New Jersey Senate Withdraws Marriage Equality Bill

Last week we reported that the New Jersey Senate was to take up a marriage equality bill in an attempt to enshrine this year's Supreme Court decision into state law.

WeinbergSenate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg said Sunday that the bill will be pulled after objections about religious exemptions from Lambda Legal, the Star-Ledger reports:

Some lawmakers felt the legal precedent for gay marriage was not secure because its justification could be undercut if the federal government grants the same benefits to civil-unionized couples as married ones. But many advocates said the legislation (S3109) would add religious restrictions that are not addressed by the court decision, originally concessions made to win votes for an earlier version of the legislation.

“They don’t want any kind of religious exemption, so out of respect for that, I will (pull the bill),” Weinberg said. “There’s a disparate group of people and it’s hard to follow what they want, so I’m following Lambda Legal.”

Weinberg said she favors writing the ruling into law, but that “doing nothing” appears to be what many advocates want. Assembly Democrats also said last week that they were not on board with the state Senate bill.


  1. Mike Ryan says

    And so be it. We cannot allow religious groups an exemption to discriminate. The State either approves equality and heralds into law what is right or it doesn’t and remains for the nation to view as a State of bigotry and discrimination. The choice is theirs.

  2. q says

    Good. It’s ridiculous that my Marriage ‘loses it’s validity’ because some stupid fool who believes in sky fairies thinks my marriage makes him/her/they uncomfortable.

    It’s none of their DAMN business who I choose to marry.

    If their Hetero marriage was subject to as much ‘religious regulation’ as mine is, THEY would never stand for it.

    The religious right in this country is neither.

  3. QJ201 says

    The religious exemptions are not needed as religious institutions have complete freedom to only perform marriages “they approve of” under current law. This is why my mom got remarried in the Episcopal Church and not the Catholic Church.

    Also to include them may get into the quagmire of religious charities that TAKE PUBLIC MONEY to provide community services refusing to recognize same sex marriages when couples try to access services.

  4. Kathleen O'Neill says

    I couldn’t quite follow the train of legalities here, but from what I know of Senator Weinberg, she didn’t just cave without being able to accept (even if not completely agree with) Lambda Legal’s reasoning.

    From the book “What’s Love Go to Do With It?” which she co-authored with State Senator Lesniak, Senator Weinberg has been more tireless in her efforts towards marriage equality than a good many of the people who are personally affected by it.

    That being said, I imagine she feels the same as I do, huffing, pursing lips, shaking head, and wondering why the “religious” right believes God to be made in their images, and not the other way around: a sexually obsessed Divine air traffic controller, whose only concerns revolve around who puts what into who else and what else, and why and how they do it.

    Hideously ungrammatical, but to try to sort out the who’s, what’s, why’s, where’s and how;s would be worse than untangling Christmas tree lights. And why on earth would someone feel the need or desire to untangle lights not belonging to them?

    I can only speak about the Catholic Church, but I know it has ALWAYS made a huge deal about the difference between being married in a Catholic church, and being married anywhere else, which they do not consider as married for Catholics. According to my husband, who is far more church savvy than I am, “anywhere else” goes for other churches, as well as civil ceremonies. So it seems hypocritical to suddenly object to marriages they don’t consider valid in the first pace, and at which they do not need to officiate. Especially not when these marriages might very well involve couples other than Catholics.

    I must say, right now, I’m enjoying the thought of all the church hierarchy, heads about to blow off, at the scandalous new Pontiff, who actually makes a connection between Christ and Christian.

  5. Non-Negociable says

    Seems like ‘bargaining’ after the fact. Christie refused to allow a legislative solution, so he got a judicial one instead, and on less favorable terms. Absolutely no reason to placate the squealing religious bigots now. Should’ve come to the negotiating table and found a way to address everyone’s interests. Instead they held out, gambled, and lost. Let them swallow THAT for x-mas pudding.

  6. anon says

    They need enough votes to override a Christie veto and that means Republican votes. So, now the bill won’t pass.

  7. Daniel Berry, NYC says

    “Want to do something stupid and mean? Claim your religion makes you do it.”

    Right on, Joel – in fact, if somebody does something stupid and mean, chances are their religion DID make them do it.

  8. says

    Better to leave it as is rather than give the religious their special passes to discriminate. Marriage equality will be secure in NJ without the bill. Even if the federal government somehow determined that same-sex couples in CUs are also eligible for federal benefits, there will be many gay couples already married in NJ and trying to go backwards won’t fly. The bigots didn’t get their way there and they won’t.

  9. Diego says

    Yes yes… if you can’t have it your way just yell and pout and scream until you do. What do you think you are, Christians?