Marriage Equality is now the law of the land and in every state, so affirmed in a 5-4 decision announced this morning by the U.S. Supreme Court in the case of Obergefell v. Hodges. "No longer may this liberty be denied," writes Justice Anthony Kennedy for the majority. "No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were."
Below, a roundup of some of what was said on this historic day - in NJ and elsewhere, by our governor, and other people who want to be president both on the equality side and on the other side. Plus a bonus from Justice Clarence Thomas' unintentionally ironic, moronic dissent.
Justices robe-up. Yay Photoshop. H/t Juan Melli
"My heart is also in Charleston. These past few weeks and months have been an important reminder that discrimination in many forms is alive and well in America. Progress for some is not progress for all. If we're committed to equality, must be committed to justice for all."
"Progress on this journey often comes in small increments, sometimes two steps forward, one step back, propelled by the persistent effort of dedicated citizens. And then sometimes, there are days like this, when that slow, steady effort is rewarded with justice that arrives like a thunderbolt."
"I couldn't be prouder of you and your husband."
Loretta Weinberg (to Blue Jersey):
At the moment of my granddaughter Shayna's birth, The entire LGBT and "whatever" coalition were in my office as we were preparing the finishing touches on the first domestic partnership bill. The call I got was directly from the delivery room and we put it on The speaker phone. Together, We all heard the baby cry for the very first time, and the wonderful coalition members all cheered her arrival.
I wrote a letter to Shayna telling her what her grandma was doing at the precise moment of her birth, ending with the fervent wish that when she grew up and read that letter she would think it was silly that her grandmother and so many others had to spend so much time to work for something so obviously right.
Shayna will be 12 on September 12. Thank you Steven Goldstein and Babs Siperstein who were both in my office on that day almost 12 years ago. I know there were others of you but I can't remember who they were.
I am sad that Kevin Williams (late husband of Asm Tim Eustace, who will be memorialized tonight) is not here to celebrate with us. I am sad that my husband was not here to see our grandchildren. But this is one of the happiest moments of my public life. Thank you for everyone who played a part in making it happen.
Francine Weinberg Graff (to Blue Jersey):
(My children) don't understand the archaic history that has gone before us. They did however say, "didn't grammy pass this in NJ?" "Yes" I said proudly. Jonah says "Pres Obama followed her".
Steven Goldstein (who reminds us Steve Carell will play him in the feature film Freeheld opening in October):
"Who are we if we don't fight for ourselves - but who are we if we fight only for ourselves?
When we aim for both and fight for all, only then can we reach our highest dream."
Steve Sweeney (to press):
"The Supreme Court has now confirmed what a growing number of Americans believe: that same-sex couples have the right to marry and to be protected with the same constitutional rights as all our citizens. This decision marks a historic step for justice in America and it sends a powerful message to advance the principles of progress and equality. Marriage equality is about equal rights and justice and this decision is further affirmation of the actions we took in New Jersey to ensure the rights of same-sex couples."
Clarence Thomas: (who seems confused about history)
"The corollary of that principle is that human dignity cannot be taken away by the government. Slaves did not lose their dignity (any more than they lost their humanity) because the government allowed them to be enslaved. Those held in internment camps did not lose their dignity because the government confined them. And those denied governmental benefits certainly do not lose their dignity because the government denies them those benefits. The government cannot bestow dignity, and it cannot take it away."
"That this is something that shouldn't be decided by a group of lawyers, but should be decided by the people, so I agree with the dissent that Chief Justice Roberts authored today. That being said, those five lawyers get to impose it under our system and so our job is going to be to support the law of the land, and that under the Supreme Court's ruling is now the law of the land. But I don't agree with the way it's been done."
"Along with millions of Americans, I am celebrating today's landmark victory for marriage equality, and the generations of advocates and activists who fought to make it possible. From Stonewall to the Supreme Court, the courage and determination of the LGBT community has changed hearts and changed laws." [The ruling] "represents our country at its best: inclusive, open, and striving towards true equality."
"Today the Supreme Court fulfilled the words engraved upon its building: 'Equal justice under law.' This decision is a victory for same-sex couples across our country as well as all those seeking to live in a nation where every citizen is afforded equal rights. For far too long our justice system has marginalized the gay community and I am very glad the Court has finally caught up to the American people."
"Guided by my faithI believe in traditional marriage. I believe the Supreme Court should have allowed the states to make this decision. I also believe that we should love our neighbor and respect others, including those making lifetime commitments."
"I believe this Supreme Court decision is a grave mistake. Five unelected judges have taken it upon themselves to redefine the institution of marriage, an institution that the author of this decision acknowledges 'has been with us for millennia. As a result of this decision, the only alternative left for the American people is to support an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to reaffirm the ability of the states to continue to define marriage."
"I will not acquiesce to an imperial Court any more than our founders acquiesced to an imperial British monarch. We must resist and reject judicial tyranny, not retreat."