Main | Monday, January 05, 2009

NJ Marriage Equality Close (But Also, Far)

All the right people are on board for marriage equality to happen right now in New Jersey, but feet are being dragged due to 2009 being an election year for state legislators.
The governor promised to sign marriage-equality legislation when it reaches his desk. The question is whether state lawmakers will present him with the opportunity. “Politics will play a role in whether it actually gets posted to a committee,” said Assemblyman Reed Gusciora, a Democrat from Princeton and the deputy majority leader, who sponsored a gay marriage bill. “With the Assembly up this November, there will be a lot of members unlikely to get involved with such a polarizing issue.”

Opponents of gay marriage have pledged to make it an issue in the 2009 election. Len Deo, president of the New Jersey Family Policy Council, said his organization believed that some New Jerseyans might support same-sex marriage but that a majority do not want to see marriage redefined in the process. Some veteran political strategists say lawmakers are reluctant to have voters think they have taken their eyes off the state’s grave fiscal situation. With residents losing jobs and facing foreclosure and the prospect of higher property taxes, they do not want to appear sidetracked. “There could be a backlash,” said Harold Hodes, a Democratic strategist. “There are other issues that are more pressing at this time.”
Last month New Jersey's Civil Union Review Commission issued a report declaring civil unions to be an unsuccessful compromise.

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