10 reasons why NJ needs a marriage equality ballot measure in November

10.  We’ve already won. Game, set and match.  And by “we” I mean supporters of same-sex marriage in New Jersey and beyond.  Find out how, why and when

 

9.   We won’t override Chris Christie’s marriage equality veto anytime soon.  I’m no math major but I can do basic addition.  (To wit, 400 + 20 = 420.)  And no matter how many times I crunch the numbers, I simply don’t see the votes adding up to trump Christie’s veto pen.  

 

8.  Have you seen the latest Q Poll?  I’m a liberal democrat so naturally I’m sick of hearing how popular the Governor is.  Because you know what’s just as popular?  Do the words “MARRIAGE EQUALITY” come to mind?

The latest Quinnipiac poll lays out the math: the Governor leads his re-election opponent Senator Barbara Buono by a 35 point margin, 60% to 25%. 

The victory for marriage equality? An astonishing 34 points, 64% to 30%.  

The trends are even more encouraging: Christie’s tally is actually down 6% from a post-Sandy high (in January), while marriage equality is up 11% from last May’s poll.  At this trajectory, support for marriage equality will continue its meteoric rise well into the 70s by the time election day 2013 rolls around.  

 

7.  Hot girls kissing. Something that, perhaps, even Senator Gerry Cardinale could vote for.  And as a more practical matter, such a cheeky campaign would blunt Christie’s edge with white, male, heterosexual voters in Ocean and Monmouth Counties, where the Governor’s margins were massive and ultimately insurmountable.

 

6.   It’s good politics for Republicans.  A New Jersey blogger GOPal of mine (who wishes to remain nameless) just told me:  

“a (marriage equality) referendum takes pressure off Republican politicians in New Jersey who aren’t ready to ‘come out of the closet’ on gay rights.  A referendum also protects Chris Christie’s prospects for the White House. Chris Christie won’t have to worry about his marriage veto being overridden which would undermine him, nationally.” 

If the GOP wants to be a national player again, the party needs to “get over their gay thing.” admitted another conservative Garden State mate.  “Here’s an exit ramp. The alternative? Well, there’s always the ‘dustbin of history’ thing.

 

5.  It’s good politics for Democrats. I usually vote for Democrats up and down the ticket, a pattern that should hold in November.  That said, I can’t yet realistically see Senator Buono defeating Governor Christie.  That’s much to my chagrin of course since the Governor is singularly responsible for delaying my public policy priorities: gay marriage (which he vetoed) and medical marijuana (a law Chris Christie all but suffocated with over-regulation, taxes and fees.) 

Barbara Buono needs every edge she can get to make election day truly competitive. That’s why having marriage on the ballot would be essential to her pulling off an epic upset. (Or at  least keeping the election day tally close enough that the Democrats keep control of the Senate.) 

The GOP doesn’t need many scalps to flip the Senate this year.  So it’s ironic that Senators Steve Sweeney and Loretta Weinberg — whose leadership is predicated on Democrats retaining control — are the loudest voices against putting marriage equality on the ballot. I want nothing more than to see Sweeney and Weinberg retain their leadership positions. But opposing a ballot measure solely on principle becomes more retrograde with each passing poll. 

Bottom line: this issue won’t make it to the ballot without Sweeney and Weinberg signing off first. 

 

4.  Let the haters spend themselves silly. Opponents of same-sex marriage have become their own worst enemy. The more they talk, the more they lose the debate.  So why not let them spend a huge chunk of campaign change to sound crazy on TV? 

It’s been argued that having a referendum might flood the airwaves with hateful messages hurtful to gay families.  And that may be true.  But in our high-end media market, the haters would be forced to shell out millions of dollars to wage a credible state-wide ad campaign.  

There are some deep pockets on our side too. I’m not too worried about losing the air campaign.  Besides, with the exception of Karl Rove and Sheldon Adelson, big donors tend to avoid investing in losing campaigns.  If you believe all the polls of NJ voters, opponents of marriage equality will  be losers on Election Day. And with a little luck, they’ll also be bankrupted by a costly, futile field and ad campaign.  

 

3.  It’s so easy.  All it takes to get marriage equality on November’s ballot is a 3/5th majority vote in both State House chambers. So combine the pro-equality Democrats (basically all of them) with pro-equality republicans. Mix in the self-styled Federalists and state’s-rights types  and you’ve got yourself a huge majority to get this issue before the voters in November.   

Reed Gusciora has already introduced an Assembly bill to get marriage on the ballot.   We’re just two up-or-down votes away. All that’s left if getting the green light from Senate leadership and we’re good to go.

 

2.  Because Size Matters.  Especially when you’re talking about a winning coalition.  Which makes the NJ ACLU’s recent announcement so timely. The Labor movement and NAACP will play a valuable role in any ballot measure.  And let’s not forget the big national organizations like Freedom to Marry and the Human Rights Campaign, who figured prominently in recent marriage victories in Maryland, Maine, Washington State and Minnesota. They’ll all be there in through November, especially since New Jersey’s the only game in town this year.

And finally, the number one reason why NJ needs a marriage equality ballot measure in November…..

 

1.   Steven Goldstein, Bridezilla. Picture it: the same zeal and passion that led New Jersey to pass 200 pro-LGBT laws would be channeled towards the biggest, gayest wedding ever.  Like you don’t wanna see that reality show.  

And you can  watch it!  Just as long as there’s a marriage equality question on this year’s ballot.  

Because if this issue goes to the voters we will win marriage equality.

"New Jersey hasn’t heard the last of Brian Goldberg. Or maybe New Jersey will be hearing about him for the first time."
—NJ Media Advance for NJ.com's "The Auditor," on the Essex Republican's new PAC