Monday, December 04, 2006

Wide-Eyed in Jersey

The Bay State legislature blew it. In the same circumstances, the Garden State one has a chance to learn from our mistakes. Yet, after their state high court-mandated marriage equality, they seem to lack the clear direction and courage to act decisively too.

A little help has arrived in the form of organizers, courtesy of the Human Rights Campaign. Otherwise, local groups and Garden State Equality are trying to inspire enabling same-sex marriage clearly and cleanly. There is about four and one-half months left to met the legislative deadline. Here, we let that pass through lack of legislative leadership and are still paying for it in the form of die-hard anti-gay. anti-SSM forces foisting amendments and division on us.

According to the Ocean County Observer
, the effort now includes grassroots organizing and numerous community meetings to pressure the politicians from the voter level. That's not as sleepy as it sounds. Garden State Equality Chair Steven Goldstein puts it, "This is being run like the most intense political campaign you can imagine. This is a tooth-and-nail fight to the death, a 24-7, get-no-sleep political campaign."

Yet, in New Jersey, even Democratic legislative leaders are as timorous as ours were. as the Observer put it:
Key lawmakers in the Democratic majority say they favor letting gay couples register in civil unions that would offer all the benefits of marriage but not the title. Assembly Speaker Joseph Roberts Jr., D-Camden, has said action may be taken by the end of the year.

Goldstein predicts that regardless of the short-term solution, "There is not a doubt in my mind that New Jersey will win marriage for gay couples, 100 percent marriage and not civil unions, within two years,. We're fighting tooth and nail for marriage equality, although the odds for civil unions, which we don't want, are a bit stronger in the short run."

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