N.J. marriage vote deferred

Sens. Ray Lesniak and Loretta Weinberg, the two main sponsors of the bill to legalize same-sex marriage now before the New Jersey Senate have asked that the bill be deferred to give the state Assembly time to introduce and consider its own version of the bill.

The move has the approval of Garden State Equality, New Jersey’s main LGBT advocacy organization.

—  admin

Springsteen, Grant's great-great-grandson back marriage; NJ Senate to act this week

Ulysses Dietz
Ulysses Dietz

Ulysses Dietz, the great-great-grandson of President Ulysses S. Grant, wrote an editorial in the Newark Star Ledger supporting same-sex marriage in New Jersey. Dietz is curator of the Newark Museum and lives in New Jersey with his partner of 34 years. (Ulysses Grant is buried in New York, where same-sex marriage was voted d0wn last week).

In his column, Dietz talks about having been stopped at the Canadian border by U.S. border patrol and separated from his children as if he and his partner were kidnapping them. But he says that isn’t as bad as someone not able to visit a hospitalized partner, something that continues to happen in New Jersey despite civil unions.

In New Jersey, a bill that would upgrade the state’s civil unions to marriage passed out of committee on Monday and will be voted on by the full Senate on Thursday.

Another famous Turnpike State resident, Bruce Springsteen, wrote on his Web site that he favors the same-sex marriage legislation. Springsteen quotes the current governor, Jon Corzine.

“The marriage-equality issue should be recognized for what it truly is — a civil rights issue that must be approved to assure that every citizen is treated equally under the law,” Corzine said.

In November, Corzine was defeated for re-election. For New Jersey to gain marriage equality, the legislation must get to his desk by the middle of January for him to sign. Chris Christie, the Republican who will replace him, said he would veto such legislation.

A poll by 1010 WINS, a New York City radio station, last month showed that New Jersey residents favor same-sex marriage 46-42 percent.

—  David Taffet

Marriage hearing under way in N.J.

As Tammye mentioned below, the next round in the battle over same-sex marriage is under way this afternoon in New Jersey, where the Senate Judiciary Committee is taking up the matter. If the bill that would legalize same-sex marriage in the Garden State clears committee, it could be voted on by the full Senate on Thursday. The bill also still needs to pass the state Assembly.

According to The Star-Ledger, more than a thousand supporters of same-sex marriage surrounded the Statehouse this morning in advance of today’s hearing. You can listen to the Judiciary Committee’s hearing live by going here.

—  John Wright

Marriage vote in New Jersey

The New Jersey Senate could vote as early as today on a bill to legalize same-sex marriage in The Garden State.

According to TheGothamist.com, the Senate Judiciary Committee is expected to approve the measure, but the vote on the floor will be much closer. Although the Democrats hold a majority in the Senate, some of those Democrats are against gay marriage. So they need some Republicans to vote for it.

And timing is key. Democratic Gov. John Corzine supports same-sex marriage. But he was defeated in the November elections by Republican Chris Christie, who will take office oin Jan. 19 and has said he would veto gay marriage.

—  admin

The 'sanctity' of marriage

dating website

This week the National Organization for Marriage celebrated when the New York Senate defeated the bill that would have legalized same-sex marriage there. “Praise God!” the NOM folks exulted in an e-mail to supporters. They were ecstatic that they had managed to defeat this horrible threat to the sanctity of marriage in New York, and they urged their supporters to keep sending that money so they could move on to New Jersey and stop the threat of gay marriage there.

It made me so mad I wanted to “break plates and strangle ducks,” to borrow a line from Ellsworth Schave’s play “A Texas Romance.”

And why did it make me so mad, you may ask. I’ll tell you. It made me mad because I am sick and tired of hearing people talk about how my loving, committed, monogamous relationship with my wife will somehow taint straight people’s marriages and even destroy the “sacred institution” of marriage itself.

And then today, I got an e-mail with this subject line: “Hook up with lonely Wives for affairs?.” No joke. This e-mail was urging me to “join free right now” so that I could “date lonely cheating wives” and “search for sexy married personals of cheating women who wish to date in your area.” It proudly proclaimed this as “a new website that caters to lonely cheating women who find relationships outside their marriage.”

First of all, let me say, I do not visit online dating sites. I am happily married and have no need of finding a date. Secondly, This isn’t a Web site that caters to lesbians; I checked to make sure. There is a line that specifically says: “Meet lonely wives seeking affection online from men tonight!” And thirdly, I am pretty sure that this site makes money; it wouldn’t have been created if it didn’t.

