Monday, December 7, 2009

marriage equality clears 1st hurdle in NJ

Breaking news on the New Jersey marriage equality bill--- it made it out of the judiciary committee on a 7-6 vote. While I REALLY wanted to be in Trenton today to witness this firsthand, I am not in very good health right now, and it was better off that I did not get a large group of people sick. Maybe I will go Thursday when the bill will be voted on, but that depends on other things too.

To all who testified, thank you. If given the opportunity, I would have testified by reading the blog entry from about a month ago that was widely quoted. It's very hard to imagine how important the issue of marriage equality is when you are straight like me. To me this is about letting all my friends have the same right to get married as me-- at least in New Jersey. In my mind marriage is a civil right, and the United States Supreme Court agrees with me on this, or they did a generation ago.

Now for the heroes and goats of tonight's committee hearing on the marriage equality bill. I'll start with the goats.

Paul Sarlo (D)-- Senator, thank you for allowing the bill to be voted on out of committee, but please reconsider your position (relative to your party) when it comes to voting for all families. This is a direct quote from his website "TRENTON – Senator Paul A. Sarlo, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, today posted S-1967, the Marriage Equality Act, on the Judiciary Committee’s December 7th agenda, keeping a pledge he made to supporters of the act, but reiterated that he does not support the legislation and will vote against it."
This vote may cost you your job, and if you vote no again I really hope that you face a strong primary challenger in your bid for re-election in 2011.

John Girgenti (D)-- Another Democrat who voted no on the bill. Again listen to his constituents and be prepared to face a primary challenger.

Jennifer Beck (R)-- I thought that you would be one of the few Republicans to come on board and support full civil rights for all couples wishing to get married. The 12th district has a lot of supporters of marriage equality, especially in municipalities like Red Bank. There may be a possibility that her vote could be flipped--- I urge everyone to call and email her right now 732-933-1591,

Gerald Cardinale (R)-- probably the most vocal opponent of marriage equality in New Jersey. Reading some of the things he said, I might as well have been reading a fundamentalist Christian publication or Sarah Palin's book. Does he realize that New Jersey is not Oklahoma? I don't know anything about his district, but he's one senator I'd love to see defeated.

And now for the heroes of marriage equality-- part one.

Loretta Weinberg (D)-- She was Jon Corzine's running mate this November. And after seeing her in action tonight, I think that we could have pulled this election off if she were on the top of the ticket. Senator Weinberg-- even though I am not your constituent, I wish I was. Thank you from all of New Jersey, and keep up the good work.

Ray Lesniak (D)-- Another strong supporter of marriage equality, who also lead the battle to abolish the death penalty in New Jersey. Sees this as an important piece of civil rights legislation that will move New Jersey forward.

Bill Baroni (R)-- Thank you for going against your party's best interests and with yours and your consitutents interests. We need more Republicans like you. Thank you.

And to the other Democrats who voted yes today, thank you. Thank you for showing a spine and doing the right thing.

One last thanks goes out to the great folks at Blue Jersey, without you guys I would not have been following this debate the way I did. Thanks for providing me with a venue to see the debate unfold.

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