Democratic Leader Wants No Religious Exceptions For Gay Marriage

Kissing Brides, Heather Jensen and Amy Quinn, an Asbury Park Councilwoman, celebrate their marriage shortly after midnight on October 21.  facebook photo

Kissing Brides, Heather Jensen and Amy Quinn, an Asbury Park Councilwoman, celebrate their marriage shortly after midnight on October 21. facebook photo

Assembly Minority Leader Lou Greenwald told The Star Ledger that Assembly Democrats are not likely to pass legislation that would protect clergy and religious organizations from being forced to perform same sex marriages and accommodate the ceremonies.

What’s less clear is what the Legislature is going to do about gay marriage. Right now, gay couples can get married in New Jersey. But that right hangs on a decision made at the Superior Court level, since the state Supreme Court never decided the case.

Lawmakers could try to override Christie’s 2012 veto of gay marriage legislation or write a new bill to encode it into law. Or they could do nothing — an option they say is looking more attractive.

Greenwald said the Assembly is leaning against an override because, even if they cobbled together the two-thirds majority they’d need to pull it off, a religious exemption provision that was inserted into the bill to win Republican support could actually restrict rights gay couples have under the court ruling.

“The answer probably is no,” Greenwald said of the override. “Right now in New Jersey, the opinion seems to be that we have the strongest marriage equality laws in the country.”

Early last year the New Jersey Legislature passed the Marriage Equality and Religious Exceptions Act which, if it had been signed by Governor Chris Christie, would have granted same sex couples the right to marry and recognized the First Amendment Right of clergy and religious societies, organizations and institutions not to solemnize gay marriage or provide space, goods, services, advantages or privileges for gay marriage ceremonies.  The Act would have provided immunity from civil law suits against religious organizations that refused to accommodate gay marriages.

Christie vetoed the legislation and called on the legislature to put an Amendment to the New Jersey Constitution on the ballot which would have given the voters the power to decide the marriage equality question.  The Democratic legislature did not put the question to the voters.

On September 27 Superior Court Judge Mary Jacobson ruled that New Jersey must allow same sex couples to marry because the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision overturning the federal Defense of Marriage Act had the effect of making New Jersey’s Civil Unions unequal to Marriage. Jacobson ruled that New Jersey must allow same sex couples to marry starting on October 21.  The Christie Administration asked the Court to stay the decision, pending an appeal.  The State Supreme Court’s ruling denying the stay made it clear that the appeal would fail, prompting Christie to drop it.

Gay marriages started being performed at midnight on October 21.

The legislature can now override Christie’s veto during their “lame duck” session which ends in early January, pass another bill that codifies marriage rights and that complies with Jacobson’s decision, or do nothing.

Action on an override would have to originate in the Senate, because that is where the Act originated.  Senate President Steve Sweeney said he doesn’t want to do anything to hurt the gay community.

Posted: November 10th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Gay Marriage, Marriage Equality, Marriage Equality and Religious Exemptions Act, Same Sex Marriage | Tags: , , , , , | 10 Comments »

10 Comments on “Democratic Leader Wants No Religious Exceptions For Gay Marriage”

  1. So What This Means said at 8:55 am on November 10th, 2013:

    Is that those who say that WE should be tolerant of other people’s views are actually the intolerant ones. In other words, it’s “do as I say, not as I do.”

    What this means is that if a church says no, they will probably be sued out of existence just like a baker was in Colorado.

    Ain’t that just spiffy folks. This is why tyrannical liberalism must be defeated at all costs.


    Silence Dogood, Redux

    Hey Greenwald, go suck on a raw egg Mr. Sourpuss

  2. You hit it on the head said at 10:38 am on November 10th, 2013:

    again, Silence- these miserable libs, for 50 years or more, now, continue to personify the height of hypocrisy: their so-called yammering for “equality” always really means:” our point of view only, the hell with you and yours”…They have ruined , and continue to ruin,everything anyone other than their mindset holds dear, and, unless we get our act together, and beat them back next year, their socialist/ communist utopian goals will all basically have been achieved.. the poor kids who follow us..

  3. Middletowner said at 1:01 pm on November 10th, 2013:

    There’s a rumor they also plan to enforce quotas, since the number of same-sex marriages is still disproportionate to the regular ones. It will be called gayfirmative action.

  4. Democratic Leader Wants No Religious Exceptions For Gay Marriage | The Save Jersey Blog said at 1:10 pm on November 10th, 2013:

    […] By Art Gallagher | MoreMonmouthMusings.com […]

  5. MLaffey said at 1:14 pm on November 10th, 2013:

    If they actually think that the U.S Constitution will allow them to force religious institutions to perform gay marriages or even accommodate them they are sorely mistaken. The only issue is whether they can force individuals who provide services to accommodate them.
    Their agenda was never about tolerance or even acceptance it is about forced affirmation.

  6. Silence Dogood said at 1:56 pm on November 10th, 2013:



  7. Jim Granelli said at 2:59 pm on November 10th, 2013:

    But Mike, we are now forced to buy health insurance!

    Not being adversarial, but it seems you can slip almost anything by the Constitution lately. 🙂

  8. Barry said at 5:35 pm on November 10th, 2013:

    I will have a feeling Pope Francis will allow same sex marriages in the Catholic Church well before any Court rules on the issue.

  9. hokodi said at 5:53 pm on November 10th, 2013:

    I’m all for gay marriage. I don’t think the church will be forced to perform gay ceremonies and I don’t think they should be. There are churches that are willingly performing them and the Episcopalian s are leaving it up to each own to decide what they want to do. And as for the dick in Colorado – who was a baker, he can not discriminate based on sexual orientation and that is why he is being sued. My gay friends would not want to get married in your church anyway so suck it.

  10. @hokodi said at 6:04 pm on November 10th, 2013:

    Why can’t you just make an argument without closing it with such a foul attitude? It completely detracts from your credibility.

    As to the baker, that may be YOUR opinion, but again, this; like Hobby Lobby involves deeply held religious beliefs. And I believe Hobby Lobby won the argument on such businesses being forced to provide health insurance with benefits contrary to their beliefs. I see no difference and would have loved to see that case go to the Supreme Court.

    After all, this was NOT a tax payer funded business, nor was that business conducted on government property.

    Beyond that, let me share this with you: