McKEON: NJ SUPREME COURT MARRIAGE EQUALITY DECISION CARRIES SPECTER OF POLITICAL PARTISANSHIP

Court’s Decision Split between Justices Who Have/Have Not Received Lifetime Tenure

(WEST ORANGE) — Following the New Jersey Supreme Court’s decision Monday not to hear a case from six same-sex couples seeking the right to marry, Assemblyman John F. McKeon (D-Essex), a prime sponsor of legislation that would have granted same-sex couples marriage equality, issued the following statement:

“The New Jersey Supreme Court’s decision today to decline hearing a marriage equality case is deeply disappointing. The court once again passed on a chance to correct a persistent social inequity made even more stark by the shortcomings of our current civil union law.

“More disturbing than today’s decision, however, is the fact that the court split equally between those with lifetime tenure and those waiting for tenure.

“The last thing I would want to do is besmirch the integrity of New Jersey’s highest court. However, when split rulings are handed down in this manner, it is inevitable that individuals would be left with the view that the court’s decision was politicized.”

“Gov. Christie has often and loudly said that he is opposed to marriage equality and proved, through his actions surrounding the reappointment of former-Justice Wallace, that he has no compunctions in politicizing the judiciary.

“This uncertainty is precisely why, prior to Gov. Christie, governors going all the way back to the reworking of New Jersey’s Constitution in 1947 chose not to politicize the judicial nomination process. We count on the rule of law being equally applied in all instances. To do otherwise would be patently unfair and dangerous to the entire judicial process.”