Initially, I started writing a post on how today being the first day for gay marriages in New Jersey to be legal was bologna, and how I wasn’t holding my breath. I intended to politely continue writing about how Chris Christie views me as someone absolutely not worthy of his time, and to list all the different ways Chris Christie has dehumanized me over the past few years, as well as how I imagined he would continue to dehumanize and bully me over the next few months.
All of my plans and thoughts came to a sudden halt when one of the most unexpected things in the world happened today:
Gov. Chris Christie has announced that he will drop his legal challenge to same-sex marriage.
A spokesperson for the governor issued a note, saying,
“Although the governor strongly disagrees with the court substituting its judgment for the constitutional process of the elected branches or a vote of the people, the court has now spoken clearly as to their view of the New Jersey Constitution and, therefore, same-sex marriage is the law. The governor will do his constitutional duty and ensure his administration enforces the law as dictated by the New Jersey Supreme Court.”
I’m still in a state of shock right now. I’ve had tears in my eyes all afternoon since I heard the news on my lunch break. I’ve been struggling with coming up with a metaphor to describe the shock I’m feeling, but I cannot put into words the mixture of emotions. I’m relieved. I feel like a rug has been pulled out of my feet. I’m shaking. I feel like an actual member of society. I feel dehumanized for having to feel this way to begin with. I feel happy. I feel sad. I feel slightly (okay, more than slightly) freaked out that I’m in a committed relationship that could actually end up in an actual marriage, not a commitment ceremony, domestic partnership, civil union, or “roommates” on census papers.
I never thought I’d say the following words in a context outside of Hurricane Sandy, but I have so much respect for Gov. Chris Christie right now. (Notice how I’m even writing about him with his official title– that hasn’t happened in ages!)
As a human being, he is doing the right thing.
He may not like me as a teacher/gay/registered Democrat/middle class worker, but I think I have the right to be treated with the respect and politeness I was raised to treat others, like himself, with.
He has the right to disagree with gay marriage, just like I have the right to disagree with his stance on public education and unions.
We’re allowed to disagree, but, as my rule in my classroom states, we should do so respectfully.
I appreciate that Gov. Christie is stepping aside to let the people of New Jersey do the talking, even if he doesn’t agree with what they’re saying.
So, Gov. Christie, I thank you. I thank you for keeping my homestate a state I can love, and for showing that, even if you don’t love the idea of same-sex marriage, you love the people of your state enough to listen to them. I thank you for making me feel like a human being, not a freak of nature. I thank you for opening conversations, and I thank you for getting individuals, like yourself, who I’d never envision listening to a different opinion to listen to what others have to say.
I thank you for having a love for New Jersey because your love of the Garden State is allowing me to love my love in a place we both love.
Thank you, Gov. Christie, for making a tough decision and going against your own beliefs for “the right thing.” I appreciate it.