Lobbying for Marriage Equality in New Jersey

gaypridemarchT-blue copyThe Web Goddess and I are headed to Trenton Monday morning to lobby for pending legislation that would legalize same-sex marriage in New Jersey.  We’ll be car-pooling with friends both gay and straight from St. George’s Episcopal Church.

I’m covering the event for Maplewood Patch, a charter member of the Maplewood BlogolopolisTM.  Patch already has my preview story posted.

I’ll be wearing the snazzy T-shirt at left, designed by the Web Goddess of course, and available from Cafe Press.

This week is the last chance for at least four years to establish marriage equality legislatively in New Jersey.  If the state Senate Judiciary Committee votes the bill out of committee Monday, the full Senate is likely to vote on Thursday.  Democratic Governor Jon Corzine has said he would sign the bill.  Republican Governor-elect Chris Christie has said he would veto it.  At the committee hearing, the Right Reverend Mark M. Beckwith, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Newark and the Web Goddess’s boss, will be testifying in favor of the bill.

24 thoughts on “Lobbying for Marriage Equality in New Jersey

  1. I'd be curious to know how you get around those passages in the Bible that equate homosexuality to sin. And I'm not being facetious – I'd really just like to know.

  2. I'm sure you already realize that the shirt is contradictory. You can't be a true Christian and support gay marriage. As Rob stated – how do you reconcile your faith with the fact your faith says it is a sin?

  3. Look at it this way: if you believe in "marriage" as defined in the Bible, it's defined as one man and one woman. Period.

    Showing Christian love and friendship to gay folks is commendable, but be careful to examine what Scripture says about the the definition of marriage.

    And by the way, when and why is marriage (hetero or gay) ever the business of the state, anyhow? Why don't more conservatives back away from the state sanctioning or having anything to do with their marriages? You're a conservative, but your going to lobby for more legislation from the government to define what marriage should be? Why?

    I'd spend time re-reading both the Bible, and then the constitution.

  4. Rob, I believe that the God I worship would not create gay people if he thought their very existence were sinful. I reject the proposition that the scripture is "the inerrant word of God." The scriptures may be divinely inspired, but they were written by human beings within a social and political context that no longer applies.

    As a conservative and proponent of limited government, I'm sympathetic to your argument about state involvement. If we could start with a blank sheet of paper, I would argue that the state should not be in the marriage business at all.

    But secular governments have regulated marriage for centuries, and that will not change in my lifetime. Wherever regulation is going to exist, it's appropriate for conservatives and others to seek to shape that regulation.

    • Curious, do your Episcopalian elders have a problem with you not holding to the inerrancy of Scripture? They should, but then again, Episcopalian is one of those "catholic-lite" denominations, so who knows what they teach these days…

      I can't fathom being a Christian and yet at the same time holding to a cherry-picking mentality of Scripture – rather, you have to examine ALL scripture as Holy Spirit inspired, and from there examine the text to determine what is principle and what is cultural.

      You make a fair point about why God would create people gay, and on examining of scriptures I could see how the gay texts could potentially apply, as another commenter stated, to homosexual crimes moreso than just homosexuality. But that's assuming of course people are born gay, and the science there is debatable at best (much like darwinism)

      Again, though, instead of urging more government regulation on what marriage is and should be defined as, wouldn't it make more sense as a conservative to instead tell the government that it has NO BUSINESS defining marriage, be it hetero/homo/beast/plant?
      What business is it of the state?

      Or would opposing state regulation of marriage make one, as your other commenter stated, merely another "wingnut"? Cantcha feel the love tonight…

      • Rob, you say "I can't fathom being a Christian and yet at the same time holding to a cherry-picking mentality of Scripture", and then you conclude that same sentence by describing an appropriate methodology for cherry-picking Scripture.

        I would argue that since allowing same-sex marriage would eliminate the need for civil-union and domestic-partner laws, the net effect would be LESS government regulation of marriage. In any event, wherever regulation of any kind exists, I believe it's appropriate for small-government conservatives to seek to modify the regulation, rather than limiting themselves to a hopeless absolutist position of seeking to eliminate regulation.

