Wednesday, January 6, 2010


The arm-twisting continues in and around the State House in Trenton as supporters of a bill to legalize gay marriage in New Jersey try to garner enough support to pass it in the State Senate tomorrow (1/07/10).

Democrats control the State Senate by 22-17 margin. It was 23-17, but former Democratic State Senator Dana Redd is now mayor of Camden. 21 votes are needed to pass a bill. Democratic Senators Paul Sarlo, John Girgenti, Jeff Van Drew and Ron Rice have said they will not support the gay marriage bill, but Republican Senator Bill Baroni will vote in favor it. That leaves the measure short of passage. Several other Democratic Senators have indicated they might also vote against it.

Ray Lesniak, one of the bill's sponsors thinks the debate on the floor of the Senate will convince undecided Senators to vote for the bill. He says he's talking about the legislation to anybody who will listen. State Senate President Dick Codey says last month's vote on the bill was scrapped because there was not enough suppoort and he claims nothing has changed since then. Codey says Lesniak must have a lot of confidence in his own skills as an orator if thinks the floor debate will decide the issue.

Steven Goldstein, head of Garden State Equality is threatening to abandon Democrats if they don't pass the bill, but none of the lawmakers seem concerned. It is unlikely that Goldstein's group will withold support for the party itself (financial and otherwise). Goldstein may turn his back on the Democrats currently in office, but the make up of the state's legislative district map all but gaurantees incumbents will get re-elected so the threat is not very potent.

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