In an email sent to his members in the 11th Legislative District this afternoon, Garden State Equality President Steve Goldstein apologized for endorsing Assemblywoman Mary Pat Angelini in last November’s election.
Angelini, who has been very supportive of the gay lobbying group was absent for the Assembly vote on the Marriage Equality and Religious Exemptions Act on Thursday. The bill passed 42-33 with two Democrats voting NO.
Angelini was on vacation, celebrating her 25th wedding anniversary in Jamaica, according to Goldstein’s email.
Goldstein said that he and two other GSE members met with the Assemblywoman on Friday, February 10th in an attempt to persuade her to cut her vacation short in order to be present of the vote. Angelini refused stating that the bill had the votes to pass anyway and in the unexpected event that it failed, it would be voted on again in a matter of weeks.
Goldstein, and “an avalanche of calls and emails” said it did not matter that the bill had enough votes to pass:
Dear members, as so many of you have told us through your avalance of calls and emails, it shouldn’t matter whether or not Mary Pat’s vote was needed. She is elected to vote in the legislature, and certainly elected to vote on the biggest issues of the day – perhaps the biggest issue of all time to so many in her district like you. If you are a public servant, there are absoluely times to have personal lives. Was this really one of them, especially when the legislature will be on break in a month?
Goldstein said that the group was “deeply pained” by Angelini’s absence.
Goldstein said he received more calls and emails filled with “deep pain and anger” than he received after Sean Kean’s 2009 vote against a similar bill and Kean’s “remarkably insensitive speech” about that vote. The calls and emails suggested that GSE extract a written promise from Angelini that she will vote to override Governor Christie’s veto and that she work on other Republican legislators to do the same.
Goldstein’s entire email can be read here.
Asked to comment, Angelini said she had not seen the email. MMM forwarded it to her. This post will be update if she comments.
In addition to the comments about Angelini, Goldstein praised Senator Jennifer Beck for her work in support of the gay marriage bill. He also promised to make up for GSE’s endorsement of Angelini to Vin Gopal, one of Angelini’s opponents last November, in his upcoming race against Marlboro Councilman Frank LaRocca for the Monmouth County Democratic Chairmanship.