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04/19/2007


Status Update on Marriage Equality in New Jersey

Njmarriage 

Approximately 250 gay rights activists marched to the New Jersey state house in Trenton yesterday for a meeting of the Senate Judiciary Committee, NJ Politicker reports

Goldstein "Garden State Equality activists just mobilized at their West State Street headquarters, received a megaphone buck-up from their leader, Steven Goldstein, and headed for the Statehouse'. We progressives are fired up, and not just the gays,' Goldstein said in a weekend email blast to supporters, which he amplified here this morning. 'If the Democrats don't enact marriage equality now, after years of telling us to wait, it will cause a huge schism between the state Democratic party and its entire progressive base,' he added. 'And it could change the political landscape of New Jersey permanently.'"

Watch highlights from Garden State Equality's press conference, AFTER THE JUMP...

Here is where things stand in the legislature:

Weinberg The Asbury Park Press:

"Christie, a practicing Catholic, has said he would veto a gay marriage bill. Outgoing Gov. Jon Corzine, a socially liberal Democrat, has said he would sign such a bill. A poll released last week showed that New Jerseyans narrowly support gay marriage. But enthusiasm for the bill has waned since Christie, a social conservative, beat Corzine by 100,000 votes on Nov. 3. The election was widely viewed as a referendum on high property taxes, strangling state debt and continued unemployment, making some lawmakers skittish about taking on a potentially divisive issue like marriage equality. Gay rights activists lobbied at the Statehouse on Monday, calling on lawmakers to post the bill for a vote and threatening to withhold support to Democrats who don't back the measure. At a protest outside the Statehouse, activists said civil unions — currently allowed in New Jersey — do not offer the same protections of marriage...After a private meeting among Democratic senators, bill co-sponsor Sen. Loretta Weinberg insisted the gay marriage bill isn't dead. She said discussions would continue, tamping down persistent chatter that the measure lacks support to pass. Legislative leaders have said they won't post the bill for a vote unless it has at least 21 votes in the Senate and 41 in the Assembly."

The NYT: Sweeney

"Some Democratic legislative leaders — including the majority leader, Stephen M. Sweeney, who will become Senate president in January — have said that they view Governor Corzine’s loss as a gauge of the public’s unease with the troubled economy, and fear that voters might resent elected officials who appear distracted by social issues. He said he did not think this was the right time to enact the bill. Other Democrats worried that if they passed a same-sex-marriage bill while Mr. Corzine was on his way out of office, they might anger voters, energize Mr. Christie’s conservative base and alienate socially traditional Democrats. With Mr. Christie scheduled to take office on Jan. 19, supporters of the proposal are under pressure to move quickly. Lawmakers and gay-rights advocates say they are confident they can get the measure through the General Assembly. But Senate Democrats met to discuss the measure on Monday and — despite intense lobbying from a coalition of gay-rights advocates and other groups — did not schedule it for a vote, because they appeared unable to muster the 21 votes needed to pass it."

And here's some related news. The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) said in a press release it has $500,000 to spend on a radio ad against marriage equality in the state:

Brown "The ad, 'Give Me a Break,' underscores that Gov. Jon Corzine had four years to push a gay marriage bill, and the losing governor should not waste legislators’ valuable time by pushing a gay marriage bill in the lame duck session when New Jersey voters expect elected officials to focus on far more urgent priorities, like jobs, the economy and the budget. 'In the next two weeks NOM will spend $300,000 in voter outreach on the theme of this ad, including radio ad buys, direct mail, and online advertising,' said Brian Brown. 'We have reserved an additional $200,000 for advertising and direct mail outreach if the legislature continues to spend more and more of its time into December fooling around with a vote for gay marriage that New Jersey voters do not want.' The latest installment in NOM's New Jersey campaign will bring the total NOM has spent in New Jersey in 2009 in automated calling, radio and television ads, and direct mail voter outreach to more than $1 million."

Listen to the ad HERE.

Sjc Watch a video of the crowd at the Senate Judiciary Committee meeting and the Garden State Equality press conference, AFTER THE JUMP...

A YouTube commenter writes of the peek inside the Senate Judiciary Committee chamber: "I find it interesting that so many of the same-sex marriage supporters are left to stand. It may have been their choice, but it is not obvious. It makes me imagine a time, maybe 40 years ago, when mostly black inter racial marriage supporters might have been in that room. My guess is that they would have been expected to stand as well while the defenders of the status quo sat in the ordered chairs like they belonged there."

