NEWARK — The mayor of Newark, New Jersey ordered the removal of a Christian man from city hall on Monday for raising an objection in the name of Jesus Christ against one of the first-ever homosexual ‘weddings’ in the state.
As previously reported, the Supreme Court of New Jersey unanimously ruled on Friday to uphold a lower court order that mandated officials to allow same-sex “marriages” to be performed and recognized in the state. Ceremonies were then hurriedly organized for Monday, the day that the court set for nuptials to begin.
Democratic Newark Mayor Cory Booker, who was recently elected to the United States Senate, told reporters that he was making himself available to officiate ceremonies at city hall when the clock struck midnight on Monday.
Booker is a professing Christian and attends Metropolitan Baptist Church in Newark, but states that “God’s truth might lie also in other faiths.” Throughout his campaign for the Senate, he was known for his outspoken advocacy of homosexuality and abortion, and has refused for years to perform any marriages in the state until New Jersey allowed homosexuals to also tie the knot.
“For more than seven years, Mayor Booker has refused all requests to officiate New Jersey marriages because gay couples have been denied that equal right,” spokesman James Allen told reporters. “After today’s wonderful news [from the state Supreme Court], Mayor Booker is excited to marry both straight and gay couples in city hall on Monday morning beginning at 12:01 a.m.”
Shortly before midnight this morning, approximately 150 people gathered at Newark City Hall to either witness or participate in a ceremony. Seven Christians stood outside of the event preaching the word of God and the Gospel of Jesus Christ, calling Booker and the residents of New Jersey to repentance.
Mark de Rouville of Tom’s River decided to go inside city hall as a witness to the ceremonies. At 12:01 a.m., Booker opened the gathering, announcing, “Ladies and gentlemen, it is officially past midnight. Marriage is now equal in New Jersey!”
Following cheers and applause, Booker introduced Joseph Panessidi and Orville Bell, whom he stated were personal friends and the first to be “wed.” Moments later, noting that he must do so by law, Booker asked if there were any objections to the union. de Rouville then spoke up, declaring, “This is unlawful in the eyes of God and Jesus Christ.”
Booker immediately ordered that de Rouville be removed from city hall, and police officers grabbed him by both arms and escorted him out of the building as he continued to preach.
“Turn to Jesus Christ!” de Rouville called out. “He alone can save!”
“Not hearing any substantive and worthy objections, I will now proceed,” Booker stated as de Rouville was being led away, while cheers and applause resounded from the crowd.
The ceremony then went forward as Booker officiated several ceremonies back-to-back.
“I was merely exercising my free speech as Senator-elect Booker had asked a question to those assembled,” de Rouville told Christian News Network Monday afternoon. “As a Christian, I was duty-bound to bear witness, and it’s absolutely every Christian’s responsibility to speak against the unfruitful works of darkness.”
During his bid for Senate, 45 local churches voiced their support for Booker, despite his position on homosexuality and abortion, including his home church in Newark.
“Whatever he does is not on me,” Kevin Greenwood of Morning Star Baptist Church in Newark told Christian News Network Sunday afternoon, just hours before the ceremony. “He’ll have to deal with that when the time comes.”
Greenwood was one of the pastors that supported Booker in his candidacy. When asked if Booker’s support for homosexuality and abortion were not a factor in his endorsement, he replied that they were not.
“I can only worry about [making sure that] what I’m doing is right,” Greenwood explained. “It’s just another sin like everything else.”
“He’s the right man for the job,” he stated. “I’ve seen what he does and how he feels about people.”
Booker’s pastor, Dr. David Jefferson, did not return calls for comment. However, in an interview earlier this year with PolitickerNJ, he expressed his support for Booker.
“People are returning to Newark because of the significant progress Mayor Booker and his team have made,” he stated. “That’s the kind of person I want representing New Jersey in Washington.”
However, Pastor Clenard Childress, the New Jersey director of the Life Education and Resource Network, recently blasted Booker for his ungodly policies and mourned the endorsement of fellow clergy in the state.
“Even after all [of his] blasphemous deeds, the shepherds of the flock continue to give their approval to a candidate that has proclaimed he is going to continue in the vein of this madness,” he stated. “Is it any wonder our people are so deceived and depleted of moral consciousness by these mixed messages? In an era where morality is eroding, and godliness is outlawed, we have pastors endorsing a candidate who nationally announced the dismissal of God from the Democrat platform.”