Barack Obama has made his first appointment from Bergen: Victor Herlinsky, an early supporter and Newark Mayor Cory Booker’s ex-law partner, was named to the President’s Advisory Committee on the Arts for the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.Read More >
In a strongly worded letter, more than 200 top Democratic activists are calling on Democratic legislators to enact marriage equality legislation.
"New Jersey has a proud history of supporting civil rights. It was this legacy that encouraged many of us to become involved in politics. We believe that allowing committed gay and lesbian couples to marry is, at its core, about treating our family members, friends, co-workers, and neighbors with dignity and respect," the letter reads. "We appreciate that this is a difficult issue for some state legislators. But marriage equality is an idea whose time has come. We are confident that the voters will stand by those elected officials who do the right thing."
The letter to Democratic legislators was signed by a combination of veteran party leaders, young staffers, major fundraisers, political consultants and operatives, and local elected officials. Signers include Newark Mayor Cory Booker and U.S. Reps. Rush Holt, Frank Pallone and Steven Rothman.
The state's Democratic leadership had committed to supporting the legalization of same sex marriage after the General Election, but Gov. Jon Corzine's defeat has caused some Democratic legislators to back off their support. Gov.-elect Christopher Christie, a Republican, has said he would veto marriage equality legislation, which means Democrats have a narrow window if they want to enact the law.
The list represents a huge collection of names of those who play key roles in getting Democrats elected in New Jersey.
"A lot of us are feeling let down, especially younger Democrats," said Ronald C. Rice, a member of the Newark City Council. "We sense there is an enthusiasm gap in Democratic support for this legislation, and we are asking Democrats to live up to the mandate set for them by their own party."
"We are saying to lawmakers that you have relied on many of us to get the vote out for you in election after election. Now we are relying on you to vote on an issue that goes to the heart of why so many of us became involved in Democratic politics in the first place," said Julie Roginsky, a Democratic consultant.
Victor Herlinsky, a lawyer and prominent Democratic fundraiser, says that "people have worked hard to raise money to support Democratic lawmakers precisely because they are Democrats and support the party's progressive social policies."
"We understand that not every member agrees on this issue, but it's time for Democrats to be democratic and vote up or down on marriage equality," said Herlinsky. "People have a right to know where their representatives stand on this issue."
Paul Josephson, a former Chief Counsel to the Governor, says that New Jersey's civil union law, enacted after a ruling by the state Supreme Court three years ago, has failed to provide the same rights as legal marriage.
"The civil union is an experiment that has failed. It attempted to offer gay and lesbian couples the legal rights of marriage without actually calling it marriage," said Josephson, the Counsel to the Democratic State Committee who ran the State's Division of Law in 2003 and 2004 and has represented many Democratic candidates.
"Separate but equal is not equal. As the Civil Union Review Commission found, gay and lesbian couples still face serious hurdles in obtaining equal health benefits and medical attention simply because they are not technically 'married' under New Jersey law. In the real world, civil union provides an incomplete bundle of rights. "
Josephson says there is no room in New Jersey for discrimination.
"We haven't fought these battles only to do the safe thing. We didn't become Democrats to tolerate an injustice. We became Democrats to fight injustice. Let's right this once and for all," Josephson said.
The full list of signers:Read More >
New Jersey's fifteen Electors will meet in Trenton on December 15 to formally cast their ballots in the 2008 presidential election. The projected winners, pledged to Democrat Barack Obama, are: Carmen Brown, Elizabeth Duthie, William Fontanez, Gina Genovese, Kevin Halpern, Victor Herlinsky, Kelly Stewart Maer, Margaret Martin-Brown, Michael Muller, Salaheddin Mustafa, Peter Nichols, William Northgrave, Ginger Gold Schnitzer, Carl Styles and Stephen Weinstein.Read More >
The PoliticsNJ.com Power List of the 100 Most Powerful People in New Jersey Politics will be released on Thursday. This year, our readers get to pick the person who gets the final slot -- #100 -- from our last ten candidates. Vote Tuesday and Wednesday to decide who gets on the Power List -- and who doesn't!Read More >
The man reported to be at the center of a controversy over lane closures on the George Washington Bridge is resigning from the Port Authority, according to published reports.Read More >
Martinez not interested in Christie-Martinez 2016 ticket, report saysNew Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez wasn't interested in being considered a vice presidential contender in 2012, and the same could be said for 2016.At least, that's the word according to published reports that indicate the Republican executive wouldn't be interested in...
By Christopher Durkin Many New Jersey lawmakers have fought to make it easier to vote. And there has been considerable progress in terms of voter access and information. Voter registration has been made easier, with forms available online that... Read More >
"During my lifetime I have dedicated myself to this struggle of the African people. I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die."- Nelson Mandela
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