The American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFFER) just released a list of ”States to Watch” for gay-marriage reform in 2013, and New Jersey is prominent on their radar. Here are three reasons why:
Currently, the state’s legislature is on a heated mission to gather enough votes to override Governor Christie’s veto on gay-marriage legislation that passed in 2012. According to AFFER, “Some organizers have expressed confidence that the support is there, and all that’s needed is some intense lobbying to shore up those votes.”
But while legislators clamor for votes, others, like Assemblymember Reed Gusciora, are fighting to put gay-marriage on the ballot — a move that, while potentially promising, has stirred controversy with Garden State Equality, Freedom to Marry and other same-sex-marriage-supporting lawmakers who believe putting such a measure in the people’s hands could be risky.
And if the legislative and electoral approaches don’t work out, AFFER says there’s hope in a pending legal case between Lambda Legal and state officials, stating that “the equal protection clause of the U.S. Constitution requires no less than full marriage equality.” The legal group is pulling out all the guns, including releasing touching videos portraying couples affected by Jersey’s current anti-gay-marriage policy. The one below features Jersey married couple Keith and Tom. Even though the pair have been together for 24 years and have two daughters, Tom and the kids were suddenly thrown off Keith’s healthcare plan because state auditors refused to recognize civil unions.