Same Sex Marriage on the November Ballot in New Jersey – How Would You Vote? [POLL/VIDEO]
While the Supreme Court’s decision yesterday in striking down the Defense of Marriage Act has little to no effect to same sex couples here in New Jersey, it did ramp up support to give same sex couples marriage equality.
Something the Governor on “Ask the Governor” has already said that if presented to him again, he’d veto the bill.
I jokingly referred to his as Governor “Capa Tuosto” (hard head) for his intransigence on the matter.
No matter. Despite what he says about his belief that it would break the 2,000 year tradition of marriage being defined as the union between one man and one woman; we can all read the tealeaves and see he’s readying himself for a presidential run in 2016; which means he has to appeal to the more conservative elements of the Republican Party.
Technically he doesn’t have to.
He could always sign a bill allowing same-sex couples to marry, and show himself to be a free thinker; but that would rile the conservative base.
The base that shoots itself in the foot when it comes to winning major elections since they swim against the tide of public opinion on societal issues.
What is unnerving is how gay marriage advocates don’t see themselves in the middle of a game of political football.
Following the Supreme Court’s pair of opinions expanding gay rights, proponents of marriage equality in New Jersey said they believe same-sex nuptials will be legalized in the state.
But one thing is certain: It will not be a speedy process. Supporters remain mired in internal arguments over how to counter Gov. Chris Christie's veto last year of a bill allowing same-sex marriage.
Proponents have outlined three options: an override of Christie’s veto, a constitutional amendment placed before the state’s voters and a legal challenge before the state’s Supreme Court. All three have their supporters.
Senate President Stephen Sweeney, the state's highest-ranking Democratic lawmaker, said he's planning to schedule a future vote to override Christie's veto, but he declined to put the issue on the upper house’s agenda for today’s session.
Sweeney spokesman Chris Donnelly said Sweeney will instead meet with gay rights advocates during the day to hash out future strategy.
That disappointed Assemblyman Reed Gusciora, Sen. Barbara Buono and Sen. Raymond Lesniak, all of whom on Wednesday urged aggressive action. For this bill, the override process would have to start in the Senate, then continue with an Assembly vote.
Gusciora, one of the state’s two openly gay lawmakers, is among a minority of advocates who has campaigned for having the issue resolved through a referendum.
“If we’re not going to do an override vote now, let’s move on and plan for the ballot initiative,’’ Gusciora said. “We can also have a judicial remedy but the courts are notoriously slow. I think we should try every option.’’
(He's absolutely right on the ballot initiative option!)
Christie was quiet after the Supreme Court released its rulings. His office did not respond to a request for comment. In the past, the Republican governor has said he believes marriage should be between a man and a woman, but said voters should decide if marriage laws should be expanded — an option that has divided advocates.
Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Poll, said Gusciora’s strategy may become the preferred route, despite reluctance from Sweeney and others who argue civil rights should not be put to voters.
Polling by Murray in April showed 59 percent of registered voters in New Jersey would support such a referendum, with 31 percent opposed.
Senator Barbara Buono said she pressed Sweeney for an override vote immediately. She said several senators who voted with Christie on the issue in the past indicated they would change their votes if the Supreme Court struck down parts of the Defense of Marriage Act.
Buono said she believes the required two-thirds of the 40 senators would vote for the override.
Other Democratic legislators and advocates in New Jersey said the time is ripe to legalize same-sex marriage in the state. But not all agree on how to make that happen.
Lesniak says same-sex marriage is a civil right that is best dealt with by the Legislature or the courts.
While I believe the legislative route would be the morally correct thing to do, since the majority shouldn’t be voting to confer rights on the minority; what good would a veto override do except take more time and perhaps attempt to make the Governor look weak to members of his own party? (Which might be the real end-game strategy here!)
If put on the ballot in November, which he’s said supporters still have time to accomplish, he’d abide by the will of the people.
And if the aforementioned reports are correct and there’s support for the passage of same-sex marriage; then put it on the ballot already!
As an addendum, during last night's show, a listener suggested the song "Same Love" by rapper Macklemore.
I promised I'd put up the video once I found it.
Check it out: