The Gay Marriage Debate is Over in New Jersey

The Gay Marriage Debate is Over in New Jersey

The most common question I’ve fielded over the last two weeks:

“Why aren’t you speaking out against S-1 more forcefully, Matt?”

It’s a fair question. I had plenty to say about the topic last time around in December 2009/January 2010.

Part of the answer is “because there’s infinitely more important issues out there” to discuss. Iranian nukes, a less-than-healthy economy and a looming presidential election come to mind.

I’m also tired of doing it alone, Save Jerseyans.

Brian McGovern and I had this discussion at the end of last week…

Isn’t it remarkable that not a single, solitary New Jersey GOP legislator has stood up and opposed gay marriage?

Not one.

Yes, several State House Republicans have demanded a public ballot initiative as an alternative to enactment by legislation. This approach is consistent with then-NJGOP Chairman Jay Webber’s call for an up-or-down referendum back in December 2009 right before the first big marriage equality vote.

Invoking the “democracy defense” makes a good deal of sense from a political standpoint to call the Democrat leadership’s bluff; God knows voters (gay and straight alike) need to see how the Democrats’ motivations behind pushing this issue are less than pure. Very much so.

That said, declaring “let’s allow the people decide” instead of agreeing to vote post-haste is not the same thing as tackling this extremely important issue on its merits. Some might say it’s a tad intellectually dishonest. Or even a bit cowardly.

At the very least, I think many voters will interpret the GOP strategy as passing the buck at a time when we’re criticizing Democrats for refusing to vote on the Governor’s judicial nominees.

I’m not 100% sure where this hesitation comes from. There are plenty of reasonable, rational arguments in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage. But there are just as many equally-justifiable reasons to oppose it. Many of my libertarian-minded friends make a good argument for taking the institution away from government altogether.

Wouldn’t it be nice to discuss them? Assembly GOP Leader Jon Bramnick would disagree with me. I guess the entire GOP caucus disagrees, too.

And until one of them changes his or her mind, the gay marriage debate in New Jersey is effectively over. Finished. Fin. After all, it’s not a real debate if there’s only one conservative blogger discussing it!

 

36 thoughts on “The Gay Marriage Debate is Over in New Jersey

  1. On a personal level I dearly hope you'll see this issue differently one day, Matt.

    On a partisan level, I dearly DEARLY hope you'll continue to argue against it. It's an argument that loses potency with each passing election, you do realize that don't you?

  2. Here's how I see the issue:

    What are the potential ramifications when a legislative body decides it can redefine organic social institutions and allow anyone to partake in the franchise based off of solely (1) consent and (2) a loving, committed relationship?

    No one is born a slave, a king, or a doctor, or a lawyer, or a democrat, or a republican, or whatever. Those labels are not organic; they're manmade social institutions.

    But we are born "man" or "woman." Those are real, tangible, physical, chemical differences, and they've formed the building blocks of our civilization.

    I understand biology (or at least basic high school level biology). I don't really understand why #2 gives rise to a "civil right?"

    Isn't a "right" implicitly a product of something foundational? Aren't we really arguing about eliminating a social stigma? And if that's so, doesn't it make sense to address the allegedly inequities statutorily (related to healthcare, power of attorney, etc) and take it away from the government altogether?

    And I'm instinctively concerned about the foundation of our culture when intellectual giants (sarcasm) like Steve Sweeney and Sheila Oliver take it upon themselves to start yanking building materials out of the base?

    Help me out here, Jay. I'm willing to have the discussion. Everyone else is trying to run from the issue or ram it through.

    I'm not a numbnuts or a George Wallace!

  3. you ask: But we are born “man” or “woman.” Those are real, tangible, physical, chemical differences, and they’ve formed the building blocks of our civilization. I understand biology (or at least basic high school level biology).

    my reply: it sounds like you're saying that marriage is only for baby-making. if you believe this is the case, then i have no argument other than to say "I disagree" and lots of couples without kids (or second marriage) might disagree as well.

    p.s. unless you're an unmarried virgin, you might want to reconsider that point.

    you ask: What are the potential ramifications when a legislative body decides it can redefine organic social institutions and allow anyone to partake in the franchise based off of solely (1) consent and (2) a loving, committed relationship?

    if you believe that marriage equality will be a harbinger for polygamy — or god knows what else – then again, I probably can't change your mind. but i disagree.

    and finally, you posit that "No one is born a slave, a king, or a doctor, or a lawyer, or a democrat, or a republican, or whatever."

    my reply is "but you WERE both straight and i WAS born gay." Do you deserve the right be married because of /your/ birthright?

    let's keep the discussion going. we'll NEVER agree on everything but i am not gonna give up on you guys when it comes to gay marriage equality.

    Thanks for giving me a forum to disagree.

  4. I think gay marriage shloud be voted on by people of the states. It is a moral issue, not a religious one. There are Protestants, Catholics, Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Jehovah's Witnesses, and atheists who oppose gay marriage. It is not like telling someone to pray to Allah 5 x a day or take communion. It is not a central tenet of any one faith, so it does not constitute enforcing one religion on the rest of society, as England did 200 plus years ago. No state ever voted for gay marriage

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