Without Vin Gopal, Kucinich Loses Congressional Seat

Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich lost his primary race last night to Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur.  Kucinich and Kaptur were forced to face each other as a result of redistricting.

Kucinich’s former national campaign manager, Monmouth County’s Vin Gopal, was not involved in this defeat.

Gopal, a candidate for Assembly in New Jersey’s 11th district last year, is running for Monmouth County Democratic Chairman against Marlboro Councilman Frank LaRocca.

Kaptur will face Samuel Wurzelbacher, AKA “Joe the plumber” in the November general election.

Posted: March 7th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: 2012 Congressional Races, Monmouth Democrats | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Without Vin Gopal, Kucinich Loses Congressional Seat

Garden State Equality Apologizes For Endorsing Mary Pat Angelini

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.

Posted: February 18th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Marriage Equality and Religious Exemptions Act | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 17 Comments »

Kiss Your Own Damn Baby! And How To Garner 11% Of The Vote

By Tommy DeSeno, also published at ricochet.com

danwebadbaby1An old friend of mine is running for state Assembly in New Jersey.   He is an independent, and has one of the more interesting campaigns you will see.

Dan Jacobson served one term in the Assembly over 20 years ago when he was in his 20s – as a Democrat.

As a more mature adult today, he has thrown off the barbed reins of the Democratic dark side.  He now sees himself as fiscally conservative as the rest of us, ranting in his weekly newspaper (disclaimer – I used to rant in columns for it) about the problems with unions and politics, among other issues Republicans would like.  

On social issues he is a Libertarian, though a bit libertine for some tastes.  The only thing left of his old Democrat ways as far as I can tell is that Dan doesn’t seem to know what a baby is or where one hangs out the first 9 months of his or her life.

Which is probably why he won’t kiss yours.

What truly makes his campaign interesting is the way he runs it:  He takes no donations.   He seeks no endorsements.   He holds no rallies.  He has no staff.  He networks with no one. 

Truly independent!    His goal seems to be a campaign that isn’t one, by a candidate who refuses to be one; thus his refusal to honor the political tradition of kissing your baby. He wants to go to Trenton not owing anyone anything.  Good luck with that, Dan.

I once ran a political experiment and found that a truly independent candidate who runs only on issues and seeks no endorsements gets 11% of the vote.  That’s important  – every campaign manager in America should know that issues will garner 11% of the vote.  I predict Dan will get 11% of the vote. 

In the meantime, check out more of his funny newspaper ads that he has run about his campaign.  They are different, and it will make you smile that this campaign is real:


Posted: November 7th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Dan Jacobson | Tags: , , | 12 Comments »

What if we held an election and nobody cared? Part 1, 11th district

In seven weeks New Jersey voters will have the opportunity to elect an entirely new state legislature.

Patrick Murray’s Monmouth University/Neptune Nudniks poll conducted in August indicates that New Jersey voters disapprove of their legislature by a 48%-35% margin.  Democrats disapprove by 45%-38%.  Independents, the majority, disapprove by a whopping 50%-28%.  Surprisingly, Republicans approve of the legislature by a 45%-41% margin.  Public workers disapprove by 55%-26%.

Based solely on those poll results, one might expect that we’d be in the middle of a spirited campaign with Democrats and public workers rallying to throw the Republicans out of office.  Obviously that is not the case.  Democrats control the legislature that their base and Independents disapprove of strongly.

Due to Dr. Alan Rosenthal’s decision that New Jersey voters are better off being continuously represented by legislators they don’t know, there are only a handful of competitive legislative races.  The Democrats will continue to control the legislature for the next two years.  Probably the next ten years.

11th District

The 11th district race is the only local race that is remotely interesting, so far.

There are two reasons that it is interesting. Independent candidate Dan Jacobson is colorful and is wisely using MMM, as well as his own publication to generate interest in his campaign.  Republicans are not happy about this, but MMM has had a long standing policy welcoming voices other than Art Gallagher’s.  Democrats have foolishly ignored the opportunity for years despite Gallagher’s overt invitations.

