By Donald Scarinci | January 9th, 2013 - 12:56pm
| More

While the U.S. Supreme Court receives much of the attention for its two upcoming same-sex marriage cases, efforts to legalize the unions are also building closer to home. In the wake of several victories at the ballot box in November, New Jersey is one of several states that could be poised to take on the controversial issue in 2013.

Of course, this would not be the first time that New Jersey lawmakers considered the issue of same-sex marriage. Legislation passed in 2011, but was ultimately vetoed by Governor Chris Christie in February of 2012. He reasoned that the legalization of gay marriage should be left to voters.

While victory for same sex marriage at the ballot box may have seemed like an insurmountable feat before the November elections, the track record of victories in other states gave a clear signal that a same sex marriage referendum could win in New Jersey.  Certainly that is what Assemblyman Reed Gusciora hopes by introducing his bill, AB-3611, seeking to add a voter referendum to the ballot in NJ this year.

 If approved, the Assemblyman’s law would define marriage as a union of two consenting persons, regardless of their gender. It would also allow same-sex couples in existing civil unions to obtain marriage licenses and convert their civil unions into marriages if they so choose.

While the bill may be able to gain Gov. Christie’s approval, other lawmakers and gay rights advocates disagree over whether a civil rights issue should be left up to popular vote. They would rather gather the necessary support to change the law using the legislative process.

Shortly after the Presidential election, Loretta Weinberg told Reuters that the legislature is "within striking distance" of the two-thirds majority needed to override Christie’s veto. However, a proposed bill may not be immediately forthcoming. Given that Republicans voting in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage could face conservative backlash, Weinberg predicted the bill would most likely be introduced after the state's June primary.

Donald Scarinci is a managing partner at Lyndhurst, N.J. based law firm Scarinci Hollenbeck.  He is also the editor of the Constitutional Law Reporter and Government and Law blogs.

 

Wake-Up Call

Morning Digest: April 18, 2014

Fulop endorses Smith in Bayonne mayoral raceBAYONNE - Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop parachuted into the Bayonne mayoral race on Thursday night by endorsing incumbent Mayor Mark Smith."It is a pleasure to be with you here, Mark," said Fulop to a crowd of more than 125 supporters at a...

Op-Ed

The future of NJ Politics should not be politicians investigating politicians

By JON BRAMNICK Voices around the country agree with our concern that "bipartisan committee led by John Wisniewski is partisan." Below are observers who agree Wisneiwski's committee is not bipartisan: Chuck Todd, NBC News: "Democrats made a mistake... Read More >

Contributors

(4-16-14) New Jersey Vote By Mail Law - The voter turnout for New Jersey’s November gubernatorial election was the lowest since the days of prohibition, coming... 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 »
Watching Governor Chris Christie's shocking BridgeGate implosion, it's easy to forget the time when he truly seemed unstoppable.  Blessed with incredible political gifts and a Jersey bluster to match,... more »

Quote of the Day

Quote of the day

"This is my first Mark Smith event. There have been a lot of changes in Hudson County over the last year and a half, and the most important change that has happened is that there really is unity. For the first time, we really are working together. Despite political differences. Mark and I have worked very hard to repair that. I'm really happy to be here in support of him, because I recognize that when you work together, politics becomes secondary and you really have time to focus on government, which is the most important thing." - Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop

- PolitickerNJ.com

Poll

Which is the most competitive of these May 13th elections?:

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