Christie Nominates Gay GOP to N.J. Supreme Court
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) announced that he nominated Bruce Harris to the state’s Supreme Court. Harris will become the state’s first openly gay man to serve on the New Jersey Supreme Court, Garden State Equality posted on its official Facebook page.
Harris, 61, was recently sworn in as mayor of Chatham, N.J., and became the U.S.’s first openly, gay, African-American Republican mayor, EDGE reported in a Jan. 10 article.
Christie also nominated Phil Kwon, 44, a Korean-American assistant attorney general to the New Jersey’s Supreme Court.
"I am honored to nominate these two gentlemen," Christie said at a Statehouse news conference. "I trust the Senate will take into account their extraordinary backgrounds and experience and will give them swift hearings."
The two men would replace Justice John Wallace Jr. and Justice Virginia Long.
Several gay rights groups were thrilled with Christie’s decision, such as the Human Rights Campaign.
"We congratulate Bruce Harris on his nomination to the highest court in New Jersey and applaud Governor Christie for choosing a highly qualified candidate," HRC’s president, Joe Solmonese said in a statement. "It sends a powerful message that LGBT people can and do contribute to our communities in a variety of capacities. Courts around the country are greatly lacking in LGBT diversity and with thousands of qualified LGBT attorneys in the U.S., we look forward to the day when our courts better reflect the composition of our country."
Harris has been involved in Chatham, a borough in Morris County, about 25 miles west of New York City, for 13 years by serving on a number of boards and commissions.
Christie’s nomination of a member of the LGBT community may be a good sign for equal rights in the Garden State since a legislation that would legalize gay marriage will need to be approved by the governor in the upcoming weeks.
Although many politicians believe Christie will veto the bill after it moves through both houses, some are optimistic and think otherwise, such as Assemblyman Reed Gusciora (D), EDGE reported in a Jan. 11 article.
"He has already stated that gay couples should be afforded the same dignity and equal respect under the laws," Gusciora said at a press conference.