Racing to Pass 'Gay Marriage' by Year's End
Having faced stinging losses on Election Day, supporters of "gay marriage" in New York and New Jersey are looking to regain momentum and racing to legalize such relationships by year's end.
The clock is ticking.
In New York, Democratic Gov. David Paterson is pressuring the Democratic-controlled Senate to send him a bill by year's end, before the calendar hits 2010 and legislators become less prone to pass a controversial bill in an election year.
In New Jersey — which just held an election — supporters of "gay marriage" are rushing to send outgoing Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine a bill before he leaves office January 19. Corzine says he would sign such a bill, while governor-elect Chris Christie, a Republican, has promised to veto it.
A win for homosexual activists in either state — particularly New York — would be huge. Thus far, "gay marriage" legalization has been limited to relatively small states: Four of the five states where it is recognized are ranked 29th or lower in population. The largest, Massachusetts, ranks 14th. New Jersey ranks 11th and New York — America's media capital — ranks third. Unlike some other states, New Jersey and New York don't allow citizen-driven initiatives, so if a law is passed, it likely will stand.
Yet the political winds are blowing against "gay marriage" backers. Maine, a liberal state known for its libertarianism, passed a law banning "gay marriage" on Election Day, while New Jersey, another left-leaning state, elected Christie, a conservative. Additionally, New York's 23rd congressional district saw liberal Republican Dede Scozzafava drop out of the three-way race due to a lack of support. She backs "gay marriage." The Democratic candidate apparently edged the Conservative Party candidate in that race, although because of the closeness of the vote the election has not been certified.
As it stands now, bill supporters are several votes short.
Homosexual groups like Empire State Pride Agenda believe they are entitled a vote on the bill because they helped Democrats win back the majority in the Senate in 2006. They also want a vote even if the bill loses, simply to put senators on record. Democrats hold a 32-30 edge there, but not all Democrats are on board. At least five Democrats publicly have stated their opposition.
The New Jersey bill is being pushed by Garden State Equality, which has launched TV ads and is asking its constituents to spend three minutes each day calling legislators on the issue. Democrats control the Assembly by a 47-33 margin and the Senate by a 23-17 edge. A bill has yet to pass either chamber.
Steven Goldstein, the chairman of Garden State Equality, gathered supporters the night after the election and told them, "We have about two and a half months to win marriage equality. It's not over," the Montclair News reported.
From reporting by Michael Foust, assistant editor of Baptist Press.
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