Updated at 6:25 am EDT Oct. 22
Sometimes leaders know what’s worth fighting for.
Sometimes they know what’s not worth fighting against.
So it was in New Jersey, where Cory Booker, the Democratic mayor of Newark and senator-elect from the Garden State, celebrated the first same-sex marriage in his city as officiator. This one was worth waiting past midnight as New Jersey joined the states recognizing same-sex marriages — the great Garden State, he said, had just become greater.
— Udi Ofer (@UdiACLU) October 22, 2013
When we judge, we invite judgment. When we hate, we invite hatred. But when we are kind, we invite kindness & when we love, we invite love.
— Cory Booker (@CoryBooker) October 21, 2013
Then there was Chris Christie, the popular Republican governor of New Jersey apparently coasting to re-election in November, who had vetoed the Legislature’s attempts to authorize same-sex marriage in his state.
After a judge ruled in September that the state’s Constitution doesn’t permit the state to bar matrimony for same-sex couples, Christie appealed. Then the state Supreme Court declined to delay the effect of the lower court ruling — and Christie, whom many see as one of the party’s best prospects for a 2016 presidential campaign, decided to let this one go. And wedding bells rang.
“Although the governor strongly disagrees with the court substituting its judgment for the constitutional process in 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,” said a spokesman for the governor. “The governor will do his constitutional duty and ensure his administration enforces the law as dictated by the New Jersey Supreme Court.”
Bloomberg’s John McCormick and Elise Young write about the significance of Christie’s move.
For Booker, this was a cause naturally worth celebrating, the upside greater than the downside politically. For Christie, this may have been more of an accommodation beyond question, the downside not worth it for someone with ambitions.
The two have a lot in common, it turns out — a greater interest in making friends than enemies. This isn’t the first time the two found a way to walk the same path.
— Governor Christie (@GovChristie) October 17, 2013
In a country where younger voters of both parties have rapidly grown more tolerant of personal freedom, their quest for harmony is a powerful political instinct that could serve both well down the road.