Thursday, February 16, 2012

One Step Forward, One Back

Earlier this week, Washington’s Democratic governor, Christine Gregoire, signed landmark legislation legalizing same-sex marriage in the Evergreen State. Today, New Jersey’s Assembly passed a bill making same-sex marriages legal in that state as well, but New Jersey’s Republican governor, Chris Christie, has already declared he’ll veto it. Christie says he would prefer that the issue be put to a public vote, but that’s nothing more than a delaying tactic.

As The Associated Press reports, the odds of overriding Christie’s veto are high. But that doesn’t mean supporters of marriage equality in the Garden State are ready to give up:
The bill would need several Republican votes in each house to override the governor; Christie himself essentially guaranteed that that won’t happen.

With that in mind, Democrats who identified same-sex marriage as their No. 1 priority for the two-year legislative session that began in January have adopted a longer view. They say there’s no rush for an override vote, especially because the Legislature has been unsuccessful in every prior attempt to override Christie, most notably to reinstate a surcharge on millionaires.

Instead, they plan to bide their time in hopes that support for gay marriage--currently 52-42 percent in New Jersey, according to one recent voter poll--will continue to grow.
Dems are right in their calculation. Recent polls show a majority of Americans now approve of same-sex marriage. And even Jim Daly, president of the right-wing group Focus on the Family, concedes that a rising tide of young people who favor marriage equality means “we’ve probably lost that [debate].”

It’s only a matter of time before New Jersey falls in line behind Washington, Massachusetts, New York, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Washington, D.C., in granting marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

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