“We’ve heard, from our constituents, our neighbors and our friends about how the law treats same-sex couples differently than it does opposite-sex couples,” the senator said. “We’ve listened to hours upon hours of heart-wrenching testimony, in both Houses of the Legislature, about how the civil union law does not work, and ends up marginalizing same-sex partners and their families when the law’s protections are needed most.
“Today, with the passage of this bill, we will be taking a step in the right direction to correct this inequality,” Weinberg said. “It’s time for New Jersey to get on the right side of history and enact true marriage equality for every one of its residents. I recognize that the bill has its detractors – some in this very room and some right down the hallway – who would fight the inevitable march of progress on marriage equality for personal or maybe even political reasons."
Senate President Stephen M. Sweeney (D-Gloucester) asked senators who support marriage equality not cave to political pressure, but to "do the right thing."
“Our votes today may be cast as ‘yes’ or ‘no,’ but in history they will be forever recorded as ‘right’ and ‘wrong’,” the senator said. “There is no third option.”
Sen. Joe Pennacchio (R- Morris) reminded lawmakers the legislation "has zero chance of becoming law.
"The bill's sponsors have told us that public opinion justifies the Senate passing a bill that will not become law," the senator said. "If poll data is now driving the Senate's agenda, Senator Bateman's constitutional amendment placing same sex marriage before the voters should be scheduled for a vote, as it enjoys majority public support.
"By that standard, we should also eliminate the grandfather clause in the dual office holding ban, change the current school funding formula to give the same amount per student to each school district, and pass pay to play reform that applies to every interest group including public employee unions," Pennachio said. "The latest public polling indicates that the public's top priorities are jobs and property taxes. I realize this is a sensitive issue for many people. However, making this the number one issue by designating the bill "S-1" simply does not reflect the overall will of the vast majority of New Jersey citizens."