And yet, it’s my relationship — my loving, committed, monogamous relationship — with my same-sex partner that is destroying the sacred institution of marriage? Give me a freakin’ break!

Just a warning, you’d better  hide the plates and the ducks, because I am still mad. And getting madder by the minute.

—  admin

Next week, NJ may do what NY wouldn't

NJ

New York and New Jersey have a rivalry as fierce as that between Oklahoma and Texas. But next week, New Jersey may be the winner in the area of civil rights leaving New York far behind.

Despite the recent defeat of marriage equality in Maine and New York, the New Jersey legislature may vote on upgrading from civil unions to marriage as early as next week.

But the Turnpike State is under a deadline. Current Gov. Jon Corzine was defeated for re-election in November. Corzine supports marriage equality.

The new Republican governor, Chris Christie, said he will veto any marriage equality bill. So any bill must pass and be signed before the end of the year. If not, the law would have to pass with a super-majority over a veto or wait four years until the next administration.

The Newark Star-Ledger reports that a Senate committee will consider the bill on Monday and the full Senate will vote on Thursday.

Note: and before anyone from Joisey says anything about my choice of picture for this post, most of my family is from Joisey. And my parents are buried dere. Exit 11. Woodbridge.

—  David Taffet

Frightening possible consequences of a 'conversion'

Dwan Prince and his mother, Valerie Prinez
Dwan Prince and his mother, Valerie Prinez

One June 8, 2005, Dwan Prince was standing behind his apartment in Brooklyn, N.Y., taking out his garbage, when he got into an argument a man named Steven Pomie. Prince, according to the LGBT Hate Crimes Project, responded rather flirtatiously to something Pomie said to him, prompting Pomie to leave and then return with two friends to attack Prince, yelling anti-gay epithets as they beat and kicked and stomped him.

Now, according to reports in The Gay City News, Prince has sent Pomie a letter apologizing for having made “hateful” statements to Pomie, and expressing his hope that Pomie will receive a light sentence.

On the night of the attack, a neighbor sitting on the stoop in front of the building heard the commotion and went to Prince’s rescue, but not before Prince was beaten into unconsciousness, according to the LGBT Hate Crimes Project. He was hospitalized in the ICU at Brookdale Hospital and remained in a coma for more than a month, suffering from a blood clot the size of a soda can in his brain

Prince, who is HIV-positive, had to have three brain surgeries and still was left partially paralyzed. He also suffered impaired speech and cognitive problems, including memory loss, along with nerve damage that left him with uncontrollable tremors and constant pain in his limbs.

Once he left the hospital, Prince had to move in with his mother, Valerie Prinez, in New Jersey. Prinez, a paralegal, had to take unpaid leave from her job to care for her son and later had to declare bankruptcy. She told The New York Blade that when she asked her church for help, she was turned down after the church found out her son was gay.

Pomie was arrested eight days later in New Jersey and was later convicted of first-degree assault and first-degree assault as a hate crime and sentenced to 25 years in prison. A state appellate court reversed the conviction last year and ordered that he be tried again on second-degree charges of assault and assault as a hate crime.

But last month, according to Gay City News, Prince sent Pomie a letter of apology. The apology comes, GCN reports, after Prince started attending a Bible study class and telling people he is no longer gay.

The letter read, in part: “First please allow me to deeply apology [sic] for my hated comment. Please I do hope you know I am truly deeply sorry for what ever was sayed [sic] that night. I have made some big mistakes in my life and that was the stupidiest [sic] and biggest one of all. … I was at blame so it is my to my strongest degree that you get out as soon as possible. … Steve you changed me! So hopefully when you get out we can hang out. You know me. I know you. I help you calm that angry machine down. And allow you to know I am not gay but a lover, and you can find me a female I can love and can love me.”

Okay, I don’t know about you, but this makes me pretty mad. This man was beaten nearly to death, and no he is apologizing to the guy who did it?! Sounds like “conversion therapy” at its finest, doesn’t it? And here’s the really good part: This “apology” from Prince to Pomie could endanger prosecutors’ chances of winning a conviction in the new trial, which means it’s more likely that another hate-filled gay basher will be set free to roam the streets and find another queer to beat up, maybe even kill.

—  admin