The New Jersey State Senate failed to provide marriage equality yesterday. But, that vote gives our side an opportunity to go back to the New Jersey Supreme Court. Charles Stile at NorthJersey.com explained:
The 2006 court decision, which led to the civil union law, punted on the question of marriage and said it was for the Legislature to decide.
Well, the Democratic process has, for all intents and purposes, run its course. That makes the tally sheet of Thursday’s vote an important document: It puts a final stamp on a legislative process that failed to comply with the court order. Gay marriage advocates believe the court will be more likely to answer the question of “marriage” instead of deferring to the Legislature.
“Along the way, a lot of folks asked, well if there is a shot that you might lose, why would you call for a vote today?” said Steven Goldstein, director of Garden State Equality, the chief group lobbying for the bill. “The answer is … that there is conclusive proof that the legislative process has been exhausted. And the Legislature failed its state constitutional duty to provide equal protection under the law.”
Along the way, Senators admitted that civil unions weren’t equal to marraige, providing additional evidence.
Stile had one priceless tidbit in his report:
As [Chairman of the right-wing, anti-gay Family Policy Council Leo] Deo fielded questions from the press in a State House conference room, he was briefly interrupted by Goldstein, who returned to the room to look for his coat. Goldstein then turned to Deo, grabbed him, and gave him a couple of good-natured smooches on his cheek. “Chill out!” Goldstein said to the embarrassed combatant.
It was not a farewell kiss. It was just a way of needling a respected enemy whom he will battle again, quite possibly for years to come.