Continue reading "Status Update on Marriage Equality in New Jersey" »


NJ Lawmaker: Not Enough Votes to Address Marriage Equality Bill

Doubt has been cast on the chances of marriage equality being brought for a vote in New Jersey by the time Governor Jon Corzine leaves office at the end of January. State senator Paul Sarlo says he won't vote on the bill in the Senate Judiciary Committee unless he knows the votes are there:

Sarlo "The Bergen County Democrat said that, currently, the bill does not have sufficient support in the committee for a recommendation to the Senate. 'Today, as I stand here, we do not have the votes in the Judiciary Committee,' Sarlo said after he and Gov.-elect Chris Christie toured the Xanadu entertainment complex under construction in the Meadowlands. 'Until somebody can demonstrate that we have the votes in the Judiciary Committee, it will not be posted.' Gay rights activists are pushing lawmakers to adopt a bill before Corzine leaves office in January. Corzine has said he would sign the legislation to allow same-sex unions. But Gov.-elect Christie has said he would veto such a bill.' I'm not going to put people in harm's way where they have to vote 'yes' or 'no' when we don't have the votes to get it out (of committee),' Sarlo said Friday. The bill must clear the Judiciary Committee before it can be voted on by the Senate. There, Senate President Richard Codey would control whether it is put to a vote. It also must be voted on by the Assembly before it goes to the governor."

Another question: Will Governor-elect Chris Christie insert himself into the process?

New Jersey has been allowing same-sex couple to enter into civil unions since February 2007.


Garden State Equality Debuts New Jersey Marriage Equality Ads

Gardenstate

Looking anti-gay Republican Chris Christie's victory square in the face, two new ads from New Jersey's gay group Garden State Equality have debuted.

The ads feature a straight woman named Emilia talking about how gays should have the right to marry, and a lesbian couple of 20 years talking about the inadequacy of civil unions as it applies to health insurance and their special needs children, one of whom died in July.

Marriage Equality's chances in New Jersey have a very small window in the near term — the remainder of Jon Corzine's stay in office. It's possible that Corzine could squeeze a bill through by the end of the year but there is no doubt anti-gay forces will be emboldened by the Christie win.

Watch them, AFTER THE JUMP...

Help Garden State Equality keep them on the air here.

Continue reading "Garden State Equality Debuts New Jersey Marriage Equality Ads" »


NJ Gov Jon Corzine Talks Marriage Equality at Pride in Asbury Park

Corzine

New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine took his stump speech to Asbury Park's Pride celebration on Sunday and promised marriage equality for the state.

Said Corzine: "You might know there's a little election coming up in about 148 days and six hours. And you know what? Marriage equality is on the ballot. Are you going to help us make it come to pass in New Jersey? This is fundamental to what we are about as a country, what we are about as a people. Human rights, civil rights are absolutely key. In God's eyes we are all one people. And we need to recognize that and behave that way on the Earth as we will in eternity. It is important that we make sure we stand up for everybody's rights and I'm going to be the governor that will bring that to the State of New Jersey if you'll help me this fall."

Watch it, AFTER THE JUMP...

Jeremy at Good As You notes that his GOP challenger Chris Christie couldn't be more wrong on the issue.

Continue reading "NJ Gov Jon Corzine Talks Marriage Equality at Pride in Asbury Park" »


Smith, Olbermann, Corzine, Schumer and Gillibrand at NY HRC Dinner

Hrc

New York Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann, New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine, and Senator Chuck Schumer all spoke at the Human Rights Campaign's New York dinner over the weekend. Newly-appointed Senator Kirsten Gillibrand also sent a taped message.

Gillibrand_2I posted about Smith's remarks earlier this week. Said Smith: "I know one of your top priorities is the recognition of marriage between same-sex couples — something that I strongly support, something that I believe in and something that we will make happen together...Although we do not have the number of votes at this time needed to pass the marriage equality gender bill this legislative session, we are committed to pursuing its passage. And the question is not if; the question is when. So our work still needs to happen for it to happen this year. But I’m going to need your help, and I’m going to need your prayers."

You can watch all of them, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Smith, Olbermann, Corzine, Schumer and Gillibrand at NY HRC Dinner " »


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