The countdown is on, as a key New Jersey committee is expected to vote on toeivah marriage today and send the bill to the full senate, where it will face the real challenge.
Lawmakers have just a few days left to get the legislation to Governor Jon Corzine’s desk for his signature.
He has 43 days left. After that, Jon Corzine gives way to successor Chris Christie, and 43 days are what those trying to get a toeivah marriage bill passed in the state have.
If the legislation doesn’t get through the NJ state senate this week, Christie has said he will not support toeivah marriage as governor.
“This is one of those moments in history when, I think, those of us in public life can stand up and move this forward,” Corzine said.
The judiciary committee of the New Jersey senate votes on the bill today. State Senator Christopher Bateman is on the committee, and acknowledges it will probably get through by a slim margin, but he says he is still voting against it.
“I voted for a civil union, because I believe everybody has equal rights protection under the Constitution,” Bateman said. “However, I’m not ready to redefine marriage. I feel very strongly that marriage is between a man and a woman.”
State Senator Loretta Weinberg is also on the judiciary committee – she was Corzine’s running mate in this last election – and says she will vote for the toeivah marriage bill.
“To me, this is a civil rights issue – you can’t have ‘separate but equal,'” Weinberg said.
Voters appear to be fairly divided as well.
It seems as if the bill will get through the committee today. Then, it would go to the full New Jersey state senate Thursday where, chances are, it will not pass.
Some NJ legislators say they were influenced by 2,300 signatures gathered by the Progressive Campaign for toeivah marriage. However, the Catholic church came up with a petition of their own, and some 156,000 signatures.
Last week, the New York state senate defeated a toeivah marriage bill. If New Jersey approves the measure, it would become the sixth state to allow toeivah couples to marry.