NJ Lawmakers ‘Nervous and Weak-Kneed’ on Marriage Equality

Hope for marriage equality appears to be evaporating quickly in New Jersey:

Weinberg "Several…senators, supporters and opponents, say the movement is all but dead. 'They’ve lost the momentum,' says Sen. Kip Bateman, a Somerset Republican who considered supporting the measure until last week. 'I don’t think it’s going to happen.'

So mark this as a black day for the cause of gay rights in New Jersey. Marriage equality was supposed to be the big prize, the final measure of respect, a sign that gay families were indeed equal under the law.

Instead, gay couples and their children are getting another ugly reminder that their families are regarded as second-class, as something less than the families next door.

Gay activists are bitter about what they see as betrayal. Democrats, especially Gov. Jon Corzine, told them over and over to wait for this moment.

And now they are getting tepid support, or none at all."

Said lead sponsor Sen. Loretta Weinberg to the Star-Ledger: "I can’t say I’m confident now. I think we still have a pretty good chance. But people are getting nervous and weak-kneed."

Their knees must be getting worn out while running around looking for their spines.


  1. says

    This is yet another example of failure from the current LGBT leadership. Stop writing checks, start demanding results for your money. Demand that the current leadership be fired and replaced by people who actually know what they are doing.

  2. cookie says

    No, not particularly a failure of LGBT leadership. The problem in New Jersey is that the past two Dem governors didn’t do enough get the property tax issue under control, and then the recession hit, so that a Dem majority state took an alternative gov choice this year. It’s a Dem problem. The LGBT leadership here is fine. They’ve gotten us where we are — almost there! But Corzine’s defeat has the Dems “week-kneed” on most issues.

  3. JerzeeMike says

    Agreed, COOKIE. The property tax situation overshadows EVERYTHING in NJ. The first promise made by Jon Corzine was to not raise taxes and it was the first thing he did when he took office. People in NJ were angry about that and we don’t forget. I voted for Corzine out of necessity because there was no viable candidate in the Democratic party this election year. This failure lands solidly on the state’s Democratic party and not our LGBT leadership.

    My church pastor is heading to Trenton this Thursday with Garden State Equality to show that there still is support in the community of faith FOR marriage equality in New Jersey. The deck is stacked against us in NJ with Christie as governor but mark my words-he’ll fail miserably too. Just like the tolls on the Parkway and Turnpike, high property taxes are here to stay in NJ and will continue to eclipse any other issues for years to come.

  4. jersey says

    The problem is that New Jersey Democrats aren’t scared of the gay lobby. In the states that succeeded in passing same-sex marriage legislation, Democrats knew that if they opposed a bill, 1) they would get primaried and 2) many of their strongest special-interest supporters would be extremely unhappy. Garden State Equality is not powerful enough to make this happen by itself, especially on such short notice, and Goldstein hasn’t effectively brought the partners on board who would communicate to legislators that their seats are in jeopardy if they are on the wrong side of this issue. GSE is his baby and he has called all the shots. That has been great for Goldstein’s profile, but we will need the help of the ACLU, Planned Parenthood, and whatever other liberal groups can get on board to put the fear of God (read: losing the next election) into weak-kneed politicians.

    This is not solely the fault of GSE and Goldstein — it’s really expensive to run and win a state legislative seat here. You can’t just helicopter in a few out-of-state volunteers and $50,000 in donations and shake up a Senate race. And to reiterate, this battle was joined on extremely short notice in a terrible political climate after a tense leadership shakeup that moved power from the more liberal northern part of the state to the more conservative south. Meanwhile, Republicans are rightfully scared of NOM, which has a strong foothold in New Jersey and CAN threaten senators’ and assemblypeople’s seats in 2011.

    I called my legislators and the entire Senate Judiciary Committee today. Please do the same, every day this week during business hours. Gay marriage could be nipped in the bud in committee and that would be an extremely lamentable result — not a disaster, but a real disappointment. There is disagreement about whether it’s a good idea to bring the issue up for a vote if it’s not assured of victory, but we won’t even get to have that conversation unless a bill gets out of committee. Call Senator Sarlo and the rest of the Judiciary Committee NOW. It’s all we can do as average citizens.

  5. JimSur212 says

    This is more fallout from the loss in Maine. That loss has really killed our momentum, worse than California. We ultimately will prevail, but it will take longer now. The best thing we have going for us is demography. Each year more elderly social conservatives die and more socially liberal youth reach voting age.

  6. Lucas says

    Yep, another case of the national LGBT being naive about what it takes to win. Last summer, gay media and organizations overconfidently claimed that NJ would enact gay marriage legislation. Anyone with half a political brain should have known that passing gay rights legislation is always a climb uphill, with twists and turns and last minute disappointments apt to occur. We should have fought tooth and nail to get the legislature to pass this BEFORE the November election. What kind of Political strategy is it to wait for a lame duck session, no matter what the outcome of the November Election? We should have galvanized to have this passed last summer. After Maine, we indeed are wandering in the wilderness. The saddest part is we seemed to have learned nothing about political strategy and organization. Pathetic.

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