Garden State Equality (GSE) is a civic group that supports equality for the LGBT community in New Jersey. Started in 2004 by Steven Goldstein, a college professor and activist, it is run today by 25 year old Christian Fuscarino. It’s powerful, with politicians and news media always at their events.
GSE has involved itself in protests of people, both business professionals and politicians, who they think are on the wrong side of LGBT equality.
For instance, GSE’s last protest was against Jack Kelly, an Ocean County Freeholder trying to get a cushy state job, seemingly to pad his pension. A dozen years ago he wanted to deny pension benefits to the lesbian partner of the dying Laurel Hester, a sheriff’s officer, stating it would “hurt the sanctity of marriage.” Before that, GSE protested Scott Garrett, a New Jersey Republican Congressman over a comment he denies making.
Mother Jones, an extreme left wing website that solicits tax deductiblecontributions to sustain itself, posted a series of videos of Mitt Romney speaking at a fundraiser in the Florida home of private equity manager Marc Leder this past May.
In the first video, Romney speaks candidly about the challenge he faces in the general election. He notes that Obama starts out with a significant advantage…the 47% of Americans who don’t pay taxes and , he says, think health care, food and housing should be provided to them as a government funded entitlement. Romney notes that his challenge is to win over the 5% of Independent voters who like Obama personally but are disappointed with his performance.
Is this “evil”?
Steven Goldstein, the CEO of another non-profit that solicits tax deductible contributions, the same sex marriage advocates Garden State Equality thinks so. I’d link you to Garden State Equality’s website, but Google says the site is dangerous to your computer. Really. On his facebook page Goldstein characterises Romney as evil. He says Romney’s remarks are “one of the most hateful speeches in U.S. Presidential candidate history.”
NJ Supreme Court is end game for Same Sex Marriage Advocates
As expected, the New Jersey Assembly passed the Marriage Equality and Religious Exemptions Act today. The vote was 42-33. No Republican voted for the bill. Two Cape May County Democrats, Nelson Albano and Matthew Milam voted NO, according to NJ.com
The bill passed the Senate last week and now heads to Governor Chris Christie for his expected veto.
Christie has called for the issue to be put to referendum this fall. Senator Christopher “Kip” Bateman has proposed legislation authorizing the referendum.
Senate President Stephen Sweeney has said the referendum legislation will not make it to the Senate floor for a vote.
Christie has said the Democrats handling of the matter is political theater. He told Poltickernj,
“If they don’t put it on the ballot, you’ll know the whole thing was political theater,” Christie said. “I trust the people.”
However, same sex marrige advocates seem to think that legislative passage of the bill will make a difference in their efforts to get the New Jersey Supreme Court to impose same sex marriage in New Jersey regardless of Christie’s veto or whether or not there is a referendum.
In an email to his membership, Steven Goldstein, CEO of Garden State Equality, said,
… Meanwhile, Garden State Equality continues its lawsuit with Lambda Legal –
where courts will now see the legislative intent of marriage equality…
… “Pursuing all roads to justice, Garden State Equality and seven-same sex couples will continue our lawsuit for marriage equality, where we are represented by Lambda Legal and the nationally renowned Gibbons law firm. With this victory, the courts will see the legislature’s clear intent to replace the state’s failed civil union law with marriage equality.”
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.