By Bader George Qarmont
As New Jersey became the 14th state in the Union to license gay marriage, I am left wondering why and what is next. Will this judicial activism have any impact on churches? Some may think I am over reacting, but I fear that the church is 15-25 years away from being forced to perform same sex marriage or risk losing tax exemption for discrimination. A Pastor threating to close his church doors before doing so, is no threat at all.
If a church wants to continue to practice the Biblical definition of marriage, it needs to protect itself. I see a potential for litigation to force a church to marry same sex couples, as is already happening in England. Barrie Drewitt-Barlow, The gay plaintiff in the legal challenge in England said “The only way forward for us now is to make a challenge in the courts against the church.” It is a matter of time before American churches are also legally challenged.
Currently most churches will marry non-members in a religious ceremony at the church, this practice must end immediately and new policy implemented as soon as possible. I believe churches should have a policy to only marry members. In order to be a member each person must sign a statement of faith that includes acceptance of the Biblical definition of marriage. Anyone can attend the church but only members can be married in the church.
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Posted: November 10th, 2013 | Author: admin | Filed under: Bader George Qarmout, Gay Marriage, marriage, Marriage Equality, Opinion, Religion, Same Sex Marriage | Tags: Bader George Qarmout, Gay Marriage, Marriage Equality, Religion, Same Sex Marriage | 8 Comments »
Kissing Brides, Heather Jensen and Amy Quinn, an Asbury Park Councilwoman, celebrate their marriage shortly after midnight on October 21. facebook photo
Assembly Minority Leader Lou Greenwald told The Star Ledger that Assembly Democrats are not likely to pass legislation that would protect clergy and religious organizations from being forced to perform same sex marriages and accommodate the ceremonies.
What’s less clear is what the Legislature is going to do about gay marriage. Right now, gay couples can get married in New Jersey. But that right hangs on a decision made at the Superior Court level, since the state Supreme Court never decided the case.
Lawmakers could try to override Christie’s 2012 veto of gay marriage legislation or write a new bill to encode it into law. Or they could do nothing — an option they say is looking more attractive.
Greenwald said the Assembly is leaning against an override because, even if they cobbled together the two-thirds majority they’d need to pull it off, a religious exemption provision that was inserted into the bill to win Republican support could actually restrict rights gay couples have under the court ruling.
“The answer probably is no,” Greenwald said of the override. “Right now in New Jersey, the opinion seems to be that we have the strongest marriage equality laws in the country.”
Early last year the New Jersey Legislature passed the Marriage Equality and Religious Exceptions Act which, if it had been signed by Governor Chris Christie, would have granted same sex couples the right to marry and recognized the First Amendment Right of clergy and religious societies, organizations and institutions not to solemnize gay marriage or provide space, goods, services, advantages or privileges for gay marriage ceremonies. The Act would have provided immunity from civil law suits against religious organizations that refused to accommodate gay marriages.
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Posted: November 10th, 2013 | Author: Art Gallagher | Filed under: Gay Marriage, Marriage Equality, Marriage Equality and Religious Exemptions Act, Same Sex Marriage | Tags: Assembly Minority Leader Lou Greenwald, Gay Marriage, Marriage Equality, Marriage Equality and Religous Exceptions Act, Same Sex Marriage, Senate President Steve Sweeney | 10 Comments »
Same Sex Nuptials Are Now Certain To Remain Legal in New Jersey
Kissing Brides, Heather Jensen and Amy Quinn, an Asbury Park Councilwoman, celebrate their marriage shortly after midnight this morning. facebook photo
Given the State Supreme Court’s signal that the Christie administration would not prevail in its appeal of Superior Court Judge Mary Jacobson’s decision compelling the State to grant same sex couples the same marriage rights as heterosexual couples, Governor Chris Christie withdrew his appeal today, the first day that gay couples can wed in New Jersey under Jacobson’s order and the Supreme Court’s refusal to stay that order.
“Although the governor strongly disagrees with the court substituting its judgment for the constitutional process of the elected branches or a vote of the people, the court has now spoken clearly as to their view of the New Jersey constitution and, therefore, same-sex marriage is the law,” said Colin Reed, a spokesman for Christie. “The governor will do his constitutional duty and ensure his administration enforces the law as dictated by the New Jersey Supreme Court.”
State Senator Mike Doherty issued a statement condemning Christie for caving to the activist judiciary.
