Garden State Equality to hold 35 marriage summits across N.J.
As LGBT activists continue to push for marriage for same-sex couples in New Jersey, the state’s main LGBT advocacy organization has planned a series of events across the Garden State this month to further lobby lawmakers to endorse gay and lesbian nuptials.
Garden State Equality will hold 35 neighborhood action summits throughout the state. The first will take place in Barnegat, Camden, Cape May, Mount Holly, Vineland and other cities and towns throughout southern New Jersey on May 6. Others will take place in Asbury Park, East Brunswick, Princeton, Newark, Morristown, Bayonne, Jersey City and other locations across the state over the coming weeks.
GSE chair Steven Goldstein told EDGE in an interview earlier this week these summits expand upon his organization’s efforts - and those of activists across the state - in support of same-sex nuptials.
"We’re entering a whole new phase for our fight for marriage equality in New Jersey, one in which public officials are very receptive to the idea civil unions are not working," he said. "They believe it."
The state Supreme Court ruled in October 2006 that lawmakers had six months to either allow same-sex nuptials or to offer gay and lesbian couples the same benefits heterosexuals receive through marriage. Legislators approved a civil unions bill that Gov. Jon Corzine signed into law in December 2006. It took effect three months later.
Lawmakers established the Civil Union Review Commission to study the law’s effectiveness. The CURC held three public hearings across the state last fall, and it concluded in a report released in February the law creates "a second class status" for same-sex couples.
Corzine said he would sign a bill to extend marriage to same-sex couples only after the presidential election. Goldstein added he feels optimistic same-sex nuptials could become a reality in New Jersey by the end of 2009.
"For us, sooner is better," he said. "We can live with marriage equality happening."
Goldstein added his organization will continue to increase its lobbying efforts.
"We wake up every single day wanting to hit a home run, and that means making strides in educating the people of New Jersey," he said. "We are relentless. We don’t stop."