As one of the hundreds of University of Miami students from New Jersey, nothing makes me prouder than to hear about the recent decision by Judge Mary Jacobson granting same-sex couples the right to marry in the Garden State.
While many celebrated the Supreme Court decision made in June that struck down the Defense of Marriage Act, the only couples who could truly benefit from the decision were those who lived in states that recognized same-sex marriage. The June decision was undoubtedly a major stepping stone in the legalization process; however, it still left much to be debated in the area of same-sex marriage.
Beginning Oct. 21, New Jersey will join the ranks of the 13 other states that recognize same-sex marriage and provide the same federal benefits to same-sex couples as heterosexual couples.
New Jersey republican Governor Chris Christie has vowed to appeal the decision in order to abide by the will of the voters on the issue. Many politicians have already voiced their opinions against this and are attempting to persuade Christie not to appeal the ruling.
This landmark decision is such an incredible milestone for the tiny state of New Jersey that Christie’s appeal would undermine all social progress made by activists over the past decades. Same-sex couples have too long been denied the rights and respect they deserve as citizens of this country. A victory like this symbolizes a new wave of progressive thinking adopted by our generation and proves that those who value equality and freedom will continue to triumph over those who only know discrimination.
It baffles me that a debate over something as straightforward as same-sex marriage even exists. The entire argument really boils down to this: Should we allow all couples, regardless of gender, to be married and thus provide them with the happiness they deserve?
The fact that our justice system has taken decades to answer this question is unthinkable, even pathetic. I hope that one day students will read about the stagnant legalization process and question why it took so long for states to come to their senses.
The age-old tenet of separation of church and state seems to be much easier said than implemented. While marriage is, for some, a union sanctioned by God, for many, it is a union for no other reason than happiness and love, created because, as humans, we have the right to pursue it.
It’s time for our country to stop trying to define abstract concepts such as marriage and love, because we will never arrive at a clear-cut definition.
Rather than see this decision as a setback, Christie should stand even taller as the governor of a state that is supporting marriage equality – contributing overall to a more accepting America.
Nayna Shah is a freshman majoring in music composition.