The other reason that the 11th district race is interesting is that Senator Jennifer Beck made gay marriage an issue.  That’s right, Beck, not Jacobson, not MMM, gave gay marriage prominence in this race.  She did so when she told Gannett columnist Jane Roh that she would change her vote on the issue.

“There are lots of reasons why I ultimately voted no. My position has evolved. I spent a lot of time on this issue, and at the end of the day, I would support it if it came before me.”

The Democrats, jumped on Beck’s curiously timed  “flip-flop.”   She had given them an issue.

The issue heated up again when Beck told Garden State Equality that she would vote to override Governor Christie’s veto of same sex marriage if given the opportunity.  Put on the spot, Assemblywoman Mary Pat Angelini took the same position with some reluctance.

As a result, Beck and Angelini’s running mate, Assemblywoman Caroline Casagrande, is now in a tough spot.

Casagrande has been, ummm, straight, in how she has responded to the issue.  She could have remained silent and let people continue to assume that she was against gay marriage rather than say she has yet to take a position.   This has resulted in attacks by Jacobson, Olivia Nuzzi and other Democrats who scoff at Casagrande’s insistence that the issue is not simple and that the rights of religious organizations need to be respected as well.

Gay marriage advocates say they have no problem with religious rights being protected and that is no longer a valid reason to withhold support of marriage equality.  While that might be true now, it has not been true in the 11th district’s recent past.  The Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association lost the tax exempt status of its Pavilion in 2007 when it refused to allow a lesbian couple have a civil union ceremony there.  The Methodist organization told the couple they could have their ceremony on the boardwalk that is also owned by the group, but not in a structure where religious ceremonies are held.

That compromise wasn’t good enough and the couple complained to the State Division of Civil Rights.  Eventually, Lisa Jackson, Governor Corzine’s DEP Commissioner and now President Obama’s EPA Commissioner, declined to recertify the pavilion’s tax exempt status which the Camp Meeting Assoication had enjoyed under New Jersey’s  Green Acres program.   Reports indicate that the loss of tax exempt status for the structure cost the association about $20,000 per year.

New York’s recently enacted gay marriage law would have protected the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association from the lesbian couple’s complaint and from Jackson’s punitive action had it been law in New Jersey in 2007.   I’d be willing to bet that Jacobson, Nuzzi and the 11th district Democratic candidates did not know that before it reading here.  Garden State Equality was front in center in the 2007 fight against the Camp Meeting Association.  I’ve yet to hear a peep from them about the rights of the religious or the rights of the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association in particular with regard to gay marriages now that New York has set a new standard.

While the gay marriage issue is not going away, so long as Chris Christie is governor it is not a practical political issue for a legislative race.  While Democrats are expected to continue their hold on the legislature, there in not enough support from their side of the isle to override a veto.  Garden State Equality blew their chance to get a gay marriage law passed when they agreed to Governor Corzine’s request that they not push the issue until after his re-election race.

The importance of gay marriage to voters in the 11th district depends on who you believe.  Beck told MMM that Garden State Equality told her that there are 10,000 same sex couples in the 11th district.  I would would want to see a list and match it up to the voter registration records before I bought that claim.  There is no historical evidence of such a voting block.

Until I see such a list, I won’t be convinced the issue is as critical to 11th district voters as 6 of the 7 candidates running seem to think it is.  Its the economy and those who are trying to make the campaign about something other than the economy think the voters of the 11th district are stupid.

While all this chatter is fun, it won’t have much of an impact on election day.  Despite a 10,000 voter registration edge for the Democrats, Jacobson and the Democrats expect the Republicans to win a low turnout election by a wide margin.

Coming soon, What if we held an election and nobody cared?  Part 2, 13th district.

Posted: September 25th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Legislature, Monmouth County, NJ State Legislature | Tags: , , , , , , | 8 Comments »

Casagrande’s Cowardice

By Olivia Nuzzi

As noted here, six of LD11’s seven legislative candidates have come out in support of gay marriage. They include Democratic Senate candidate Ray Santiago, Democratic Assembly candidates Vin Gopal and Kathy Horgan, and independent Assembly candidate Dan Jacobson. 