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Posted: October 21st, 2013 | Author: Art Gallagher | Filed under: Gay Marriage, Marriage Equality, Marriage Equality and Religious Exemptions Act | Tags: Barbara Buono, Chris Chrisite, Gay Marriage, Marriage Equality, Marriage Equality and Religious Exemptions Act, Same Sex Marriage, Senator Mike Doherty | 6 Comments »
Various news sources are reporting that Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon (R-Monmouth) has “broken with Governor Christie” over the issue of same sex marriage.
The news reports are inaccurate.
O’Scanlon was never “with” Governor Christie on the same sex marriage issue. He’s been on the record as favoring the Marriage Equality and Religious Exemptions Act since February of 2012 when the bill passed both houses of the legislature and was vetoed by Christie.
O’Scanlon was absent from the February 2012 vote because he was attending Senator Jennifer Beck’s wedding in Jamaica. Upon his return to New Jersey, he told triCityNews that he would have voted for the bill had he been present and that he would vote to override Christie’s veto if it ever comes up for a vote.
triCityNews is not published online. Publisher Dan Jacobson verified my recollection of O’Scanlon’s quotes on the phone this evening.
The issue is in the news again because marriage equality advocates have been in Trenton this week lobbying for an override of Christie’s veto before the end of the legislative session in January.
The Marriage Equality and Religious Exemptions Act passed the Senate with a vote of 24-16 and the Assembly by 42-33, with 5 Assembly members, including O’Scanlon and Mary Pat Angelini not voting. An override requires a 2/3 affirmative vote. In order for an override to succeed, the bill needs three additional yes votes in the Senate and 12 yes votes in the Assembly. O’Scanlon and Angelini represent two of the needed yes votes. Republican Assemblywoman Holly Schepisi of Bergen County also didn’t vote in 2012. Schepisi said she would vote to override, leaving the bill needing 9 votes to pass in the Assembly.
If there is a override vote, it probably won’t occur until the “lame duck” session after the November election and before the new legislature takes office in January.
Posted: September 19th, 2013 | Author: Art Gallagher | Filed under: Declan O'Scanlon, Gay Marriage, Gender Equality, marriage, Marriage Equality, Marriage Equality and Religious Exemptions Act, Mary Pat Angenlini, NJ State Legislature | Tags: Declan O'Scanlon, Gay Marriage, Holly Schepisi, Marriage Equality, Marriage Equality and Religious Exemptions Act, Mary Pat Angelini, NJ Legislature, Same Sex Marriage | 6 Comments »
The two candidates competing for the Republican nomination to complete the late U. S. Senator Frank Lautenberg’s term favor same sex marriage being legal.
Reacting to the U. S. Supreme Court’s decision overturning the Defense of Marriage Act, former Bogota Mayor Steve Lonegan said,
“Today’s decision is the unfortunate result of an activist, liberal court that has little respect for the Constitution and our nation’s founding principles. While I believe government should not be in the business of marriage, it is not the Supreme Court’s responsibility to make that decision. Laws should be made by legislatures, not by unelected judges. To do so is a usurpation of our democratic tradition at the heart of this country’s founding.”
I wonder if Lonegan would have called the decision “unfortunate” if the Court ruled that the government should not be in the business of marriage.
UPDATE A few readers have mentioned that Lonegan’s statement does not make it clear that he favors marriage equality. Here it is: While I believe government should not be in the business of marriage ….
If government doesn’t regulate marriage and who can get married, than same sex couples can be married.
Dr. Alieta Eck said,
“While I personally believe that traditional marriage is an important institution to defend, the Supreme Court was correct in rejecting a federal attempt to define it. Marriage is a religious institution. There was a time when the general consensus agreed with organized religion, but those times have passed. We must never abandon the Constitution in guarding equal protection and free association under the law.”
The four candidates competing for the Democratic Senate nomination, Newark Mayor Cory Booker, Congressman Frank Pallone, Congressman Rush Holt and Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver also support marriage equality.
The Democratic and Republican nominations for Senate will be decided in special primaries to be held on August 13. The new senator will be elected in a special election to be held on October 16.
Posted: July 1st, 2013 | Author: Art Gallagher | Filed under: 2013 Election, 2014 U.S. Senate race, Gay Marriage, marriage, Marriage Equality, Primary Election, Same Sex Marriage, Senate Special Election | Tags: Cory Booker, Dr. Alieta Eck, Frank Lautenberg, Frank Pallone, Gay Marriage, Marriage Equality, Rush Holt, Same Sex Marriage, Sheila Oliver, Steve Lonegan | 9 Comments »
Gov. Christie & Gay Conservatives Should Be Allowed to Plead Their Cases at Annual Conservative Conference
By Matt Ronney, Save Jersey
Back in 2004, Save Jerseyans, your Blogger-in-Chief was an undergraduate at Washington, D.C.’s Catholic University of America when a couple other friends and I interned at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC).
