Marriage Equality has been accomplished. On Thursday, February 16, 2012, New Jersey became the third state in American history to pass a marriage equality bill. The news is notable given that the governor of NJ is adamantly opposed to marriage equality. The Senate passed the bill on Monday, February 13, with a vote of 24 to 16, on Monday. This vote was followed by a vote by the Assembly, which passed the bill 42 to 33. Governor Christie will most likely to veto the legislation. The legislature has until January 2014, the end of the current legislative session, to override the veto.
The CEO and Chair of Garden State Equality, Steven Goldstein, gave the following statement, regarding this historic vote:
“Since Stonewall, we have been on a 40-year journey toward our freedom. Today, the legislature has brought us to the edge of the promised land. We know the Governor won’t let us enter, but we finally behold the view of our dreams and we will never turn back.
"But we had the people and the passion – and the greatest leaders in Senate President Steve Sweeney, Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver, Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg, Assembly Majority Leader Lou Greenwald, Assembly Speaker Pro Tempore Jerry Green, Democratic Party Chair Assemblyman John Wisniewski, and the peerless pioneer in the New Jersey legislature, Assemblyman Reed Gusciora.
We thank the unsung heroes of the legislative process – the legislative staff, especially the Assembly Majority and Senate Majority staff. "We are exuberant advocates but also methodical strategists. To win an override, we will take the time we need, assisted by a changing world. Look how the world changed since the last vote two years ago. We have until the end of the legislative session, January 2014. The key is winning. “We could not have achieved this milestone without our partner organizations. Freedom to Marry was the national linchpin that never stopped believing in Garden State Equality, not even after our profound disappointment two years ago, and made this milestone possible.
Pursuing all roads to justice, Garden State Equality and seven-same sex couples will continue our lawsuit for marriage equality, where we are represented by Lambda Legal and the nationally renowned Gibbons law firm. With this victory, the courts will see the legislature’s clear intent to replace the state’s failed civil union law with marriage equality. "