Local news blogging: NJ Senate committee clears gay marriage bill

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The New Jersey Senate Judiciary Committee narrowly passed a same-sex marriage bill Monday night.  The full Senate will vote on the measure Thursday and then, if it passes, it will reach final vote at the Assembly. Supporters say they do not yet have the 21 total votes needed to pass the Senate, according to the New York Times.

New Jersey Star-Ledger:

“Senators added an amendment, proposed by Sen. Bill Baroni (R-Mercer), clarifying that clergy are not required to marry same-sex couples if it conflicts with their religious beliefs.”

“Hundreds of people signed up to speak, and the hearing room remained full throughout hours of testimony. People wanting to testify had to wait in another committee room, and some ordered pizza deliveries to the Statehouse last night.

“Last night’s narrow vote did not follow party lines. Republican Baroni voted yes along with six Democrats, while two Democrats, committee chairman Paul Sarlo (D-Bergen) and vice chairman John Girgenti (D-Passaic), both voted no.”

New Jersey bloggers comment:

PolitickerNJ: Marriage equality legislation clears Senate Judiciary committee

“Testimony for and against the legislation from the public lasted about seven hours, with witnesses arguing on theoretical, personal and even monetary themes. Dozens testified, and many more had to be turned away for lack of time, said Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Paul Sarlo (D-Wood-ridge).”

PolitickerNJ: A tense moment at the marriage equality hearing.

“State Sen. Gerald Cardinale (R-Demarest) just had words with Sen. Nia Gill (D-Montclair) over his questioning of a witness.”

The Save Jersey Blog:

“Did I really hear Nia Gill argue FOR the Constitution tonight, Save Jerseyans? Sigh…”

PolitickerNJ: The Mahatma and Ms. Poritz.

“Mahatma Gandhi said, “In matters of conscience, the law of majority has no place.” And Marriage Equality is a matter of conscience. It is a fundamental right that should be the law of the land.”

PolitickerNJ: Georgia Rep. John Lewis weighs in on NJ gay marriage.

The Save Jersey Blog: Lesniak’s “Heart” Overwhelms His Head

“Senator Lesniak is a textbook liberal whose emotions regularly overwhelm his logic center (to the extent it even exists). Legislators should rely on their “hearts” sparingly, sir. Lesniak-style “compassion” — with other people’s money — is the reason why New Jersey in this fiscal mess to begin with!”

Channel Surfing: Marriage equality clears first hurdle.

“Sen. Bill Baroni, a Republican who represents Middlesex and Mercer counties, stayed true to his word and voted to support the bill, which would grant same-sex couples the right to marry but grant religious groups an exemption from being forced to recognized or perform the marriages.”

Alice’s Restaurant: My open letter on same-sex “marriage.”

“Those campaigning that same-sex relationships be defined as marriage, are supporting the financial and individual wants of a special interest group. This proposal is not an essential need for the survival of our state that is in the midst of a financial crisis. Progressive spending for nonessential reasons must stop if any financial recovery is to begin in our state.”

Conservative Majority: Bill Baroni Betrays the NJ GOP.

“Bill Baroni, ever the Republican defector, is now expected to vote on the Senate Judiciary Committee today to bring the gay marriage to a full vote in the Senate this Thursday. He is then likely to vote in favor of legalizing gay marriage and overriding New Jersey’s current civil union law.”

Blue Jersey: Christie “Mandate” Is Economic, Not Anti-Marriage Equality.

Blue Jersey: Separate but equal

“There have been many very valid arguments in favor of marriage equality - whether it be economic, equal rights, discrimination or how marriage equality opponents base their arguments on religious beliefs that have no place in determining civil law.”

Blue Jersey: VT Senate President: We’ve been there - You’ll be fine.

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