Senate panel affirms S1, marriage equality bill
State Sen. Ray Lesniak, (D-20), Elizabeth By Timothy J. Carroll | January 24th, 2012 - 4:09pm
| More

TRENTON – Democratic priority one, step one complete. The Senate Judiciary Committee voted on party lines, 8-4, to advance the marriage equality law, S1, this afternoon.

There was a line to get into Committee Room 4, or even the adjacent overflow room, all day; still, the hearing was very respectful, if emotionally charged and somewhat tense.

Early on, committee chairman, state Sen. Nicholas Scutari, (D-22), Linden, said he was implementing timed testimony and cutting off the discussion at 2:30 p.m. for a final vote.

Groups of four paraded before the committee. Supporters recounted stories from hospital rooms and jury duty to paint a picture of discrimination based on their private sexual preferences. For the other side, one bill opponent said, “If you vote (for) this bill in, in essence, you’re voting against God.” Clergy spoke in favor; clergy spoke against.

In the end, the crowd endorsed the panel vote with sonorous applause over a backdrop of boos. Eight Democrats approved the bill, and four Republicans opposed the measure, but only one senator’s vote was in question when the day began: state Sen. Kip Bateman, (R-16), Branchburg.

“I'm not sure since I've been in the Legislature that we've had a more emotionally charged issue than we've had today,” Bateman said. “I come into this, today, open-minded on the issue (but) I'm not sure this is going to fly with ths governor.” Bateman said the referendum option may be the best one. "I don't think the govenror's going to sign it," he said. "New Jerseyans are well-educated. Let's put it on the ballot."

Gov. Chris Christie is expected to veto the bill if it is passed and also called for a referendum on the matter today. State Sen. President Steve Sweeney, (D-3), West Deptford, immediately shot down the possibility today in the committee hearing.

Bill sponsor, state Sen. Ray Lesniak, (D-20), Elizabeth, took umbrage with the referendum proposal. "This isn't sports betting," he said. “It's up to the Legislature to guarantee that same-sex couples can exercise this right,” he said.

Previously a proponent of civil unions over marriage equality, state Sen. Paul Sarlo, (D-36), Wood-Ridge, changed his stance today. "Civil unions are not working," he said. "Same sex couples are being forced to disclose their sexual preference in job interviews," etc. He also said the vote on this bill was rushed and "set up to fail" in 2009. 

State Sen. Joe Vitale, (D-19), Woodbridge, voted in place of state Sen. Bob Smith, (D-17), Piscataway, who was absent. State Sen. Gerald Cardinale, (R-39), Demarest, also was absent.

State Sen. Joe Kyrillos, (R-13), Middletown, said he understands the importance of the issue, but questioned whether it should be the number one priority of the state legislative bodies. But he also called on the Attorney General and the Health Commissioner to investigate whether the civil union law is functioning properly.

Wake-Up Call

Morning Digest: April 24, 2014

Organization to honor Gov. KeanAn event next month for Community Options, Inc. will celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the organization's founding and honor Governor Tom Kean, Sr., a was an advocate over 25 years ago for bringing individuals with developmental disabilities out of state institutions into small group homes.Robert...

Op-Ed

How the City of Paterson became a city in crisis

By HAYTHAM YOUNES As the May 13th election for Paterson officials nears, I've noticed a lot of candidates running using slogans and empty promises as if they weren't around watching Paterson get to where it's at today. I think it's important that... Read More >

Contributors

(4-23-14) Bridgegate Witnesses Not "RATS" if Testimony is Forced -Superior Court Judge Mary Jacobson’s decision last week was covered in most newspapers and blogs as an affirmation of the... more »
(Absecon Island, NJ) --With his shocking win in last year's election, Atlantic City Mayor Don Guardian emerged as one of the most intriguing figures in the New Jersey political... more »
When it comes to profiling Christie, facts are for wussies (4/10/14) - As the national media stories on our Guv pile up, expect more blunders about the Garden State.... more »
This week I begin a series called Dispatches from Somewhere Else. Based on my on-going experiences as an everyman in New Jersey politics, these Dispatches review the hollowness of... more »

Quote of the Day

Quote of the day

“The good news of tonight is that these problems are fixable.” - Gov. Chris Christie

- PolitickerNJ.com

Poll

Who would you back for Governor of NJ in this 2017 general election dream match-up?:

Resources

Visit the PolitickerNJ.com/resources page for links to the best collection of information on New Jersey state government.

 

  • Polls
  • The best blogs
  • Columnists
  • State election results
  • Assembly election results
  • Local party websites
  • And more.

PolitickerNJ.com/resources