[Photos and video below.] As the modern day Yevanim and Misyavnim try to promote Greek culture in New York and New Jersey, a group of Lakewood residents embarked this morning on a trip to Trenton, NJ, to hold a prayer rally and address a press conference, making clear their opposition to the redefinition of marriage. With New Jersey legislators meeting at the Statehouse in the Garden State Capitol, these Yidden joined, at the urging of rabbonim, to protest toeivah marriage and encourage lawmakers to prevent the matter from being brought up for a vote in the NJ legislature.
The bus from Lakewood departed from Forest Avenue and Eleventh Street, near Beth Medrash Govoha’s Kleinman campus. The bus was sponsored by R’ Aharon Rottenberg and Negbah Bus Company.
After the pro-toeivah activists suffered a blow yesterday, when New York lawmakers rejected a bill that would have made it the 6th state to legalize toeivah marriage – defeating the bill by a 38 to 24 vote – the activists are now focusing on New Jersey.
“On Monday in the Judiciary Committee, we’re going to vote on marriage equality,” New Jersey state Senator Ray Lesniak told a crowd of over 650 toeivah marriage supporters who had gathered at the Statehouse today.
Lesniak said he believed the measure would be approved by the committee and reach the Senate floor by Thursday, December 10.
“And God be willing, we’ll have 21 votes,” he said.
Lawmakers are being pressured to approve a toeivah marriage bill before Governor-elect Chris Christie, a toeivah marriage opponent, takes office in mid-January.
But enthusiasm to hold the vote is on the wane after Maine voters “vetoed” a toeivah marriage law approved by lawmakers in the spring and senators in New York overwhelmingly rejected a similar measure yesterday.
The defeat of Governor Jon Corzine is also seen as a referendum on toeivah marriage. Corzine promised to sign the bill, while Christie supports amending the New Jersey constitution to ban toeivah marriage.
Canceling the vote, however, would come with dire consequences, supporters warned.
“If Democrats in New Jersey don’t lead the way, as they promised, to pass marriage equality in 2009, there could be a mutiny against the New Jersey Democratic Party the likes of which this state has never seen,” Steven Goldstein, CEO of Garden State Equality, the state’s largest toeivah rights advocate, told the AP after Wednesday’s toeivah marriage defeat in New York.
Click below for a brief video clip of the Lakewood bus readying to leave for Trenton this morning:
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See below for photos: