NJ’s Toeivah Marriage Vote Postponed

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toeivah-marriageState senators have postponed a potential landmark vote that had been planned for Thursday on legislation that would grant¬†toeivah couples the right to marry in New Jersey, with the proposal’s fate far¬†from certain.

In a change of course, the bill’s next step will apparently be a hearing in the Assembly Judiciary Committee, possibly in early January. The proposal is expected to have a clearer path in the Assembly, which has been waiting for the Senate to act.

Sens. Raymond Lesniak, D-Union, and Loretta Weinberg, D-Bergen, the bill’s sponsors, today asked Senate President Richard Codey not to post the bill for a vote so the Assembly committee can take testimony on it. Codey said the vote is postponed “until further notice.”

“The public needs another opportunity to engage legislators on this issue,” Weinberg said. “Moreover, the Senate committee has substantially amended its version to include sweeping, additional protections for religious institutions. We believe that members of the public need to be afforded an additional opportunity to debate this new provision as well.”

Those amendments protect religious societies, institutions and organizations and their employees from lawsuits if they refuse to provide space, services, advantages, goods or privileges for toeivah marriages; clarify that the bill wouldn’t alter a law letting parents opt their child out of health classes; and require partners in civil unions to pay the usual fees if seeking a marriage license.

After about seven hours of testimony Monday, the Senate Judiciary Committee ended testimony at a time when committee chairman Sen. Paul Sarlo estimated that about 25 opponents and 70 supporters of toeivah marriage were still hoping to testify.

Assembly Speaker Joseph J. Roberts Jr., D-Camden, said he’s disappointed by the delay. “I must emphasize that no hearing has been scheduled and that I am continuing to discuss this issue with our caucus to gauge whether there is enough support for it,” he said.

Lesniak said there is “tremendous support for the legislation” in the Assembly Judiciary Committee.

“It’s a sign that we want to build on the momentum that we started on Monday, when the Senate Judiciary Committee heard all the real-life stories of pain and suffering caused by the current law,” Lesniak said.

“I do believe that senators, seeing the support that their colleagues in the Assembly have, will be helpful in securing sufficient votes to get it passed,” said Lesniak, who said he believes the bill will pass both houses by a slim margin.

Garden State Equality chairman Steven Goldstein, whose organization has been leading the lobbying push for the bill, said he’s “very” comfortable with the change.

“The sponsors of the marriage equality bill believe that there should be input from the Assembly and that there are many more people who want to speak out on the bill who didn’t get the opportunity to do so, and we support their decision,” Goldstein said.

The proposal doesn’t appear to have the 21 votes needed to pass the Senate currently. With just one of the 17 Republicans, so far, planning to vote for the bill, Democrats can afford just three opponents among their 23 senators.

They had two in the Senate Judiciary Committee vote Monday – Sens. Paul Sarlo, D-Bergen, and John Girgenti, D-Passaic. Sens. Ronald Rice, Nicholas Sacco and Jeff Van Drew have all expressed opposition in newspaper interviews, and the positions of Sens. Fred Madden Jr., Dana Redd and Shirley Turner aren’t clear.

While legislative meetings could be added, the current calendar calls for the Assembly to recess until committee meetings Jan. 4. Both the Senate and Assembly have voting sessions planned for Jan. 7 and 11, meaning the bill still has time to pass.

The legislative session expires at noon Jan. 12. Gov. Jon S. Corzine then has a week to act on any legislation that passes until his term expires Jan. 19, when he will be replaced by Republican Gov.-elect Chris Christie.

Corzine supports toeivah marriage, while Christie opposes it.

{Daily Record/Noam Amdurski-Matzav.com Newscenter}


  1. They did this in NY too, continually postponing it for a while. We should not become complacent or forget about it. The yetzer hora is not taking a vacation and these toeiva’niks, who the yetzer hora controls, aren’t either. They are busy lobbying for their shmutz bill. We should take a lesson from them (me’oyvai tichakmeini…) and be so zealous for holiness as they are for their immoral shmutz abomination.

  2. What’s wrong with Sheldon Silver?
    He has no business backing shmutz.

    We’ve got to send those clowns in
    the NY Assembly to stop this nonsense.

  3. Comment #1 is an excellent, excellent, excellent reminder for everyone!

    Furthermore, we cannot let ourselves be fooled when they put in their Toeva bills certain “exemptions” for “religious institutions.”

    1.) With all the (so-called) “exemptions,” there will still be plenty of ways by which even a “religious institution” will be forced to refer to two Toeva guys as “Mr. and Mr.”

    2.) What about a NON “religious” institution — like a doctor’s office or a hospital or a bank or an insurance company or an investment firm or a lawyer’s office or an autombile dealership or a furnature retailer or a real estate dealer, etc., etc.??? Are the people who work here ENTITLED TO ANY LESS RELIGIOUS FREEDOM as they will be forced to respect and recognize and officially register Toeva clients as “Mr. and Mr.”???

    3.) What about a plain man or a plain woman on the street? Is he or she ENTITLED TO ANY LESS RELIGIOUS FREEDOM as he or she will be forced to respect and recognize and call two Toeva guys “Mr. and Mr.”???


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