New Jersey’s marriage equality bill is being reintroduced with the strong support of the leaders of the state Senate and Assembly. A news conference with legislative leaders is planned for 1 PM today in Committee Room 1 at the State House in Trenton. From Garden State Equality:
In a dramatic news conference today, the day before the new legislature is sworn in and Governor Christie delivers his State of the State address, leaders of the state Senate and Assembly are announcing they are introducing a marriage equality bill and that they will prioritize it for passage in the new legislature.
The leaders include Senate President Steve Sweeney, incoming Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg, Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver, incoming Assembly Majority Leader Lou Greenwald, and state Democratic Chairman Assemblyman John Wisniewski.
Marriage equality advocates in New Jersey are also pursuing a legal remedy to the state’s discriminatory marriage law. In July, 2011 Lambda Legal filed a lawsuit (Garden State Equality v. Dow, PDF) on behalf of Garden State Equality making state and federal claims that New Jersey’s civil union law violates both the New Jersey Constitution and the Fourteenth Amendment of the federal Constitution.
A statement by Garden State Equality Chair Steven Goldstein is below the fold.
The world has changed since the legislature last debated a marriage equality bill in 2009. Today, states with a combined population of more than 35 million people have marriage equality. The freedom to marry is now a success story that has made entire parts of our nation fairer – and no straight couple’s marriage has fallen apart because of it.
The days are over when marriage equality was the third rail of American politics. Today, in a state and nation that supports marriage equality, not standing up for equality is the third rail for prejudice.
Make no mistake, this in a new America. In the old America, zealots mocked LGBT people for wanting special rights, not equal rights. In the new America, our opponents want marriage as a special right for themselves.
We thank our legislative leaders and longtime sponsors, and our colleagues at the Human Rights Campaign and Freedom to Marry for standing with us every step of the way. We especially thank Lambda Legal for representing us in the lawsuit now making its way through the courts. We believe in all roads to justice. Whether through the legislature or the courts, however we can win equality, we will.