Also on the list are Republicans Senator Jennifer “Romney” Beck and Assemblywoman Mary Pat Angelini, both of whom pledged – Angelini after significant hesitation – on September 18th during an interview with Garden State Equality at Monmouth University, to override Governor Christie’s veto of a same sex marriage bill should the opportunity arise in the next legislature. 

Conveniently, Caroline Casagrande, Beck and Angelini’s running mate, could not attend the event at Monmouth because she was busy with a “family commitment.” I suspect her family committed to travel far, far away from anyone asking her about gay marriage, an issue she has refused to take a stance on.

One of the many jobs of a public figure is to know a thing or two about public relations. Everybody, public figure or otherwise, knows that “no comment” is, more or less, always a confirmation. Evidently, no one forwarded that memo to Caroline Casagrande who has adopted a strict policy of “Don’t Ask me about gay marriage and I won’t Tell You a bunch of evasive nonsense.” 

Her refusal – while inexcusable – is understandable, given that without question, there are a significant number of voters in newly formed LD11 who are not going to agree with, accept or respect a politician who opposes gay marriage. However, no one can respect a coward. A coward, as it stands now, is precisely what Caroline Casagrande is.

If you want to be a social conservative, go ahead and be one – your base will revere you for it, and your ideological enemies will have no choice but to respectfully disagree. 

Instead of taking a stand, Ms. Casagrande has skirted around the issue of gay marriage, going as far as to employ Senator Sweeney’s regrettable history as a cop-out. 

By asking the “tough” questions that anybody who knows anything about the fight for marriage equality already knows the answer to, she is doing the best she can to make this seem complicated. “What about protections for religious institutions?” she challenged, as if the Big Bad Gays are planning to storm into Sunday mass to force the congregation to Vogue in unison. 

Ms. Casagrande is attempting to slide under the radar. She is hoping that this massive insult to the intelligence of those that she hopes to represent goes unnoticed. In adopting dishonesty as her policy, she has succeeded in fooling no one, she has merely made a fool of herself. 

You could call her running mate, Senator Jennifer “Romney” Beck, many things (a lobbyist or a liar, for instance), but a cowardly ideologue she is not. Ms. Beck at least had the guts to flip-flop as soon as LGBT-supportive Asbury Park and Ocean Grove became her problem. Maybe it’s just me, but I prefer the audacious displays of dishonesty to the panicked whispers… I’m a romantic, what can I say? 

Beyond embarrassing herself with her stunning lack of bravery and admission (however fabricated) that she cannot comprehend a simple issue, Ms. Ummmmm? also managed to miss an opportunity to follow the wide path of Declare and Defend set by her Messiah, Governor Christie. Aw shucks, what a shame.

We elect people who we believe possess the skills necessary to handle the many issues that NJ faces at once. If Ms. Casagrande can only handle one issue at a time, perhaps it is time for us to reevaluate her competence to serve. I say this only because I care about her well-being. After all, it would be cruel to continue to overwhelm her with the many complex legislative responsibilities that rest on her shoulders in Trenton. 

Olivia Nuzzi is a student from Middletown and an intern for the District 11 Democratic campaign.  MMM welcomes her fair and biased contributions. 

Posted: September 25th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Olivia Nuzzi | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 20 Comments »

Is bullet voting Un-American?

In last year’s municipal election in Neptune Township, Republican candidate for township committee Warren Lapp did not have a running mate.  He publicly encouraged voters to cast a “bullet vote” just for him, even though there were two committee seats open with candidates on the ballot.

The Neptune Democrats responded by calling Lapp un-American for suggesting such a thing.

Now Neptune Matters, the Republican leaning blog from the township is calling on Neptune Democrats Randy Bishop and Eric Houghteling to denounce Dan Jacobson, the 11th district Independent candidate for Assembly for asking voters to bullet vote for him.  Neptune Matters says that Bishop and Houghteling should call Jacobson un-American, but that they won’t because a bullet vote for Jacobson helps the Democratic candidates in the 11th.

Posted: September 23rd, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | 18 Comments »

Dan Jacobson Kills Puppies!

