10/22/2013 02:16 pm ET | Updated Feb 02, 2016

Justice and Equality in New Jersey: The Governor's Motives Don't Matter

America doesn't do sea-change: by increments we move to extend justice. We tend not to grow as a result in changes of the heart, in response to trumpet-calls.

Here we do not reform our laws in response to changes in our hearts or in our understandings so much as we become more just through law and through enactment of law. Since large swaths of our land and millions of our people live over time with new laws and rulings that, again, over time, birth more just sentiment and, over even more time than that, create demand for even more justice.

This is a reason why I am not at all bothered, for instance, as I know some of my colleagues in the LGBT civil rights movements are, by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie's continued disdain for thoroughgoing equal marriage rights. Even though he has ordered his attorney general not to pursue an appeal of a state court ruling that, based on the Unites States Supreme Court's landmark June decisions, allows gays and lesbians to marry.

Either Mr. Christie himself will some day understand what justice is and looks like, or he won't. Either his decision reflects more of a 2016 presidential calculus than a series of sincere personal reflections on equality, or it doesn't.

I don't care; I'm not the man's confessor.

I do care that he's made the right decision.

Immediately the decision has allowed those New Jersey same sex couples who have married since the weekend to move on with their lives as full American citizens without having to look over their shoulders.

Ongoing, regardless of Mr. Christie's motives, equality grows.

Mr. Christie himself, and his motives, are small potatoes. (So, for that matter, quite honestly, are you and I.) What matters is justice's expansion and the good that it confers, on us now, and ongoing, to those who live well after we're gone.

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