It was an amazing experience for a wide-eyed young conservative nerd to interact with so many distinguished politicians, media personalities and career activists in one place.
It was also a very different time in the Republican Party, and I discovered a healthy level of intellectual diversity on display from the right-of-center CPAC attendees. Libertarians, neocons, paleocons, fiscal conservatives and social conservatives from across the country mixed, drank, shared cabs, and downed hot dogs while discussing equally hot races in long book signing queques.
The common thread among the CPAC patrons? A healthy disdain for large, active, expensive and intrusive federal governance.
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Posted: February 27th, 2013 | Author: admin | Filed under: 2013 Election, 2013 Gubernatorial Politics, 2016 Presidential Politics, Chris Christie, Gay Marriage, Gender Equality | Tags: Chrs Christie, CPAC, Gay Conservatives, Gay Marriage, Gay Republicans, Marriage Equality, Matt Rooney, Save Jersey | 3 Comments »
Garden State Equality is out to convert New Jersey Chick-fil-A franchisees to their pro-gay marriage cause.
GSE President Steve Goldstein sent the following message to email list this morning:
Today, Friday, August 3, 2012 is Garden State Equality’s Dialogue Day with Chick-Fil-A. If you live or work in New Jersey, we’d like you to call the operator of your nearest Chick-Fil-A restaurant in New Jersey today, to ask him or her to meet with a local group of Garden State Equality members. We want the operators to see and hear in person how the national owners’ anti-LGBT advocacy hurts real people deeply – families, couples and children who yearn for equality. We ask you to call today even if you personally may not be able to join such a meeting.
1. Below please find a list of the 22 Chick-Fil-A stores across New Jersey with the store locations, phone numbers and individual operators’ names. Ask for the operator by name. If he or she isn’t there, you can ask to speak to the senior manager on duty.
2. When you call, say: “I’m a member of Garden State Equality and we want equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. We know the national owners of Chick-Fil-A don’t believe in equality, but we hope you may be fair. We believe in talking and mutual respect. Are you willing to meet a group of us in the next few weeks?”
3. If the owner says no, express your pain, not anger, as you conclude the conversation quickly and respectfully. Respond: “I’m hurt you won’t meet us. I’ll let others know. I wish you well.” Please do not engage in hostility. We advocate equality in love.
4. If the owner says maybe, respond: “Then I’m going to call you back on Monday, is that okay?” Then please do call back on Monday.
5. If the owner says yes, respond: “That’s great. Before we set up a day and time, I’m going to talk to others to see their schedules. I’m going to call you back next week, is that okay?”
6. Then please email Chick@GardenStateEquality.org your name and your phone number, the location below of the Chick-Fil-A you called – that’s important so we know which Chick-Fil-A you’re talking about – and the operator’s response, whether yes, no or maybe. If the operator said yes, we will call you and other Garden State Equality members in your area next week so we can coordinate schedules to do the meeting.
We understand that activists in other states are staging “kiss-ins” at Chick-Fil-A stores. We respect everyone who engages in the activism that inspires them. At Garden State Equality, we’re aiming for something beyond one day. We aim to start dialogues wherever we can. We want everyone to see the love and commitment of families with LGBT people – indeed, to see all people as real people. That, we believe, is the basis of winning equality everywhere.
Thank you all so much. Immediately below is the list of the 22 Chick-Fil-A stores in New Jersey with their phone numbers and names of the store operators. If the spirit moves you, please consider making a $13.00 donation today to Garden State Equality – that’s what it would cost a couple to eat a typical Chick-Fil-A meal. A $26.00 donation would represent the cost for a family of four. You can donate online at www.GardenStateEquality.org
Audubon, (856) 547-0815, operator Charles Bohs Cherry Hill, Marlton Pike, (856) 488-9117, operator Dave Curran Cherry Hill, Haddonfield Road, (856) 488-1600, operator Dave Curran Delran, (856) 764-0765, operator Sal Miliziano Deptford, Clements Bridge Road, (856) 853-0425, operator Doug Clark Deptford, Deptford Mall, (856) 848-7712, operator Christian McGrory Eatontown, (732) 542-2243, operator Jeff Bassett Edison, (732) 548-6024, operator Travis Biggs Egg Harbor, (609) 407-4900, operator Amy McCloy Galloway, the Stockton College Chick-Fil-A is closed for the summer. Please call the next closest store. Hamilton, (609) 581-7601, operator John Velarde Howell, (732) 730-9033, operator Ted Reim Marlton, (856) 985-4391, operator Brian Bowman Mount Laurel, Centerton Road, (856) 439-2696, operators Brian Bowman or Bob Mancini Mount Laurel, (856) 778-1900, Nixon Drive, operator Bob Mancini Paramus, (201) 967-9494, operator Ken Walsh Sewell, (856) 464-2277, operator Jeff Price Sicklerville, (856) 262-0002, operator Burley Clark Turnersville, (856) 228-2111, operator Burley Clark Vineland, (856) 327-4414, operator Phil Kelley Voorhees, (856) 772-2201, operator Zach Johnson Woodbridge, (732) 634-8981, operator Jim Strole
The Associated Press is reporting that gay rights activists are planning a ‘Kiss In’ today at Chick-fil-A restaurants throughout the country. Protestors of Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy’s stand for traditional marriage are being encouraged to go Chick-fil-A stores and kiss a fellow demonstrator of the same gender.