By Senator Jennifer Beck, also published in the September 22 edition of the triCityNews

Senator Jennifer Beck, Assemblywoman Mary Pat Angelini and Assemblywoman Caroline Casagrande

Senator Jennifer Beck, Assemblywoman Mary Pat Angelini and Assemblywoman Caroline Casagrande

Last week I was treated to a column that the TriCities’ very own publisher (and Independent District 11 Assembly candidate) Dan Jacobson said he’d been ‘itching to write’. I’m not surprised that Dan was feeling a little itchy and uncomfortable prior to writing a column dramatically misrepresenting that I might endorse Dan in his latest political foray.  I guess we can take some solace that at least Dan felt a little uncomfortable while knowingly misrepresenting my position!  And I know it was intended to be tongue-in-cheek – just like the headline of this column and the made-up Dan quotes below. He did get some things right….Dan and I have indeed been friends for many years, and he is certainly correct that he was a supporter of mine from way-back when I was running for my first term on the Red Bank Borough Council.  But I’m friends with a lot of folks that, despite our being friends, don’t receive my endorsement for political office.

I do appreciate Dan’s permitting me to use this space this week to set the record straight and offer my official endorsement for this year’s elections.  I’m proud to run with, and support, my two outstanding running-mates: Assemblywoman Mary Pat Angelini from Ocean Township and Assemblywoman Caroline Casagrande from Colts Neck, a new demographic for Dan to reach.

Endorsing candidates is something I do not take lightly, and I make sure to hear from all sides before issuing any declaration. On that note, I did not just blindly support my running-mates. I made sure to also reach out to Dan and hear from him on what he’d like to do in his upcoming term if he is elected to return to the Assembly from his 18 year exile.

“Number one, I look forward to raising taxes again on everyday items, just as I did in my first term. Additional taxes on toilet paper, light bulbs, and eggs were such a resounding hit my first time around, I plan on doubling-down in my upcoming term!” Dan told me earlier this week.

Now, of course that’s not a real quote from Dan, just like his “quotes” of me endorsing him weren’t accurate in his column last week.  But at least I got the facts straight – Dan did indeed vote in favor of all those taxes back when he originally served in the legislature.  The residents of New Jersey couldn’t vote Dan and his legislative mates out of office fast enough then, so sorry Dan, as much as I value our friendship, it would be foolish of us to risk going down that path again.  Actually, I should make clear that the “killing puppies” headline was a total fabrication.  At least as far as I know.

But back to the choices you have in this election. If you agree that we need less taxation, limited government, leaders in property tax reform, and true accountability in the state legislature, the choice is clear. Both Mary Pat Angelini and Caroline Casagrande have been vocal leaders in the Assembly, standing up for taxpayers throughout Monmouth County, and the State.  My running mates and I have proven track records, having led the way on the historic reforms enacted over the past two years.  While Dan may be a good friend, he can’t claim to have been a very effective legislator during his first term.  Not honestly anyway.

We are proud to run as Republicans, but both myself and my running mates are extraordinarily deliberative and don’t always just vote the party line. And unlike Dan Jacobson, when we decide to take a stand that some in our party may be opposed to, we don’t resort to physical altercations with our fellow legislators!  It’s bad enough the cast of the TV show Jersey Shore make it appear as if we New Jerseyians regularly settle our disputes that way – we don’t need the legislature lending credibility to the portrayal!

Dan is right that our friendship will not be affected by his independent run for the Assembly, and even when Mary Pat and Caroline are re-elected in November, I will still let him pick out the drapes for our legislative offices.

So I guess you heard it here first, Senator Jennifer Beck supports her running mates, Assemblywoman Mary Pat Angelini and Assemblywoman Caroline Casagrande for the Assembly – emphatically and enthusiastically!

I’m glad I could clear things up. After all, I’m your Senator, I’m here to help!