  5. Rob, that one man-one woman Biblical thing also included polygamy. And when was the last time you had a nice ham sandwich or a lobster roll? Those are no-nos, too, according to our friend Leviticus.

    If you're up for learning more about what the Bible actually says (and doesn't say) about homosexuality, I recommend that you rent an excellent documentary called "For the Bible Tells Me So." The premise of the movie is pretty neatly summed up by one priest (sorry I can't remember his name), who says, "There's nothing wrong with having a fifth grade understanding of the Bible…if you're in fifth grade."

  6. BoBo, do you really believe you have sufficient insight and authority to judge who is and is not a "true Christian"? REALLY?

    Rob, I would "get around" the anti-gay passages in the Bible the same way I get around other objectionable scriptures — by recognizing that they were written in another time for another audience. I am Episcopalian, and the cornerstones of Episcopal faith are scripture, tradition and reason.

    By "other objectionable scriptures" I'm referring, for example, to passages that condone slavery and specify the death penalty for a wide range of offenses, including cursing one's parents, being "a stubborn and rebellious son," working on the Sabbath, etc.

  7. The Ecclesiastical rules didn't "define marriage". You're allowed to look at your Bible on this one. The conservatives didn't either. It's the wingnut religious right faction that was consolidated to make a declining Republican party come back into power under Reagan, though Reagan himself was a union leader in Hollywood, and his personal feelings were known to be inclusive. Witness the warm feelings of the Log Cabin Republicans for him.

    The Ecclesiastical rules do prohibit homosexuality, but also the wearing of garments with more than one fabric, the eating of animals with a cloven hoof, the failure to grow full beards, the prohibition of Sabbath work, etc. But apart from whether they were written for our time, and whether people who would judge today are even following the rules, (or cherrypicking them to justify their bigotry), for Christians, there is a greater example to follow from the life of Christ.

  8. Christ intended to poke some of the rules in the eye with his life, for example with his example against the prohibition of work by giving the parable of the sheep lost down the well on the Sabbath. He also made way for new commandments, the greatest of these being to love your neighbor. His choice of wording is important, because his intention is interpretive and to throw out the parts of the old testament code that do not serve his "new commandments".
    And as to the separation of church and state. The founding fathers are turning over in their graves over the justification of politics through the lens of religion, even false religion.

  9. For the policial and social arguments, GLBS marriage in my mind justifies conservative values, apart from wingnut hyperbole: 1) it promotes commitment and marriage among gay parents, and apart from the wishes of wingnuts, gay parents are biolgically and legally able to be so, and the failure to allow marriage does not allow any alternative. (I do not use the term illegitimate, because as an adoptive parent, I believe every child is legitimate.) 2) It promotes equality and constitutional equal protection along the tax and social welfare codes of federal and state. There are 400-1200 rights that are denied unmarried life partners, some downright cruel, such as the lack of the ability to participate in medical decisions for a suddenly uncapacitated life partner. 3) It promotes the societal and economic productivity of nmarriage that the legal and tax codes have been proven to provide. This is why the tax and legal codes have favored married people in the first place.

    What morality is there in denying people who love each other the ability to make a commitment and to share in the legal protections around same?

  10. dano, as a social liberal who is conservative on fiscal and national security issues, I generally prefer to avoid such terms as "wingnut". But otherwise I think you make some terrific points.

    Elaine, thanks for stopping by. Mmmmm… lobster rolls….

  11. The Bible does talk about marriage as a union of a man and a woman … and, of course, that is the most common and traditional form of marriage. However, where in the bible does it say that is the ONLY acceptable kind of marriage? Also, can you cite chapter and verse of bible passages that condemn homosexuality SEPARATE from the condemnation of homosexual violence, rape, etc.? Perhaps there are some, but I haven't been able to find them. OF COURSE homosexual violence and rape are wrong as is the case with ANY sort of violence and rape!

