Thursday, January 7, 2010

NJ ASSEMBLY SPEAKER ON GAY MARRIAGE BILL BEHIND THE SCENES

It is very rare for a New Jersey politician to lay his or her cards on the table even ex post facto, but that's exactly what New Jersey Assembly Speaker Joe Roberts did yesterday (1/07/10) in his State House office after the State Senate defeated a bill that would have legalized gay marriage in the Garden State.

Roberts was criticized by many for not posting the Marriage Equality bill for consideration in the Assembly Judiciary Committee as requested by the sponsors of the measure in the Senate. After Roberts denied that request he vowed to post the bill for a full vote in his house if (and only if) it passed the full Senate first.

Yesterday, Roberts explained what was happening behind closed doors. He said, “I was fully prepared to take the bill directly to the Assembly floor on Monday had it passed the Senate. I also want to make clear what would have happened had the bill received a January 4 Assembly Judiciary Committee hearing – the bill would not have been released and it would have died then."

I asked Roberts if he considered replacing democratic members of the Judiciary panel with other democrats who would have supported the gay marriage bill. He said he did try that, but members have to agree to be replaced and they wouldn't. He explained that he could have removed a member "for cause," but none of them were derelict in their duties. Roberts also said he entertained the idea of having the bill heard in a different committee, but he kept running into the same problem he had with Judiciary. The Speaker said that out of respect for his colleagues he waited until after the Senate vote to go public with what was really happening behind the scenes.

Roberts called yesterday, "A very, very sad day."

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Joe Roberts, being an unmarried middle aged man, seems to be in the closet as a gay....No wonder he supports gay marriage.

Anonymous said...

Wrong Roberts, it was a very very happy day. Our God Reigns!! And always will!!

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Carl Peter Klapper said...

I am sure somebody who was not a Democrat (note the initial) could have found a few members of that committee who could be removed for cause. It probably wouldn't have helped Roberts get the vote he wanted on this bill, though.

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