AP quotes one organizer, Carly McGehee of Dallas as saying she hopes the protest “helps LGBT (lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender) youth who feel isolated and are victims of bullying.”
Is isolation and bullying a problem for only gay youth? Are gay activists encouraging same sex marriages for youths?
Earlier this week The
Posted: August 3rd, 2012 | Author: Art Gallagher | Filed under: Chick-fil-A, Garden State Equality, Gay Marriage, Gender Equality, marriage, Marriage Equality, Marriage Equality and Religious Exemptions Act | Tags: Chick-fil-A, Gay Marriage, Kiss In, Marriage Equality, Same Sex Marriage, Steve Goldstein | 69 Comments »
Asbury Park Press quoted Goldstein as saying that Garden State Equality does not support the ‘Kiss In.’ Rather, GSE would reach out to Chick-fil-A operators, as they are today. Goldstein said some of the operators are “in deep with us,” according to APP.
The religious exemptions clause of New York’s same sex marriage law was supposed to be the great compromise that broke down the barriers to gay couples marrying. Without the protections the clause provided to institutions that objected to same sex marriage on religious grounds, the law would not have passed New York’s legislature or been signed into law by Governor Andrew Cuomo last year.
New Jersey’s Gay Rights community, which has a history of litigating against religious institutions that refused to allow their properties to be used for civil union ceremonies, embraced the religious exemptions clause and convinced the Democratic leadership of the New Jersey legislature to make same sex marriage the number one priority of the current legislative session. New Jersey’s legislature passed the Marriage Equality and Religious Exemptions Act in February. Governor Chris Christie vetoed the bill and called for the issue to be decided by Constitutional Amendment via referendum. Despite polls indicating that New Jersey voters favor same sex marriage and that the favor Christie’s proposal to decide the issue via referendum, Garden State Equality and their allies in the legislature opposed a referendum, declaring that same sex marriage is a civil right that should not be decided by the majority at the ballot box. Privately, same sex marriage advocates have acknowledged that they expect to lose a referendum, despite the polls that indicate they would win.
New York is leading the way again.
The New York Post reports that a lesbian couple from Westchester is seeking to overturn the religious exemptions provision of New York’s same sex marriage law in federal court. “Jane Roe” and “Jane Doe,” a couple married on October 15, 2011, filed a class action suit in Manhattan because “Roe’s” employer, St. Joseph’s Medical Center in Yonkers, refused to add “Doe” to the Catholic hospital’s medical benefits.
Posted: June 20th, 2012 | Author: Art Gallagher | Filed under: Civil Rights, Gay Marriage, Gender Equality, Marriage Equality, Marriage Equality and Religious Exemptions Act | Tags: Catholic, Garden State Equality, Gay Marriage, Marriage Equality, Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association, Same Sex Marriage | 1 Comment »
The class-action suit seeks an order declaring that both women are entitled to insurance coverage under federal law. It also says “thousands of legally married, same-sex couples” have been, or will be, denied benefits under similar policies administered by Empire, which is also named as a defendant.
The women are seeking an injunction ordering Blue Cross Blue Shield not to acquiesce to a company that wants to deny same-sex benefits because of religious beliefs, said Jeffrey Norton, their lawyer.
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.”
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Posted: May 4th, 2012 | Author: Art Gallagher | Filed under: 2012 U.S. Senate Race, Bob Menendez, Civil Rights, Gay Marriage, marriage, Marriage Equality, Marriage Equality and Religious Exemptions Act | Tags: Bob Menendez, Chris Christie, civil unions, Democratic Leadership, Garden State Equality, Gay Marriage, Joe Kyrillos, Marriage Equality, over ride, override, State Legislature, top priority, veto | No Comments »