New Jersey senate OKs gay marriage bill

2012-02-13 22:34

Trenton - New Jersey lawmakers gave their blessing to legalising gay marriage for the first time on Monday as the state Senate passed a bill that would allow nuptials for same-sex couples. Governor Chris Christie has said he will veto such legislation.

The Senate's vote sends the bill to the Assembly, which is expected to pass it on Thursday.

"It means the world isn't changing, it means the world has already changed," said Steven Goldstein, chair of Garden State Equality, the state's largest gay rights organisation. "So wake up and smell the equality."

Six states and Washington, DC, allow gay marriage, and Washington state will join that list when Governor Christine Gregoire signs legislation legalising same-sex marriage on Monday.

New Jersey's governor, a Republican, announced his veto intentions last month.

Len Deo, president of New Jersey Family Policy Council, which opposes gay marriage, called the vote "an exercise in futility".

The governor has said he does not believe marriage laws should be changed, but he does support New Jersey's civil union law, which grants gay couples the legal protections of marriage.


Christie said he wants to put a change in the definition of marriage to a public vote.

But gay rights groups oppose a referendum. They see gay marriage as a civil rights matter and argue that it should not be up to the masses to protect the rights of a minority group.

Five years ago, New Jersey's state Supreme Court ruled that gay couples should have the same rights as married heterosexual couples. In response, the Legislature created civil unions.

Gay rights advocates say that because the civil union designation is hard to understand and still treats committed gays differently from married couples, the courts should eliminate civil unions and recognise gay marriage.

A lawsuit seeking to do that is in the state court system.

  • JohncarlosBiza - 2012-02-14 00:45

    Welcome to the 21st century, New Jersey.

  • Godfrey - 2012-02-14 04:21

    Hooray! Slowly, ever so slowly, the religious zealots are losing ground and privilege to impose their nonsensical bigotry and hatred on the rest of society. Reid poll from September 2011 [Canadians Split On Whether Religion Does More Harm in the World than Good]. It surveyed Canadians about religion. Only 16% of Canadians attend church every week and about 30% of Canadian say they don't believe in God. Only 53% of Canadians now say they believe in God. "In the U.S., all the major (Christian) denominations have seen their numbers decline in recent years, but the Catholic Church has taken the biggest hit. Since the 1960s, four American-born Catholics have left the church for every one who has converted, according to a 2009 Pew study. In 2008 alone, Catholic membership declined by 400,000. More than 1,000 parishes have closed since 1995. One day all that will be left is the music.

  • hc12345 - 2012-02-14 07:49

    The sad thing is when something unacceptable to society becomes law, then it becomes acceptable to society. How long till it will become law to have sex with young girls?

      Godfrey - 2012-02-14 08:53

      Ask a clergyman! Many have great experience in this area.

      janalbert.vandenberg - 2012-02-14 09:13

      Mr hc12345 -- your slippery slope argument as fallacious. Firstly, in days of old young girls were often wed, if only for political reasons, case in point as just one example, there are, however 1000s; so the age-of-consent concept is actually fairly new in the history of humanity, same goes for polygamy. That being said: when interracial marriage was taboo, everyone chanted the same nonsense song you're chanting now. Funny enough: we never did go all pear-shaped the way you would like us all believe would happen. Love between consenting adults is fair play no matter what their sexual orientation. Time to grow up and face the facts, hey? Cheerio!

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