By Dan Jacobson, originally published in the June 30th edition of the triCityNews
Time for Jennifer Beck to face the music on same sex marriage. And the recently-engaged Republican Senator will soon have a lot of explaining to do.
With New York voting for marriage equality, the focus will shift to New Jersey where our state Senate voted down same sex marriage two years ago.
Beck, to her shame, voted against it. And all 16 Republican Senators in office today oppose marriage equality.
Of course, it’s politics. Republicans must appease their right wing on social issues – just as Democrats must do with their left wing on economic issues. That’s what pisses everyone off. The total bullshit of it all. You can’t tell me 100 percent of those Senate Republicans in Trenton personally oppose marriage equality.
And no way does Beck, despite her vote.
Jennifer kept her mouth shut during the floor debate on the issue. And her letter to constituents explaining her vote never stated she personally opposed marriage equality – only that she voted according to the sentiment of her legislative district.
Well, the Senator now has a new district with new constituents. She’s in the newly gerrymandered 11thDistrict, which for the first time includes Red Bank, Long Branch and Asbury Park. I call it the triCity district. (I’m running in the same district as an Independent for state Assembly.) The 11th District also includes Ocean Township, Neptune and Ocean Grove, among other places.
Suddenly, Senator Beck has a sizeable gay and lesbian population among her constituents. Probably the largest in any legislative district in the state. So this ought to be interesting. After all, in Jennifer’s world the moral issue of same sex marriage is decided by what’s best to do politically. Or in the language of politicians: “Representing the will of my constituents.” So what will she do now?
As Beck spends more time in Asbury Park and Ocean Grove, and other places in her new district with a gay population, she’ll feel like a total fool. There is no way this otherwise progressive Republican woman – she’s also pro-choice – is personally opposed to marriage equality. No way. And everyone knows it.
So consider this. If a politician doesn’t have the guts to vote what they believe on a moral issue – remember we’re talking about issues of morality here – how can we ever expect them to do the right thing on anything else?
Obviously, marriage equality isn’t the most important issue facing the state government – it’s all economic issues right now – but I’ve always considered it a big deal. It’s outrageous that there still exists such bigotry against my friends and neighbors here in Asbury Park, and that politicians are afraid to stand up to it. And it says so much about those we elect.
Lots of readers know that Beck and I are long-time close friends. And the triCityNews has backed her since she was unknown and unelected and taking on the Democratic machine up in Red Bank. That’s where she made her name. So when I win my Assembly race in November, the two of us will be spending lots of time together. Driving to Trenton, going to local events, meeting on issues of concern to the 11th District.
And I will hound her every second until she changes her position on the marriage equality issue. Because it’s a complete joke – really a disgrace – to watch her stand there and say she will vote against it again. I’m not buying it for one second. And friends don’t let friends make asses of themselves.
So Beck might as well get it over with and change her stance now. She’s not going to lose this election in November, and the next one is four years away. Her only vulnerability would be in a GOP primary against a right-wing social conservative. And even that she’d win in this moderate district.
Then again, if Beck lost a Republican primary because of supporting marriage equality, so what? It’s the right thing to do. You don’t play games on moral issues. Or else you’ll end up looking like those southern bigots of the 1960s who opposed interracial marriage.
That will be Beck’s legacy if she sticks with this position. Bet most of those clowns opposing interracial marriage didn’t care either way – hey, it was just politics. Like Beck is doing today. If she doesn’t switch her position soon in her new district, this issue will haunt her down the road. As it should. Better to do it sooner than later, when it would look like she was just trying to avoid the issue until it comes up again for a vote.
A special mention is due here to Republican Assemblywoman Mary Pat Angelini, who is Beck’s running mate and the only Republican in Trenton I know who supports marriage equality. I’ve long saluted Mary Pat in these pages for taking that stand. What a great reflection of great character on her part.
Interestingly, in the contest for the two Assembly seats in the 11thDistrict, four of the five candidates – Mary Pat, myself and Democrats Marilyn Schlossbach and Vin Gopal – all support same sex marriage. So does Beck’s Democratic opponent Raymond Santiago.
Jennifer’s conduct on this issue has been disgusting long enough. It’s time to end it. She’d be the first Republican in the current state Senate to change her stand, and do what’s right. Jennifer would join Mary Pat Angelini as a leader in the Republican Party on this issue.
Of course, we’d be happy to make these pages available for Beck’s announcement supporting marriage equality. There’s no better venue for Jennifer to set everything right.
After all, we’re the triCityNews. We’re here to help.
(The new 11thDistrict – where everyone mentioned in this article is running – includes Asbury Park, Long Branch, Red Bank, Ocean Township, Neptune, Neptune City, Interlaken, Deal, Allenhurst, Loch Arbour, West Long Branch, Eatontown, Shrewsbury Borough, Shrewsbury Township, Tinton Falls, Colts Neck, Freehold Township and Freehold Borough.)
Editors note: As Dan Jacobson appears to be submitting his triCityNews publisher’s column to MMM on a weekly basis, this is a good time to remind readers and writers that all are welcome to submit material to MMM. It has always been that way but is worth repeating. Send your stuff to artvg @ aol .com