In his first comments on why he's
intervened to defend against a lawsuit to win gay marriage in New
Jersey, Assemblyman Michael Patrick Carroll says gay relationships
are of no “societal consequence.”
Carroll, along with Republican Senators
Gerald Cardinale and Anthony R. Bucco, are being represented by the
Christian-based group Alliance Defense Fund (ADF).
The three men have united against a
legal challenge by Lambda Legal filed earlier in the month.
The gay rights group pledged to return
to court the day after New Jersey senators killed a gay marriage bill
in January. The defeat means that the Legislature isn't likely to
revisit the issue over the next four years as Governor Chris
Christie, a Republican who took the helm in January, does not support
giving gay couples the right to marry.
In 2006, the state Supreme Court
unanimously agreed that it is unconstitutional to deny gay and
lesbian couples the rights granted to married heterosexual couples
and ordered the Legislature to remedy the situation. Lawmakers
responded with a civil unions law.
Lambda Legal is representing six gay
and lesbian couples plus the surviving spouse from a seventh in its
challenge that claims civil unions are not equal to marriage.
The fifty-one-year-old Republican told
On Top Magazine that ADF representatives approached him to
enter the lawsuit. He said he agreed to become a defendant because
“such decisions ought to be made by the people, either directly or
through their elected representatives, not by unelected judges.”
When asked if he would support a gay
marriage bill if one came to the Assembly floor, Carroll said he
“I see no purpose in extending a
societal imprimatur – and not insubstantial benefits – to folks
whose relationships are of essentially no societal consequence,”
Carroll said, then added, “Taxpayers should not be in the business
of subsidizing friendships, however close.”
Heterosexual relationships, according
to Carroll, because they involve children are the exception.
“Only when people enter into a
relationship which presumptively involves the bearing and rearing of
children does society have an interest in that relationship,” he
Approximately 4,200 gay and lesbian
couples have entered into civil unions since the institution was
introduced in New Jersey.