  12. I'm economically conservative and a Democrat. I stand for traditional Republican or Democratic conservative policy values: 1) preservation of the environment 2) not getting involved in civil actions elsewhere unless necessary 3) givng a hand up and helping everyone enjoy liberty 3) not letting religion or false patriotism stand in the way of economic progress, 4) and I didn't care for everyone who marched over war hero Kerry or decried veteran Bush II's service, among other things. Ford, Reagan, Dole, Clinton, et al. leading up to the 8-year disaster…

    Starting from Bush II's a) installation and b) election, the neocons have overridden the conservatives. Widening the income gap, acting like Puritans, and invading other countries was never a conservative plan, but a neocon wet dream gone wild. Wingnut… wingnut… wingnut… wingnut…. nyahhh nyahh nyahhh nahhhh… haha.

  13. The Ecclesiastical rules were installed after the worship of the God Baal and the ultimatum to drink of the dissolved gold dust afterwards along with the creation of the Ark of the Covenant. The laws were meant to identify believers, defined at the time to be among only Jews of the tribe of Levi. They also meant to exclude hedonism by creating practices that were exclusive and perhaps sensible for the time, given the filth of cloven-hoof anmals for example.

    Christ's life was intended to extend those rights and belief to all, including for example Samaritans, as demonstrated by the famous parable. By the way, Christ wasn't married. If I were a "birther" or another sort of heretic, should I believe through this that Christ didn't support marriage at all? I don't think so.

  14. Definitions of the time don't necessarily apply. They only HAD men and women. Psychotic people were DEFINED to be possessed of the devil, and we know a little better now. Lineage was thought to be transferred among the men only, they thought that the man's seed was only incubated by the woman. etc. etc. Read sometime the lineage of Christ's birth from David and see that it was only transferred through the men.

  15. I meant to say that I was a Democrat only fairly recently, and that my prerferences were for the pres's above, not that they marched over veterans Kerry and Bush.

  16. LOL – I am THE authority on Christianity. All opinion ends with mine and mine alone. LOL. Just kidding. Here's the scoop in a nutshell – born and baptised catholic. raised non-denominational but a practicing Christian visiting whatever church was around depending on what city/country we were stationed in. Became an avid reader of all mythology – (Greek, Roman, Norse, Hindu, etc). Became a Hebrew linguist and learned to read, write, and speak it fluently as well as learning the culture and reading the Torah in Hebrew. At that point I became agnostic as I couldn't reconcile everything I had learned. Went back to college and studied physics – became an atheist for a while after that. Had a near death experience in which I had to be revived – and had to reconcile with what I saw. Became a believer again and rejoined the Catholic church. I've been all across the board and I have read the Christian Bible, the Torah in Hebrew, the Koran, and the Veda. I would say that I come from a very educated vantage point with this and with relative comparisons.

    I can say without uncertainty that Christianity does not condone gay marriage. I would also contend that homosexuality is a medical abnormality that can be treated. God did not make them born gay. There are obvious hormonal imbalances as evidenced by gender change operations. However, rather than give a female massive doses of testosterone to make her a him and give a male massive doses of progesterone and estrogen to make him a her – why not do just the opposite? Give the females more female hormones and the males more male hormones to bring them back in balance?

  17. Though you are well-read, the Episcopalian faith and the allied Lutheran Synods are presently in a struggle between the parishes that desire gay marriage among other issues and those that don't. So, I can unequivocally say that Christianity is not without uncertainty in regards to gay marriage, and that many parishes of different faiths support it. Read the many books of Bishop Spong of the Newark Archdiocese (retired). and the Bill Maher show.

    Elininate my nyahhh nyahhh comments. I was being playful but they look childish and obnoxious! sorry…

  18. dano, I've interpreted your last paragraph literally, and snipped the nyahhn nyahhh from your earlier post.

    BoBo, the overwhelming majority of gay people do not take hormones or undergo sex-change operations.

  19. Pingback: Today’s NJ Gay Marriage Vote Hurts Real People :All That Is Necessary…

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