Views from the pews on the Catholic judge behind New Jersey’s gay marriage ruling

Views from the pews on the Catholic judge behind New Jersey’s gay marriage ruling October 20, 2013

From the Newark Star Ledger: 

Paul McKillup, a 79-year-old retired plumber who spent much of this morning singing, said he remembered Mary Jacobson as a young parishioner at St. Mary of the Sea Catholic Church in Bayonne.

“I knew Mary when she was a little girl,” McKillup, a member of the St. Mary choir, said after the 10:30 a.m. mass. “I have a lot of respect for her. She worked very hard to become a judge. She has a mind of her own.”


Ruling against Gov. Chris Christie and the teachings of the Catholic Church, Judge Mary Jacobson of Superior Court in Trenton ruled on Sept. 27 that gay marriages are legal in New Jersey. Following a June ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court that the federal government must provide all the benefits of marriage to gay married people, Jacobson found that gay couples in the Garden State bound together by the state’s civil union law would therefore be denied the same federal benefits as gay married couples from other states.

Jacobson also refused to grant the Christie Administration’s request to postpone the Oct. 21 effective date of her order, and on Saturday the state Supreme Court upheld that decision, meaning same-sex marriages will be permitted beginning Monday while both sides await a final ruling on the legality of same-sex marriage in New Jersey by the Supreme Court, expected early next year.

McKillup and several other St. Mary parishioners interviewed after Mass said they believed in the separation of church and state, and that it was understandable Jacobson might view an issue differently from the bench than from a pew.

Catholic priest in New Jersey will not commence marrying gay and lesbian couples as a result of the decision, said Jim Goodness, a spokesman for Newark Archbishop John Meyers.

“It really is not in keeping with Catholic teaching, which has always held the marriage is a union between a man and a woman,” Goodness said.

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