Senator Jennifer Beck and Assemblywoman Mary Pat Angelini told representatives of Garden State Equality that they would vote to override a gubernatorial veto of a Same Sex Marriage bill, should such an opportunity come before them in the next legislature. The incumbent Republican legislators were being interviewed for GSE’s endorsement in the 11th legislative district election yesterday at Monmouth University.
Assemblywoman Caroline Casagrande, Beck and Angelini’s running mate, did not attend the interviews due to a family commitment. She spoke with GSE privately today. Casagrande has not yet taken a position on gay marriage.
Beck, who has previously voted against Marriage Equality in the Senate, was unabashed in her commitment to cast an override vote. Angelini, who has long supported same sex marriage rights, was reluctant say she would vote to override Governor Christie’s veto, but finally did so, according to sources who were in the room.
Garden State Equality’s President Steven Goldstein would not say if the women’s pledge would result in the organization’s endorsement. “Those commitments are being taken into consideration as we complete our evaluation process,” Goldstein said. He indicated that the endorsements would be forthcoming later this week.
Beck is competing with Freehold Township attorney Ray Santiago, the Democratic nominee for Senate. Both support same sex marriage.
Angelini and Casagrande are competing with Democrats Vin Gopal,Red Bank Councilwoman Kathy Horgan and Independent Dan Jacobson, all marriage equality advocates. Jacobson told GSE that they should endorse Angelini because she is the only Republican in the Assembly who has supported their cause.
Beck told MMM that gay marriage is one of the very few issues with which she differs with the governor, “I support him 99.99999%, but we differ on this issue.”
“We all believed that civil unions would provide equal rights,” said Beck, “but that has turned out not to be the case for many people. I was very conflicted over my Senate vote against marriage equality because I personally believe in it, yet I voted against the bill because I felt the majority of my district was against it. I believe the majority of my new district is more open minded and in favor of equal rights.”
Angelini has not responded to MMM’s call for comment. However, Beck said she understood her running mate’s reticence to pledge to override Christie’s veto. “It is not an easy decision. We all have great respect and admiration for Governor Christie, personally and politically. He is a great leader. ”
Beck also noted that the bill recently passed in New York giving same sex couples the right to marriage has stronger protections for religious institutions than the bill that came before the New Jersey legislature during the 2009-2010 lame duck session. Beck said she would only support a bill that had such protections.