January 7th, 2010
05:05 PM ET
8 years ago

Same-sex marriage bill defeated in New Jersey

Washington (CNN) - A push to legalize same-sex marriages in New Jersey was defeated Thursday, as the state Senate voted 20 to 14 to reject the measure.

The bill passed through the State Senate's Judiciary Committee early last month by just one vote, but a vote by the chamber was delayed until this month as supporters of the legislation sought additional support.

Thursday's vote in the Garden State follows the same outcome last month in neighboring New York, where the state Senate voted down similar legislation to legalize same-sex marriage.

New Jersey currently offers civil unions for same sex couples.

"Today's vote by the New Jersey Senate perpetuates a system of inequality in the Garden State," said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese. "Failing to provide loving, committed couples access to marriage leaves them separate and unequal – civil unions are not the same as marriage."

The Human Rights Campaign describes itself as the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization.

There was a very different message from the state's Republican Party.

"From the beginning, Republicans have opposed legislative and judicial efforts to redefine marriage in New Jersey and called for any changes to be put on the ballot for voters to decide," New Jersey Republican State Committee Chairman Jay Webber said in a statement. "We believe that the majority of New Jerseyans agree with that position, and following the failure of this bill in today's Senate vote, I am heartened to see that the Senate has respected the will of the people."

Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Vermont and Iowa are currently the only states that legally allow same-sex marriages. Last year, lawmakers in Maine approved legalized gay marriages. But in November voters in Maine passed a referendum to overturn the new law.

Last month, the District of Columbia legalized same sex marriages, but the measure is now under a 30 day review period by Congress, which by law has the right to review and overturn laws created by Washington DC's city council.

Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter: @psteinhausercnn

Filed under: New Jersey • Same-sex marriage
soundoff (26 Responses)
  1. avery, michigan

    What about the Constitution? What about "All men are created equal?"
    How can those Republicans dare to call themselves patriots although
    they disrespect the core value of what America is all about?

    January 7, 2010 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  2. OldUncleTom

    "Separate, but equal" has been tried for other civil rights issues; it was found wanting.

    It is a real shame that so many cannot see how this really is the same thing. Not so long ago, similar arguments were made to preserve the bans on interracial marriage. The bans were lifted, and society did not collapse. No one was forced to marry outside their race, and schoolchildren have been taught that interracial marriage is neither sin nor crime. We are all the better for this.

    I would support making ALL marriage "civil union" under the law. It would be more consistent with the First Amendment that way anyway. Leave "marriage" in the churches, where it belongs.

    January 7, 2010 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  3. Equality Now!!!

    I am so sick and tired of this... Just plain sick and tired... Tired of being treated as "less than an equal person" in this country. I pay taxes!!!!! Why are my rights not recognized???? Why is the love I feel for my wife any less deserving of legal recognition that the love that my straight counterparts feel?? I live in warm and arid Las Vegas, but cold and snowy Toronto is looking more appealing with every vote to deny my constitutional rights.

    January 7, 2010 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  4. Sue

    GREAT news for New Jersey!!!!

    January 19-–when Christie takes over-–"some" responsibility/intelligence/sanity returns to New Jersey!!!!

    January 7, 2010 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  5. Bren

    The Republicans are right........

    The Democrats have NO RIGHT---to shove this down the throats of New Jersey citizens.

    The citizens of New Jersey should get to vote on it---not let the Democrats make the choice for them.

    January 7, 2010 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  6. randy in pa

    When are we as a country going to stop worrying about what kind of sex people are having in their own homes and start focusing on making this country strong again.

    January 7, 2010 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  7. terry,va

    That's a surprise!! Maybe there is hope for the country yet. We don't need the change!!!

    January 7, 2010 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  8. Get Real

    WOW, I am surprised, Corzine failed.

    January 7, 2010 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  9. Jose

    Let the hatred roam free in the land of the "supposedly" free. Congrats to all the bigots out there – may you get yours one day too.

    January 7, 2010 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  10. Matt

    The Human Rights Campaign isn't really about 'human rights'. Homosexuals have just as many rights as single individuals and married couples. Unfortunately, to the HRC, anyone that thinks differently is full of hate.

    January 7, 2010 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  11. Deanna in Denver

    If homosexuality was SO important to God don't you think he would have included it in his 10 Laws? I mean, after all, he did address the whole sex thing with that adultery one and it didn't specify between which sexes.

