By Timothy J. Carroll | February 13th, 2012 - 2:07pm
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TRENTON – The N.J. Senate failed to pass marriage equality in 2009, but with several legislators turning around on the issue, the body today passed S1, the Marriage Equality and Religious Freedom Act.

Among lawmakers who changed their votes this time around were state Sen. President Steve Sweeney, (D-3), West Deptford, who called his 2009 abstention the biggest mistake of his political career. He was joined in favor of the bill by state Sen. Paul Sarlo, (D-36), Wood-Ridge; Jim Beach, (D-6), Voorhees; and Diane Allen, (R-7), Edgewater Park, who also abstained in 2009. Allen was not present for that vote as she was fighting cancer.

Former ‘no’ votes who favored the Democrats’ biggest legislative priority of the new session were state Sens. Shirley Turner, (D-15), Lawrenceville; Nick Sacco, (D-32), North Bergen; Fred Madden, (D-4), Washington Township; and Jennifer Beck, (R-11), Red Bank.

Two Republicans voted in favor of the bill (Allen, Beck), while two Democrats voted against it (Jeff Van Drew, Ron Rice).

Below is the breakdown of the 24-16 vote:

‘YES’ VOTES

Jim Whelan, (D-2), Atlantic City

Steve Sweeney, (D-3), West Deptford

Fred Madden, (D-4), Washington Township

Donald Norcross, (D-5), Camden

Jim Beach, (D-6), Voorhees

Diane Allen, (R-7), Edgewater Park

Jennifer Beck, (R-11), Red Bank

Linda Greenstein, (D-14), Plainsboro

Shirley Turner, (D-15), Lawrenceville

Bob Smith, (D-17), Piscataway

Barbara Buono, (D-18), Metuchen

Joe Vitale, (D-19), Woodbridge

Ray Lesniak, (D-20), Elizabeth

Nicholas Scutari, (D-22), Linden

Richard Codey, (D-27), Roseland

M. Teresa Ruiz, (D-29), Newark

Sandra Cunningham, (D-31), Jersey City

Nick Sacco, (D-32), North Bergen

Brian Stack, (D-33), Union City

Nia Gill, (D-34), Montclair

Nellie Pou, (D-35), North Haledon

Paul Sarlo, (D-36), Wood-Ridge

Loretta Weinberg, (D-37), Teaneck

Robert Gordon, (D-38), Fair Lawn

‘NO’ VOTES

Jeff Van Drew, (D-1), Middle Township

Dawn Marie Addiego, (R-8), Evesham

Chris Connors, (R-9), Lacey Township

James Holzapfel, (R-10), Toms River

Sam Thompson, (R-12), Old Bridge

Joe Kyrillos, (R-13), Middletown

Kip Bateman, (R-16), of Branchburg

Tom Kean Jr., (R-21), Westfield

Mike Doherty, (R-23), Oxford Township

Steve Oroho, (R-24), Franklin Township

Tony Bucco, (R-25), Boonton

Joe Pennacchio, (R-26), Montville

Ron Rice, (D-28), Newark

Robert Singer, (R-30), Lakewood

Gerry Cardinale, (R-39), Demarest

Kevin O’Toole, (R-40), Cedar Grove

The Back Room

Brindle's PolitickerNJ Op-Ed a Must-Read

We are privileged to run today an opinion piece by Jeff Brindle, executive director of the state Election Law Enforcement Commision (ELEC). In the piece, Brindle lays out a blueprint for how to make party organizations stronger in order "to stave off the ever-growing influence of outside groups."

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