Over the weekend, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported that New Jersey’s Governor, Jon Corzine, has made support for marriage equality a key part of his re-election effort:
Gov. Corzine has made “marriage equality” for gays and lesbians a prominent piece of his reelection campaign, taking another step in his conversion on the issue and encouraging gay-rights advocates who hope to see same-sex marriage approved in New Jersey this year.
In public speeches and private appearances, Corzine, who as recently as 2006 said he believed marriage should be between a man and a woman, has touted his support of same-sex marriage.
In raising the issue, he has tried to draw a bright-line divide with his Republican opponent, Christopher J. Christie, who has said he would veto a bill allowing gay and lesbian couples to wed.
“We believe that government should allow people the freedom to marry whomever they love,” Corzine said in his general-election kickoff speech June 2.
This isn’t an academic exercise in New Jersey. The state legislature will be taking a vote on marriage during the New Jersey Legislature’s lame-duck session — meaning after the November elections. A win by Corzine will give great momentum to that legislation. A loss to right-winger, anti-equality Chris Christie…well, let’s not go there. Corzine has to win. Not many elected officials have run vocally on the marriage issue — especially state-wide.
After what we’ve been through the past couple weeks, I’ll admit to being skeptical of politicians who are cozying up to “the gays.” But, pro-actively campaigning on marriage equality by a governor who can help make it happen — that gets my attention. Corzine wants to make marriage equality an issue in this race. As important, Garden State Equality, the NJ-based LGBT equality organization, has endorsed Corzine quite strongly — and they’re hard-asses (in a good way). From a Garden State Equality email:
When Garden State Equality endorses a candidate, as we’ve done in endorsing Governor Corzine for reelection, we don’t do so out of reflexive loyalty to any one political party.
The reality is, most Democrats are overwhelmingly better than most Republicans on LGBT and all other civil rights issues. That’s why Garden State Equality usually endorses Democrats.
But where a Democrat takes our support for granted, or where a Republican is better than a Democrat on our issues, we say so loudly. Just last week, you’ll recall, we strongly criticized President Obama for his disappointing record on LGBT issues.
And over the years, we have endorsed members of both political parties.
But in the 2009 election for Governor, there is no contest: Corzine by a mile.
By a mile.
You can watch video of Governor Corzine campaigning at a gay pride event — and making it very, very clear he supports marriage equality here. It’s pretty clear that Corzine himself — unprompted — is the one making marriage an issue. He wants to talk about it. He’s not coming up with convoluted excuses, like so many pols do. This is the future. And, more Democratic candidates need to stand up and be upfront about their support for what’s right.
Importantly, Corzine isn’t just talking about marriage in front of LGBT audiences. As the Inquirer piece noted, Corzine made a pro-marriage equality statement in his June 2nd primary night victory speech. At the about the :30 mark, watch Joe Biden clap right along as Corzine talks about marriage equality:
Now, we need to see Biden clapping behind Obama when he finally endorses marriage equality.