Posted: September 22nd, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: NJ State Legislature | Tags: , , , , , , | 15 Comments »


11th District Republican candidates Senator Jennifer Beck and Assemblywomen Mary Pat Angelini and Caroline Casagrande issued the following statement after receiving the endorsement of New Jersey Organization for a Better State (NEW JOBS), the business PAC affiliated with the New Jersey Business and Industry Association (NJBIA):

 We are honored that the NJBIA has endorsed us for re-election. We have spent a good amount of out time in Trenton advocating for policies which will attract and retain businesses and allow them to flourish. To create jobs, government should be removing barriers to help businesses succeed, not putting them up through high taxes and strangling regulation. If we are re-elected, we will continue our advocacy for business and job creation.

 As representatives of the business community in New Jersey, NJBIA knows better than most what their members need to succeed. We thank them for recognizing our efforts and look forward to working with them and their individual members in the future.”


 NJBIA is comprised of  22,000 members representing every industry in the State, including manufacturers, service providers, retailers, wholesalers, builders and engineers. As a group, their members employ more than one million people, one-third of the State’s private-sector workforce. Three-quarters of their members are small companies with fewer than 25 employees.


NEW JOBS is an independent political action committee affiliated with the New Jersey Business & Industry Association, Chamber of Commerce Southern New Jersey, Monmouth-Ocean Development Council, Morris County Chamber of Commerce, Meadowlands Regional Chamber of Commerce and other regional business groups.

Posted: September 21st, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Caroline Casagrande, Jennifer Beck, Mary Pat Angenlini | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Is Gay Marriage A Simple Issue?

In the New Jersey’s 11th legislative district, which comprises much of Monmouth County, 6 of the 7 candidates vying for 3 seats, one in the Senate and two in the Assembly, have come out in favor of same sex marriage.  Two of the candidates, Republicans Senator Jennifer Beck and Assemblywoman Mary Pat Angelini said they would break with their party and vote to override Governor Christie’s veto of a same sex marriage if given the opportunity.

Republican Assemblywoman Caroline Casagrande has corrected the widely held perception that she would vote against gay marriage by saying only that she hasn’t publicly taken a position on the issue.   She said her focus has been on fiscal issues and that she would need to study the civil union law before taking a stand on gay marriage.

Casagrande’s refusal to take a position on the politically expedient schedule of Garden State Equality has drawn criticism from her opponent Dan Jacobson and others.  Jacobson said the issue has already been hotly debated and the issue should be simple.

Casagrande says it’s not so simple, “I haven’t seen a bill,” said Casagrande,  “What about protections for religious institutions?  If the issue is so simple, why did Steve Sweeney vote no and then change his mind later?”

If the issue was really simple, Blue Jersey blogger Jay Lassiter, Save Jersey Blogger-in-Chief Matt Rooney and I would not have been able to spend over 40 minutes discussing it on the radio yesterday.

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The issue is not simple to me.  I believe that all people should have equal rights under the law.  I don’t believe that homosexuals are deviant or immoral.  I believe homosexuals are the way God made them.  I created an exercise to demonstrate that sexual orientation is not a choice almost three years ago.  Check it out only if you’re willing to be disturbed.

Yet, I understand those who are morally opposed to gay marriage.  I understand the argument that marriage is an institution that was defined milleniums ago, before any government that currently exists on our planet was conceived.  I understand the desire of those who live their lives dedicated to or in aspiration of those traditions not to have their marriages redefined by a legislative body with an approval rating below 30%.

I suspect those who think the issue is simple, pro or con, think their opposites are just wrong.  I suspect many who think the issue is simple, pro or con, have little respect for and even have distain for those who disagree with them.  I think that is wrong.

Listen to the show, it you care about the issue.  It is an interesting and civil conversation between three smart people with differing views who found enough common ground that Lassiter suggested the three of us run for the legislature together.

The first 18 minutes of the show is Matt and I talking politics and a three minute break to fix some technical difficulties.  Jay joins us at the 18:20 mark.  In the last ten minutes of the show there is some good natured political sparring.

I hope that you are entertained and informed by the show, which was sponsored by Repatriot Radio.

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Posted: September 21st, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Marriage Equality | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments »

Beck, Angelini, Pledge Gay Marriage Support

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.

Posted: September 19th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Marriage Equality, NJ State Legislature | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments »