I work and pay taxes (both state and federal). And I have done that for more than 30 years of active employment. I am an educated man, have gone to a rather good public school system before completing a bachelor degree program at a liberal arts college. I pay attention to the issues of today, watching the news, reading some newspaper columns, as well as reading about them on the internet. While not the most intelligent man in the country, I consider myself reasonably studied and smart.
So, on Thursday afternoon while at work, I found a weblink to the hearings and vote for the marriage equality bill yesterday. I heard some compelling reasoning, and some crankiness. But I quickly realized there was a bit of political grandstanding going on, with some old rhetoric tossed in. Frankly, Senator Sean Kean, I am not impressed 'some of your best friends are gay' if you are going to throw a hissy and vote against civil rights because your feelings are hurt another senator called your prejudice out. If I was your 'gay friend' who owned the restaurant where you hosted a party, I would have to suggest there must be other separate, even though not equal, restaurants he could walk his entitled ass to next time.
As for the desire for several Republicans to put this out to a public vote, shame on you for either abdicating your duties as law-makers, or just using the latest RNC talking points to hide your bigotry. Perhaps I would believe you more if you started putting everything up for a public vote, not just the civil rights of a minority group. Remember the uproar when women were granted the right to vote? Wasn't by a public vote. How about when African Americans were given equality, was that by public vote? Nope, it wasn't. But a few annoying state senators seem to want to push that aside, because that plays well for the teabag crowd, and allows them to not take responsibility for placing a vote. Instead, they think placing the rights of a minority in the hands of the majority to be what the fore-fathers had in mind. Although, for the life of me, I don't remember the discussion of any public referendums in any of my history classes
And to the jackass who mentioned going back in time a few thousand years and ask people the definition of marriage, you are sadly mistaken. There were plenty of polygamous marriages, often referred to as harems. The women were nothing more than chattel, sold by fathers to the highest bidder. Older men often purchased teenaged girls, so you really wanna go there? No rights for people of color or women, both more property than people. And no age restrictions on marriage - as long as a man can buy the female, that is fine. And children, of course, had no rights, no guaranty of education, but certainly made to be put to work.
I mean, really, if you wanna be a brazen bigot, own it. Don't play wounded victim - 'Oh, you hurt my feelings calling me a homophobe just because I think the gays are not worthy of the rights I have' - because you aren't a victim, you are a victimizer. And to the jerk who claimed the discussion of marriage equality was doing 'violence' to marriage, you need a dictionary and the ability to use it.
Now, before we get all partisan in this battle, I just want to say one of the more surprising and interesting statements from Senator Bill Baroni, a Republican from Mercer County. His discussion about gays being beneficial to the community was refreshing. Democratic Senator Nia Gill gave a beautiful and eloquent speech about equality as well, the most elegant of the proceedings. And, unless I missed something along the way, not one Democrat stood up against the bill, at least in public. Not until the vote.
In all, 34 state senators voted, with the party breakdown 15 Republicans and 19 Democrats. The final vote was 20-14, the no votes winning the day. With one Republican voting for the bill, that means six Democrats voted against marriage equality. The votes were placed as follows:
Sen. Raymond J. Lesniak (D-Union) & Sen. Loretta Weinberg (D-Bergen), co-sponsors, Sen. Jim Whelan (D-Atlantic), Sen. Bob Smith (D-Middlesex), Sen. Barbara Buono (D-Middlesex), Senate President Richard Codey (D-Essex), Sen. Teresa M. Ruiz (D-Essex), Sen. Sandra B. Cunningham (D-Hudson), Sen. Brian P. Stack (D-Hudson), Sen. Nia H. Gill (D-Essex), Sen. Robert M. Gordon (D-Bergen), Sen. Nicholas P. Scutari (D-Union), Sen. Joseph F.Vitale (D-Middlesex), Sen. Bill Baroni (R-Mercer)
Sen. Robert W. Singer (R-Ocean), Sen. Joseph Pennacchio (R-Morris), Sen. Christopher Bateman, (R-Somerset), Sen. Tom Kean Jr. (R -Union), Sen. Jennifer Beck (R-Monmouth), Sen. Joseph M. Kyrillos (R-Monmouth), Sen. Gerald Cardinale (R-Bergen), Sen. Michael Doherty (R-Hunterdon), Sen. Kevin J. O'Toole (R-Essex), Sen. Philip E. Haines (R-Burlington), Sen. Christopher J. Connors (R-Ocean), Sen. Anthony R. Bucco (R-Morris), Sen. Steven V. Oroho (R-Sussex) and Sen. Sean T. Kean (R-Monmouth). And the Democrats were Sen. Jeff Van Drew (D-Cape May), Sen. Ronald L. Rice (D-Essex), Sen. John A. Girgenti (D-Passaic), Sen. Nicholas Sacco (D-Hudson), Sen. Fred H. Madden (D-Gloucester), and Sen. Shirley K. Turner (D-Mercer).
So, I might not have ever lived/worked in New Jersey, but I have given donations to the Democratic Party, some of which was routed to NJ. I am sorry David Plouffe, but no more. I will be contemplating individual candidates from now on. Nearly one third of the Democratic state senators, 6 out of 19, voted against the civil rights of gay citizens. I wont be forgetting that too soon. I expect the Republicans to rail against me and my friends, that is old hat. If there is a Democratic candidate running in a primary against any of the rogue six, they might be getting a few bucks from me.