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Gay marriage fight in N.J. headed to court

Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot

“Our side is going back to court to win marriage equality,” Steven Goldstein, president of Garden State Equality vowed Thursday after the state Senate in Trenton rejected same-sex marriage. “We are not waiting out the term of any new Administration.”

Steven Goldstein
Chair/Ceo Garden State Equality

Goldstein said the group is again partnering with Lambda Legal, a national group of lawyers, social workers and others dedicated to expanding the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people and those with HIV “through impact litigation, education and public policy work.”

Goldstein blamed today’s defeat on Gov. Jon Corzine’s Election Day loss in November to Governor-elect Christopher Christie, who said he would veto a gay marraige bill. Corzine, on the other hand, said he would sign one instantly.

“Before the election, nearly every neutral observer in New Jersey thought marriage equality was certain to become law in lame duck,” Goldstein said. “[W]e had votes to spare in the Senate, including from a number of Republicans.”

However, he said, “our opponents had the Governor-elect on their side, and that’s all they needed to have.”

Goldstein cited several lawmakers — some of them opponents of gay marriage — who said New Jersey’s civil union system, enacted in 2006, doesn’t work.

“Though we didn’t achieve our final victory today, we’re better positioned than we were a few months ago to win marriage equality,” he said.

As is his unique style, Goldstein didn’t pull any punches.

“To be clear, we will continue to support those who support us,” he said. “Over the past five-and-a-half years, the separate Garden State Equality political committee has provided thousands of campaign volunteers and raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for supportive candidates through contributions to the organization, or through contributions from individuals directly to candidates.”

“To those who let us all down, here’s our policy: Don’t ask, don’t expect. You can’t take progressives’ money and volunteers with one hand, slap us in the face with the other, and then act astonished when we declare our independence,” Goldstein said. “The marketplace of democracy runs along a two-way street.”

Indeed, Garden State Equality is a force to be reckoned with. Since its founding five years ago, Goldstein said, New Jersey has enacted 210 LGBT civil rights laws at the state, county and local levels, a national record, he said.

“We have 64,000 members – LGBT and straight alike – who have improved the lives of millions. A watchdog organization,, just ranked New Jersey #1 in America for LGBT rights, tied with three other states,” Goldstein said, “and we haven’t even won marriage equality yet.”

Read today’s CLIFFVIEW PILOT editorial: Same-sex senators won’t approve same-sex marriage

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