Originally published on Advocate.com January 23 2012 3:51 PM ET
New Jersey governor Chris Christie has nominated a gay Republican mayor to the state Supreme Court.
The Republican governor announced the nomination of Bruce Harris, mayor of Chatham, N.J., at an 11:30 a.m. press conference.
Steven Goldstein, executive director of the state LGBT rights group Garden State Equality, said of a call from Christie prior to the announcement, "You could have picked me up off the floor."
“[Harris] will become the first openly LGBT person in history, and the third African-American person in history, to serve on the New Jersey Supreme Court,” Goldstein said in a statement. “Most importantly, Bruce is eminently qualified to be a Supreme Court justice.”
Goldstein told The Advocate that he did not see the nomination as an indication that Christie is supporting a marriage equality bill currently before state legislators, however. Christie has vowed to veto such legislation in the past, though in recent statements he has appeared increasingly noncommittal about doing so.
But of the nomination, Goldstein said, “It’s unbelievable news, an unequivocal [example] of civil rights leadership, and the governor should be warmly congratulated.”