    January 7, 2010 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  12. Joe

    This is good. Only the citisens of the state should have the say in this matter. That means all voters in the state not the few. Witness the states that have this as a law. Not one of them was put on the ballot. In Maine it was approved by the few and rejected when put to the ballot. If put to the ballot in those other states it would also be rejected in the five states. You already have civil unions. Why in the world do you want to have it called Marriage?? Do not give me the 'civil rights' argument comparing it to the civil right movement in the US> African Americans did not have the right to vote among many other things. What do you not have the right to??? You have the
    right to a civil union. Marriage is a union between a man and a woman. Please stop your efforts. You will fail every time it goes to the bballot box.

    January 7, 2010 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  13. Donkey Party

    You mean the same GOP / Conservative Party that has poster boys like Vitter, Ensign, Sanford, and Larry Craig as role models for the institution of marriage? They decided it was in the best interest of NJ to accept their moral values? I'm not gay, I don't advocate it, but it isn't my business to tell people how to live. Funny how the righties claim our freedom is in jeopardy, but it's the right-wing that wants to tell you who to marry, who to pray to, how to make life decisions for you (no abortions), and to deny you health insurance and protection from predatory lenders and creditors to name a few. How does the right-wing defend this???

    January 7, 2010 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  14. ann

    Good news for all! Finally some sense is back for main street people

    January 7, 2010 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  15. Julia

    Superb. And perhaps the “will of the people” should’ve been upheld in the south in the 60’s. Get back in the back, Rosa. I’ve an idea. If you’re against gays getting married, then don’t be gay and don’t get married. Otherwise, I fail to see how this affects those who are so vehemently against it. This is a society for all of us, not just Christians who can’t see beyond their own ideas of right and wrong.

    January 7, 2010 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  16. buckeye

    why stop at same-sex marriage? Why not include same-family marriage (incest) and multiple-sex marriage (polygamy)? Why have any laws regulating who we can marry anyway? Why not just marry anyone or anything you love? Because civilization rests on holy matrimony, one man married to one woman. Period.

    January 7, 2010 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  17. Bob the Observer

    The only way same-sex "marriage" laws are ever approved is by tiny groups of arrogant people. No group of 100 has ever approved it. Disgust with the gay invasion of marriage knows no cultural, regional, religious, or moral bounds.

    The only way for a gay "marriage" bill to win is for a single judge, a tiny congressional panel, or a council such as the one in DC to "approve" it.

    When left to the people to choose, it is always defeated, even in places line Maine and California, and as it would be in Massachusetts, Vermont, and anywhere else, liberal or conservative, where real human beings are given the choice.

    January 7, 2010 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  18. Manny, IN

    Well, the people have spoken. Same sex couples can always go further north to have a legal wedding. The country is just not ready at this time. I think it's going to take awhile before the vote is in the gay community's favor. I know that's tough to hear, but it's the reality.

    This country has come a long way, with an African American president, but we still have a long way to go, and that's the truth. I hate, that I have to be a part of making a decision that will never affect me. That's the real sad part.

    January 7, 2010 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  19. bobo

    Thank you Lord!

    January 7, 2010 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  20. For You, For the US

    again, this is why i consider this state to be illegitimate in comparison to the other 49

    January 7, 2010 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  21. frank, pennsylvania

    I am an independent adamantly with strong conservative family values and strongly opposed to same-sex marriage. If the democrats cannot put an end to this cankarworm, then let all states and legislature become republican. Apparently, it failed in NJ because of the newly elected republican governor! – Bravo!

    January 7, 2010 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  22. rumrunner

    yay !! kudos for NJ ! there are still some sane people. maybe there is hope for this country yet.

    January 7, 2010 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  23. John in Brooklyn

    One word for the New Jersey Senate.....COWARDS!

    January 7, 2010 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  24. Steve (the real one)

    Let me get the straight (no pun intended). Heavily democratic New Jersey , who just elected a republican governor said no to same sex marriage? Whoda thunk!

    January 7, 2010 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  25. John K

    Should same sex marriage legalize? If the answer is yes, then polygamy should be legalized too. Why pornography is legal and not prostitution? Can anybody can give the differences among those issues?

    January 7, 2010 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
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