Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Possible Marriage Equality Votes in New York and D.C. Today; New Jersey Dems Sign Letter Urging For Vote

New York

According to the Times Union report yesterday, "The Senate is prepared to hold the long-delayed vote on gay marriage if the deficit reduction package can be put to bed in time tomorrow. Since the bill would pass in extraordinary session, the Assembly would have to debate and vote on the measure despite the fact that it passed marriage equality legislation months ago."

But Elizabeth Benjamin of the New York Daily News says that the deal on the budget may be falling apart, resulting in the marriage vote to be put on hold yet again. Shock.

(H/T Towleroad)

Washington D.C.

D.C. Council is poised to take the first of two scheduled votes on Council member Catania's marriage bill today. 10 of the 13 council members are co-sponsors, so it is expected to pass.

The bill has faced stiff opposition from the Archdiocese of Washington who threatened to end their charitable work in the district if it passed. Since the church receives public funds due to contracts with the city, they said they would be forced to give benefits to gay employees' spouses and objected. The Council has tried to find a common ground with the church but has not given any indication that a lack of resolution would keep them from passing marriage equality.

View more news videos at: http://www.nbcwashington.com/video.

Read Richard Cohen's Washington Post article, "A Right to Say 'I Do.'"

New Jersey

It's been looking bleak for marriage equality in what was once a big possibility in the Garden State. However, the AP reports today:
Some 200 prominent New Jersey Democrats are urging the Legislature to vote on a gay marriage bill.

The Democrats , including members of Congress, fundraisers and lobbyists , released a letter to leaders in the Senate and Assembly Tuesday demanding the bill be voted up or down before the lame-duck session ends in January.

The letter reads:
We believe that equality and fairness are fundamental principles of New Jersey's Democratic Party, and that is why we call on the state legislature to vote immediately on, and pass, the marriage equality bill.

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, coworkers, and neighbors with dignity and respect.

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.

When our children and grandchildren look back on this moment, we want to be able to tell them that we, too, did the right thing.

As Martin Luther King poignantly reminded us, "the arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice." That is why we're proud to lend our names and our voices to this important cause. We do so in our capacity as private citizens and Democratic voters, and not on behalf of any particular office or organization.
"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," reports the PolitickerNJ, who has a full list of signers, which include Newark Mayor Cory Booker and U.S. Reps. Rush Holt, Frank Pallone and Steven Rothman.

ACTION: Garden State Equality has called for a major lobby day on December 3.

In a related story, the AP has written about the unusual involvement of conservative Orthodox Jewish rabbis who have decided to get involved in the New Jersey marriage equality debate, voicing strong opposition to the same-sex marriage bill.

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