By Susan Brinkmann, OCDS
New Jersey lawmakers in the state Senate decided to call off a much-anticipated vote on a bill legalizing same-sex “marriage” after realizing that they lacked the votes to pass it.
NJ.com is reporting that the bill’s sponsors, Sens. Raymond J. Lesniak (D-NJ20) and Loretta Weinberg (D-NJ37) revoked the bill from the Senate’s agenda late Wednesday evening, saying they wanted to “strenthen support” and give the General Assembly an opportunity to review the bill first.
Even though Democrats firmly control the NJ Senate by a 23-17 margin, not all of them support homosexual “marriage.” A survey of lawmakers found that only 13 publicly supported the bill while 18 said they were against it. The remaining nine were either undecided or refused to state their position publicly.
This decision could prove costly for proponents of same-sex “marriage” because even though it gives them more time to lobby members of the General Assembly’s Judiciary Committee, that Committee is not scheduled to return to the State House until Jan. 7. This leaves little time for both state houses to schedule a vote before Gov. John Corzine leaves office on Jan. 19. Gov. Corzine has already said he will sign the bill while his successor, Republican Governor-elect Chris Christie, has promised to veto it.
An additional problem is that support for the bill in the Assembly is uncertain. Assembly Speaker Joseph J. Roberts Jr. (D-NJ 5) said in a statement that he was “disappointed that the sponsors have decided to delay the Senate vote” and said he did not yet have enough members in the Assembly to pass the legislation.
Roberts added, “I must emphasize that no hearing has been scheduled and that I am continuing to discuss this issue with our caucus to gauge whether there is enough support for it.”
The recent defeat of similar legislation in Maine in New York could be making the issue into a political pariah for many undecided lawmakers in a state where recent polls show that 49 percent of the public disapproves of same-sex “marriage” with only 46 percent saying they endorse it.
The latest polls show a marked reversal of opinion since April when a Quinnipiac poll showed 49 percent of residents in favor of same-sex marriage and 43 percent opposed.
Apparently, opponents of same-sex “marriage” are getting their message across.
The state’s bishops have also weighed in, instructing their priests to read a letter at every Mass about the importance of marriage and why they should oppose same-sex “marriage.” The latest Rutgers-Eagleton poll, taken in early November, showed that 48 percent of voters who described themselves as Catholics were in favor of same-sex marriage with 40 percent opposed. On the other hand, 55 percent of Protestants opposed same-sex “marriage” with only 34 percent in favor.
As of this date, it is uncertain what impact the bishop’s campaign had on Catholic voters.
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