AYINDE J. STEVENS
Student Voice Editor

If it happens on a Friday, it is some of the best news around.

First, I found out about the exclusive interview Pope Francis gave to a Jesuit publication declaring that the Catholic Church should stop having a laser focus on gay marriage, contraception and abortion. I mean, talk about left field. I knew His Holiness was cool but I didn’t know that he would be that cool.

Granted, I’m quite aware that the Church won’t start performing gay marriages and opening up women’s health clinics anytime soon, His Holiniess is telling both the Curia (Catholic church hierarchy) and ourselves that we shouldn’t be judging ourselves for who we are, what we did or what we believe in its about being a good human being, all of which are the best attributes of any religion.

This comes off of Pope Francis saying that gay people don’t bother him and why it shouldn’t bother everyone else. Even though Francis’s comments are politically safe words for now, his attempts to reform the higher ups in the Church are an olive branch to those who may have felt shut out by the Church’s hard line approach that has alienalted countless people from the church.

While I highly doubt Pope Francis, will be able to convince the entire Church into the 21st century, at least they have made it to the early 20th century, so I guess it’s a step in the right direction.

I think that Francis should be commended for saying that we are all human and at the end even he can’t judge a fellow human because it is God who has the final word. It’s nice for a change for a Pope to admit that.

Now one week later on this side of the Atlantic, Mary C. Jacobson, Superior Court Judge for Mercer County, took a bold move in telling Governor Chris Christie that the Garden State must clear the way to allow same-sex marriages.

New Jersey, the only state in the tri-state area to not allow same-sex marriage, has always for better or for worse done things their own way.

Back in 2006, when Massachusetts was the only state to pass a law allowing same-sex marriage, the Supreme Court of New Jersey declared that under the state’s Constitution it was illegal to deny LGBT N.J. residents their rights provided by the state. However, instead of saying the state should allow marriage ceremonies, they passed the issue onto the state legislature, which decided that civil unions would be a better option.

Of course, that was when the Governor was a Democrat. Now 7 years later, Christie – a Republican – rules the state house and has carved a marriage of convenience with the Democratic legislature that has led to the state’s three years’ worth of balanced budgets. It is the issue of Same-Sex Marriage however, one of the Republican Party’s live wires Christie, will not touch, regardless of how much support it has in the State Legislature.
Jacobson’s ruling, which is 53 pages long, says that the legislature was wrong to create civil unions and that marriages should start as soon as possible, around Oct. 21, assuming Christie doesn’t get the stay on the ruling, (which he did on Tuesday).

This could throw some votes toward Barbara Buono, the democratic gubernatorial candidate, while Christie does his usual shtick of talking loud and his face getting redder than an oblong tomato, watching quite helplessly while the Supreme Court of New Jersey, which he never liked, pass something that he truly disagrees with. Which will certainly look like a black mark on his record when the 2016 comes knocking. I do however, find it ironic that some of the people who have come up against the Honorable Governor of New Jersey are women.

To be fair, Christie did say that the issue really should be left up to the voters, which I could agree with if this was a perfect world and everyone realized this issue is not ‘it’s the end of the world’ thing. There is also the whole Prop 8 debacle which proved that states as diverse as California and New Jersey that a ballot initiative would be costly, confusing, and above all complicated.

Now with the ruling and Pope Francis stating that he and others should not judge what those in the LGBT community do has changed the course of the debate, my question from day one has always been the same, why must you judge? I get it marriage is sacred I know but does it really matter who gets married because at the end of the day we really want to share our lives with someone anyone whether we are married or not. It’s the human connection that is the true miracle of living.

I won’t judge the Honorable Judge Macy C. Jacobson ruling Governor Christie, why must you give off the feeling you judge everyone else. Pope Francis certainly doesn’t.

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