Why the vote in NJ Senate mattered in the long run

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.

On October 27, 2010, Joe was one of five bloggers who interviewed President Obama. Joe is a DC-based political consultant with over twenty-five years of experience at both the state and federal level. Joe has managed political operations and legislative efforts for both candidates and issues-based organizations. For seven years, he was the Director of State Legislation at Handgun Control, Inc. He served as that organization's first Political Director during the 2000 cycle. Joe is a graduate of the University of Maine School of Law. In addition, he has a Masters in Public Administration from Lehigh University and received his B.A. from the University of New Hampshire. Joe also has a fun dog, Petey, a worthy successor to Boomer, who got Joe through eight years of Bush and Cheney. Joe likes to think he is a world class athlete having finished the 2005 Chicago Marathon in the time of 4:10. He has completed six other marathons as well -- and is still determined to break the four hour mark.

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