New Jersey votes on marriage equality

Timothy Kincaid

January 7th, 2010

Today the full New Jersey Senate voted on a bill to provide the same legal protections, responsibilities, and recognition to same-sex couples that it offers to opposite-sex couples. As expected, the full Senate voted against marriage equality 20 – 14. To pass, the bill needed 21 votes, seven more than it received.

(for the record, Sen. Teresa Ruiz nearly brought me to tears)

What this means in practical terms is that New Jersey will not have marriage equality for the four (or eight) years of Chris Christie’s governance. Or, I suppose, until two thirds of the senate is committed to marriage and can overturn a veto.

However, we finally have a tally of those who believe in equality under the law and those who believe that our lives, our relationships, and our citizenship are inferior to their own. I’ll bring you the roll call once I know it.

It is quite likely that support for the idea of marriage in New Jersey will continue to grow. At some point I think it likely that the no vote of some Senators today will cost them their career.

Let’s try and make that sooner rather than later.


January 7th, 2010

I know they are going to back to the supreme court. the court said that the legislature could enact marriage or civil unions as long as the rights were the same. the effect of civil unions is not the same due to the ERISA issue alone. I’m not sure if that is a winning argument since ERISA is a federal issue. Does anyone know what the likelihood of this argument prevailing is?

David C.

January 7th, 2010

The bill was defeated 20 to 14. Obviously, more work will be needed in NJ. This is not over.

Scott J Bouza

January 7th, 2010

Seems to me that the NJ legislature is in violation of a couer order. The civil union statute cannot be fixed in any way as to allow for all the same rights and benefits as hetero couples get. That was the courts mandate, to create an equal institution to marriage. They can call it what they want bit it MUST have all the SAME RIGHT & BENEFITS. It doesn’t and can’t be fixed so it does, thus the NJ legislature is now in contempt of court and should be held to the same punishment as we would be.


January 7th, 2010

Does anyone know what the likelihood of this argument prevailing is?

The state courts will probably say they can’t remedy a federal problem.

I think what is possible to obtain is the full rights package and due enforcement under state law. Aka full/proper civil unions. The opponents really don’t have a legitimate case against the conferral of those rights- only bigotry, really.

The term “marriage” carries the implicit of approval by society at large. The opponents have acted in such a way as to force the proponents to get 50%+1 popular support in almost every case of legalization (the exception being Iowa). Ignoring for a moment the quality of the reasons for opposition, that is not necessarily unreasonable.

Looking at the quality of the reasons for opposition, it is very hard to suppress contempt and disgust at them and people who claim them. I guess a consolation of sorts, or thing to keep in mind, is that the true value of heterosexual marriage is morally adulterated by the corrupt supposed support of these very same people, who fetishize it. Gay marriage thus forces an improvement in the social integrity and value of hetero marriage.


January 7th, 2010

Here is the reason we lose:

– GOP pro-equality votes in NY senate – 0

– GOP pro-equality votes in NJ senate – 1

– GOP vote on Maine’s Question 1 – 75%-25% in favor of Q1

This is an abysmal showing in 3 northeastern, moderate-to-liberal states. I am not suggesting that we can ever win a majority of GOP votes, but there is simply no sustainable way to win with that level of GOP support. There aren’t many jurisdictions like Washington DC where we can completely discount the GOP.

We need to ask the Log Cabin Republicans exactly what the hell they have been doing to fix this and we need to start working with them or some more competent equivalent group instead of vilifying and mocking them. We also need to develop arguments that will appeal to GOP voters. If Maine GOP’ers had voted 60-40 against us instead of 75-25, we would have won.

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