Pro-SSM Prof. Harrison to Senate Pres. Sweeny: Let The People of New Jersey Have Their Say


Prof. Brigid Callahan Harrison, professor of political science and law at Montclair State University, who supports same-sex marriage, argues against New Jersey Senate Pres. Stephen Sweeny claiming "you don't put people's rights on the ballot, period" by saying he should trust the people of New Jersey:

I'm sorry, Sen. Sweeney, but I don't share your mistrust of the will of the people of New Jersey. Yes, the time is right for marriage equality now.

But the time was right for marriage equality also in 2010. Remember? That year, New Jersey had a lame-duck Democratic governor (Corzine) who urged the Democratic-controlled Legislature to pass a gay-marriage bill for his signature.

Corzine recognized that his imminent successor, Chris Christie, would probably never sign a marriage-equality bill. But the state Senate failed to pass such a measure, with several key Democrats voting against it and Sweeney abstaining.

And so, Sen. Sweeney, your mistrust of the people of New Jersey and their "whims" seems particularly misplaced given your own pusillanimous vote then. You took the road of political cowardice, and now you want another chance.

Her concluding line:

Today in New Jersey, most voters favor a referendum; most voters support the right of gay couples to wed. So to hold the legislative process — the very same legislative process that denied marriage equality two years ago — as superior to the will of the people is a sham.

We disagree with Prof. Harrison about what New Jersey voters believe marriage to be, but praise her for calling out Sweeney and respecting the rights of voters!