex marriage, why is Chris Christie being so narrow-minded? New Jersey’s Legislature approved gay marriage in 2012; however, Christie vetoed it. More recently, a Superior Court Judge, Judge Mary Jacobson, ruled the state of New Jersey to allow same-sex marriages because civil unions are unconstitutional. Unsurprisingly, Christie appealed Jacobson’s ruling and the start date of same-sex marriage. Jacobson rejected Christie’s appeal because she felt like a delay would only assault gay couples’ rights even more. Christie appealed that ruling too, which caused the state Supreme Court to take the case.
Jacobson was correct about civil unions being categorized as unconstitutional. Civil unions were New Jersey alternatives for same-sex marriage. “Civil unions exist in three states: New Jersey, Illinois, and Hawaii. Civil union was first created in Vermont, in 2000, to provide some legal protections and responsibilities to gay and lesbian couples at the state level, but in 2009 the state legislature ended gay couples’ exclusion from marriage after realizing civil union created a second class citizenship." (Freedom to Marry) By civil unions creating a second class citizenship, it withholds citizens of their equal rights, which in fact, goes against the constitution. "Couples who have a civil union will not have any of the protections or responsibilities federal law provides to married couples. These include social security survivors’ and spousal benefits, federal veterans’ spousal benefits, immigration rights associated with marriage, federal spousal employment benefits, the right to file joint federal tax returns, exemptions from income tax on your partner’s health benefits, the federal exemption from inheritance tax, and many other federal protections which are denied same-sex couples whether legally joined in a civil union or a civil marriage." (It's Personal-Civil Unions) This indicates one thing: inequality. Civil unions are not the same thing as a marriage.
It is becoming more and more evident that Christie is just trying to reach the more conservative people, being that he will be running for president in 2016. Christie is a Republican candidate for presidency in 2016. The more conservative people he gets on his side, the better the election will be for him, which will make him one of the top Republicans running. This explains why he is constantly