Steve Lonegan, the former mayor of Bogota who is running for U.S. Senate as a Republican, criticized the ruling on Saturday.
"The issue here is not gay marriage,” he said in a statement released by his campaign. “The issue is an activist judge who is legislating from the bench, using her judicial power to advance her own agenda.”
He said the decision “must be made by the state legislature and the people of New Jersey, not an activist judge.”
Lonegan’s campaign said he believes marriage should be defined as strictly being between a man and a woman, but that government “should get out of the way” and allow civil unions to work.
Lonegan’s opponent, Newark Mayor Cory Booker has been a long-time supporter of marriage equality as has Democratic gubernatorial candidate Senator Barbara Buono (D-Middlesex). Buono issued a statement Friday.
"Today's decision reaffirms that all New Jerseyans, no matter who they love, deserve the right to marry,” Buono said. “It is a tremendous victory for everyone who believes in equality.”
Republican legislators were silent on the issue: They issued no no press releases and did not return calls or emails seeking comment.
Meanwhile, same-sex couples were critical of Christie, Lonegan and others who they say use the issue for political gain.
“I am pissed that it has taken this long,” she said. “We have been together for 24 years. How many times do we have to prove that we want to get married?”
Rights, she said, should not be put on the ballot, that it is up to government and the courts to protect the rights of minorities.
“First and foremost, no one’s civil rights should have to be put to a popular, vote,” she said. Christie’s suggestion, she said, was just another effort to change the rules – something she has seen often in her 40 years with Killian.
“It is a constant shell game,” she said. “Our lives shouldn’t be a political game. We are tired of that. Nobody’s civil rights should be a political game. Would he accept that his relationship be second class be called a civil union?”
She also criticized Lonegan.
“This isn’t judicial activism,” she said. “This is what people say when they don’t get the decision they want.”
John Mooney contributed to this story.