N.J. Republicans go different ways over federal gay marriage bill

It’s one of those issues which elicited different substantive opinions (or at least different strategic considerations) inside the Republican Party, Save Jerseyans.

This week, 47 Republicans – including New Jersey’s Jeff Van Drew –  joined the Democrat majority  to pass the “Respect for Marriage Act” by a 267-157 margin. The majority of the GOP caucus (including Chris Smith of NJ-04) voted against it.

“The Supreme Court made its decision,” Van Drew told the New Jersey Globe. “You can’t pick and choose the Supreme Court positions you like and the Supreme Court positions you don’t like… I recognize it, I accept it, and I move on.”

The bill’s fate remains far less than certain in the U.S. Senate where Dems need 10 GOP defections to overcome a filibuster.

Two of this cycle’s NJGOP House nominees – Frank Pallotta of NJ-05 and Bob Healey of NJ-03 – expressed support for the bill, but their adopted tones were very different:

So what we’ve heard from New Jersey Republicans on this, folks, ranges from pragmatic political analysis (Van Drew) to pro-gay marriage moral indignation (Healey).

What’s missing from just about every Republican reaction is something to address to actual heart of the matter:

Is this a federal issue?

There are compelling conservative arguments FOR permitting gay marriage or, if you want to go a step further, getting government out of marriage altogether.

There are equally and I’d assert not contradictory arguments that DOMA (on one extreme) and the Obergefell decision on the other injected the federal government into an issue and an institution that properly belongs to the states… like abortion?

Do you see where I’m going with this?

How/where public officials draw the line on government’s power is arguably the most important consideration in any election.

I’d very much like to here our federa legislators and prospective legislators weigh in. Wouldn’t you?

Matt Rooney
About Matt Rooney 7826 Articles
MATT ROONEY is SaveJersey.com's founder and editor-in-chief, a practicing New Jersey attorney, and the host of 'The Matt Rooney Show' on 1210 WPHT every Sunday evening from 7-10PM EST.