The New Jersey State Senate Judiciary Committee approved the marriage equality bill by a vote of 7-6, with amendments. Two Democrats voted no, while one Republican, Bill Baroni, voted yes. A vote on final passage in the full Senate is expected to be held on Thursday.Also, thanks to Blue Jersey, I have how each senator voted:
NO - Paul Sarlo (D-Bergen): Chairman, opponent of marriage equality. Doesn't have a law degree.Supporter Gov. Jon Corzine, who has pledged to sign a marriage bill if it reaches his but will be replaced by anti-gay Republican Chris Christie in January, said in response:
NO - John Girgenti (D-Passaic): Vice Chairman
YES - Nia Gill (D-Essex): Black Senator from Montclair, a diverse college town with a large gay population. Strong supporter of marriage equality
YES - Ray Lesniak (D-Union): Sharp, articulate lawmaker who led the fight to abolish the death penalty in New Jersey. Strong supporter of marriage equality.
YES - Nick Scutari (D-Union): a supporter of marriage equality.
YES - Bob Smith (D-Middlesex): a supporter of marriage equality. Smith represents a liberal district in Central NJ which includes New Brunswick and Piscataway.
YES - Brian Stack (D-Hudson): a supporter of marriage equality. Stack is also mayor of Union City, and an powerful Hudson County political boss.
YES - Loretta Weinberg (D-Bergen): the sponsor of the bill and a progressive stalwart in the legislature.
YES - Bill Baroni (R-Mercer): very smart, well-liked Republican, and a supporter of marriage equality
NO - Christopher Bateman (R-Somerset)
NO - Jennifer Beck (R-Monmouth): a wild card, and an up-and-comer in the Republican party.
NO - Gerald Cardinale (R-Bergen): probably the most outspoken opponent on the committee. A dentist by trade; has no law degree.
NO - Joe Kyrillos (R-Monmouth): former R party chair, probably an opponent.
I commend the Senate Judiciary Committee for allowing a thorough, open discussion on the proposed marriage equality law and approving the bill for action by the full Senate. This is an action that is long overdue. For far too long, a large segment of our population has been denied the fundamental rights and protections of a civil liberty that is granted to all Americans.
Throughout the history of our nation, New Jerseyans have been among the first to champion the fundamental rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness - from the fight for independence to the civil rights movement. By moving forward with marriage equality, today we have taken a significant step toward adding yet another chapter.
I am confident that through this process, the marriage equality issue will be recognized for what it truly is - a civil rights issue that must be approved to assure that every citizen is treated equally under the law.
|Senate committee hears emotional testimony on same-sex marriage bill|
|Senate judiciary committee vote to approve same-sex marriage bill|
First image: Matt Rainey/The Star-Ledger. See his slide show of hearing.
David Badash of The New Civil Rights Movement has more audio of testimony.