Could Gay Marriage Be An Issue In The U.S. Senate Race?
In an email to his membership this afternoon, Garden State Equality President Steven Goldstein claimed that the New Jersey State Legislature is close to overriding Governor Chris Christie’s veto of the Marriage Equality and Religious Exemptions Act:
This has already been the most productive year in our organization’s history. We passed marriage equality through both houses of the legislature, and quickly followed that up with the passage and signing into law of a new school bullying bill. In recent weeks, we’ve been laying the groundwork to achieve marriage equality through an override of Governor Christie’s veto. Since the legislature voted to pass marriage equality in February, we’ve won over another couple of legislators to our side. If you signed up to form an Override Club of your friends and neighbors in your legislative district to help us strategize and organize for marriage equality locally, we’ll be calling you soon.
Friends, we are closer to seeing marriage equality become law in New Jersey than we ever thought would be possible under a Governor opposed to marriage equality. I swear to God, if someone would have told me a couple of years ago – when we all assumed we’d have to wait until another Governor to win – that we could be this unbelievably close this soon, frankly I’d have told them they were crazy. Our momentum is stunning. Our dream is in our grasp. And we have you to thank. You never stopped believing. Together, we have never let up.
“It’s not happening,” said a GSE sympathiser who asked not to be identified, “Steve must be trying to gin up his troops or raise money. An override is less likely now than it was in February.”
Gay marriage was a hot topic in New Jersey in January and February when the legislature’s Democratic leadership declared the issue was their “top priority” for this legislative session. Yet since the Marriage Equality and Religious Exemptions Act was passed by both the Senate and Assembly without a sufficient majority to override Governor Christie’s veto the issue has quieted.
Christie, while declaring his belief that marriage is bond between one man and one woman, acknowledged that many disagree with him and called for a statewide referendum to decide the issue by way of Constitutional Amendment.
Despite independent polls indicating that gay marriage is gaining support within the New Jersey electorate, the Democrats want nothing to do with a referendum, nobly declaring that the issue is one of civil rights that should not be subject to majority rule. Privately they fear losing a referendum and the impact the ballot question would have on this year’s election.
Goldstein’s claims to the contrary, gay marriage is not likely to be a hot issue in New Jersey politics for the rest of this year, unless it becomes an a topic of debate in the U.S. Senate race between Democratic Senator Bob Menendez and his likely GOP challenger State Senator Joe Kyrillos.
Menendez has come out strongly for a federal bill that would give same sex couples the right to marry. Kyrillos believes marriage is between one man and one woman, favors equal rights through civil unions and stands with Christie on his call for a referendum to decide the issue.