Will N.J. Pass Gay Marriage?

It's an uphill battle in the Garden State where civil unions are already legal

Illustration by G Philly

A bill is getting ready to be introduced by Democratic lawmakers in neighboring New Jersey that would – if successful – legalize same-sex marriage, giving gay and lesbian couples more rights compared to the civil unions they are currently allowed. But a recent news report says that National Organization of Marriage (NOM), an anti-gay group opposed to same-sex nuptials, is also getting ready to spend big bucks to prevent the law from passing.

The Washington Times reports that NOM could spend as much as $500,000 to pressure lawmakers to vote against the bill. The group tried the same in New York – and lost. But with Gov. Chris Christie saying he would veto gay marriage, the stakes could change in Jersey (New York’s Gov. Andrew Cuomo was a tireless advocate for marriage equality).

“The media is reporting that gay marriage is sure to pass through the legislature, but we heard the same false story in 2009 and 2010. The people of New Jersey can and will stop this bill,” vows NOM President Brian Brown.

In a letter from Democratic members of New Jersey’s Congressional delegation – including both U.S. Senators and House members – state legislators are being asked to pass the marriage equality bill. “New Jersey has a proud history of civil rights leadership, and we must continue our role in pursuing fairness and equality,” the letter states.

It goes on to say that even though same-sex couples currently enjoy civil unions, the laws granted by it are not equal to marriage – and that these couples face discrimination in hospitals and when making medical decisions. They also can’t access the same tax benefits as married couples.

“The time has come to end discrimination in marriage,” the letter says. And Garden State Equality, the state’s LGBT group, estimates that more than 60 percent of the state agrees.

Those in favor of same-sex marriage can sign an online petition by clicking here.