The Asbury park Press, Friday, July8, 2011
"In our democracy, near equality is no equality...Government either treats everyone the same, or it doesn't. And right now, it doesn't. The question for every lawmaker is: Do you want to be remembered as a leader on civil rights? Or an obstructionist?"These words were spoken by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg on May 27.
New York state lawmakers chose to be remembered as helping the cause of civil rights move forward and put an end to discrimination based on sexual preference.
Gov. Chris Christie, on the other hand, chooses to obstruct equality, continuing to deny marriage rights to some based on the gender of the two consenting adults who choose to enter into matrimony. Christie cites his religious values while dismissing the message of Christ that all are created in God's image.
This obstruction of equality comes on the heels of Christie stomping on the rights of other adult citizens of the Garden State: those who were adopted as children. The governor's defeat of adoptees' human rights is perhaps even more difficult to comprehend because surely people who are adopted do not act in a way that might be construed as being against God or any religious doctrine. They have done nothing other than to be born and then adopted into another family. Yet, because of Christie, they will continue to be treated as second-class citizens, denied the same rights as others have to unconditional access to the vital record of their own birth.
Christie's conditional veto called for restrictions that would apply to adopted people and adopted people only, singling them out as once black Americans were singled out for unique and separate treatment; as once women were relegated as unable to vote or to own property.
Creating and maintaining legislation that applies to some, but not all, of us is an affront to everything this nation stands for. Just as Rhode Island and Missouri passed equal access legislation for adopted people this month, Christie turned his back on his constituents who begged for relief of antiquated laws. Christie chose instead to side with special-interest groups whose livelihoods depend upon the transfer of children via adoption.
These lobbies oppose any and all efforts to regulate or create transparency in the practice of adoption, causing it to be called the "Wild West" by Adam Pertman, executive director of the prestigious Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute, a think tank that calls for ethical adoption and the human and civil rights of adopted people to be restored.
How can we promote adoption as a loving option for expectant mothers in crisis when that choice leads to a lesser life for their offspring, forever denied access to their heritage, lineage and genealogy? Christie and any others who think they are following religious tenets by treating people unfairly ought to consider why the Judeo-Christian Bible begins with the Book of Genesis and details who begat whom. Hebrews recognized lineage as of such great importance because Judaism is passed by matrilineal descent since only one's mother is certain (without DNA testing).
Christie sees the right to know from whom one received the gift of life as a right that he can restrict and obstruct of some people, such as his own sister, in spite of significant and substantial evidence that the reasons he has outline are based in rumor, not in fact. In doing so, he tries to create an oxymoronic near-equality. Christie has etched his name indelibly as an obstructionist of human rights in New Jersey.