Although the same-sex marriage bill in New Jersey has a long way to go, today, a petition signed by more than 2,300 Democratic officials, advocates, and residents, has been helping to sway members of the State Senate Judiciary Committee to legalize gay marriage. The petition was circulated by the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, which is a liberal political advocacy group.
Among the signees was Senator Raymond J. Lesniak, a Democrat from Union County, who says that the petition produces a strong “momentum change” for the bill, although is has been stalled in the last few weeks. Lesniak is a member of the Judiciary Committee, which plans to vote on the bill on Monday. He predicts that the bill would pass, although the vote would be close.
Mayor Cory A. Booker of Newark, also signed the petition, along with Ronald K. Chen, the state’s public advocate, and J. Frank Vespa-Papaleo, director of the state’s Division on Civil Rights.
The Judiciary Committee expects to hear a lot of testimony from both sides on Monday, including testimony from gay couples who would be criticizing and pointing out the faults in the state’s current civil union law, which was passed in 2006.
New York voted down gay marriage legislation earlier this week, and a referendum in Maine also turned down gay marriage recently, so it is anyone’s guess as to what will happen to the bill in New Jersey. If it passes, it could set a precedent which states such as New York and Maine might wind up following.