New Jersey Columnist to Democrat Legislators: "Let Us Vote" on SSM


Paul Mulshine at the New Jersey Star-Ledger:

Next month, the state Legislature will gather to repeat an exercise we saw in the waning days of the Corzine administration: Democrats will push a same-sex marriage bill that has no chance of becoming law.

The reason it won’t become law is that the Republican governor, Chris Christie, won’t sign it. And the Democrats have no chance of getting the two-thirds vote needed to override the governor.

There’s a simple way out of this, and former Corzine staffer Josh Zeitz laid it out on these pages last week: The backers of same-sex marriage should push for a constitutional amendment. Such an amendment requires only a three-fifths majority.

... why don’t [pro-SSM activists] take Zeitz’s advice and hold a referendum? Simple. They’re afraid they’d lose.

When they’re trying to get laws passed permitting same-sex marriage, the advocates cite polls showing public support. But in the only polls that count — referendums — same-sex marriage gets voted down even in liberal states such as Maine and California.

That’s why they keep going to the courts. But again, they’re stalemated. Christie gets to put two judges on the seven-person state Supreme Court this spring. And those two are unlikely to engage in the sort of activist gymnastics needed to find a right to same-sex
marriage in a state constitution written in 1947.

As for the argument by Weinberg and others that civil rights should not be settled by referendum, the framers considered that as well. They disagreed. The only way to amend the state constitution to recognize a new right is through referendum.

So what are we waiting for? This could all be settled by 8 p.m. on the first Tuesday in November.