The Letter drops: What your legislature is reading this morning

New Jersey legislators are waking up this morning to a clear message, signed by the people who get them elected, support their initiatives, provide both shoeleather and strategy, and fund their campaigns. The message: Bring marriage equality to a vote, and pass it. We’re tired of waiting, and this is no longer about the agitation of a minority gay population, advocating for their own rights. It hasn’t been for a long time. This is your foxhole buddies, your braintrust, and the backbone of your party, advising you to do the right thing.

This letter has been signed by more than 200 influential New Jersey Democrats, including Members of Congress Rush Holt, Steve Rothman, and Frank Pallone, Mayor Cory Booker, and many elected officials. Here is the letter:

An Open Letter Calling on Democratic Legislators to Post Marriage Equality Legislation for a Vote

We believe that equality and fairness are fundamental principles of New Jersey’s Democratic Party, and that is why we call on the state legislature to vote immediately on, and pass, the marriage equality bill.  

New Jersey has a proud history of supporting civil rights. It was this legacy that encouraged many of us to become involved in politics. We believe that allowing committed gay and lesbian couples to marry is, at its core, about treating our family members, friends, coworkers, and neighbors with dignity and respect.  

We appreciate that this is a difficult issue for some state legislators. But marriage equality is an idea whose time has come. We are confident that the voters will stand by those elected officials who do the right thing.  

When our children and grandchildren look back on this moment, we want to be able to tell them that we, too, did the right thing.  

As Martin Luther King poignantly reminded us, “the arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice.” That is why we’re proud to lend our names and our voices to this important cause. We do so in our capacity as private citizens and Democratic voters, and not on behalf of any particular office or organization.

If you would like to add your name, we invite you to do so now, here on line. A full list of signers – including Blue Jersey writers – is below the fold.

Quite a few legislators must already know this letter was coming. It has been quietly circulated by a now-larger group of people, and in some cases legislators will open the door to their offices to find their own staff have signed on. A buzz about this letter has been growing for days, as Democratic stalwarts sign on and help circulate.

The letter represents a grass roots effort within the party amid a sense of frustration that Democratic lawmakers are being tempted to back away from a vote on the bills, even as outgoing Democratic Governor Jon S. Corzine said he would sign into law marriage equality legislation as soon as lawmakers sent the bill to his desk.

Gently written, and evocative of past civil rights struggles though it is, the meta-messages it carries are deadly clear: Do not underestimate where your friends are on this issue. Do not underestimate that the muscle of your party demands a vote, and expects marriage equality to pass, in this legislature dominated by Democrats. And understand that if you vote for what you know is right, do not underestimate how strongly we will stand behind you. And look at the list: This is a civil rights issue for us, an issue of fairness. Both straight and gay people signed.

“A lot of us are feeling let down, especially younger Democrats,” said Ronald C. Rice, a member of the Newark City Council. “We sense there is an enthusiasm gap in Democratic support for this legislation, and we are asking Democrats to live up to the mandate set for them by their own party.”  

List of signers, to date


Philip Alagia

Stephanie Albanese

Albert Alvarez

Hiver Ambrose

Rob Angelo

Byron Arnao

Paul Aronsohn

Frank Askin

Alison Badgett

Ann Baker

Edward Barocas

Elsbeth Battel

John Bartlett

Dan Benson

Rosemary Bernardi

Michael Beson

Ravinder S. Bhalla

Randy Bishop

Rick Bolger

Peter Bondi

Cory Booker

John Borowsky

Barry Brendel

Kelsi Browning

Tonio Burgos

Marge Caldwell-Wilson

Aaron Carter

Jason Cassese

Leah Casterlin

Bill Castner

Salma Chand

Ron Chen

Colleen Connolly

Tai Cooper

Rob Corrales

Maureen Coxwell

Jenny Crumiller

Jeff Curley

Sean Darcy

Bob DeCheine

Lizette Delgado-Polanco

David DelVecchio

Steve DeMicco

Shane Derris

George Devanney

Donna Dolce

Chris Donnelly

Craig Dorsett

Janellen Duffy

Liz Duthie

Charles Eader

Rosi Efthim

Paul Eisenman

Michael Embrich

John Evans

Everette Falt

Ben Feldman

June Fischer

MichaelAaron Flicker

Janice Fuller

John Fuller

Karen Gaffney

Allen Gannett

Jeff Gardner

Rob Garrison

James Gee

Angelo J. Genova

Mike Giglio

Brendan Gill

John Gizis

Jen Godoski

Chad Goerner

Adam Goldfarb

Steven Goldstein

Vin Gopal

Jeff Grayzel

Adam Green

Marta Harrison

Avery Hart

Maria Havasy

Joshua Henne

Victor Herlinsky

Carol Hoernlein

Rush Holt

Deborah Howlett

Rafi Jafri

Michele Jaker

Kyle Jasey

Bianca Jerez

Paul Josephson

Jeffrey Kaszerman

Dan Katz

Michael Kempner

Sheila Kenny

Steven W. Kleinman

Justin Kolman

Janice Kovach

Orin S. Kramer

April Kuzas

Adam Lambert

Justin Lambert

Tim Larsen

Jay Lassiter

Brad Lawrence

Bertin Lefkovic

Chris Leitner

Liz Lempert

Steve Lenox  

Cathleen Lewis

Juanita Lewis

Kay LiCausi

Mada Liebman

Brooke Liebowitz

Doris Lin

Jose Lozano

Ian MacAllen

Blair MacInness

Gordon MacInness

Colleen Mahr

Francisco Maldano-Ramirez

Claire Manning

James W. Manning, Jr.

Marcia Marley

Laura Matos

Mark Matzen

Rocco A. Mazza

John McCarthy

Raymond J. McCarthy

Regan McGrory

Matt McHale

Jack McHugh

Pat McKenna

Cathy McLaughlin

Juan Melli

Alicia Menendez

Rob Menendez, Jr.

Naomi Michaelis

Ruth Miller

Bernie Miller

Maggie Moran

Tricia Mueller

Neil Mullin, Esq.

Lauren Murphy

Michael Murphy

Rachel Napear

Adam Neary

William Northgrave

Joseph Novick

Ed Oatman

Lucy O’Brien

Bonne O’Flanagan

Kat Orr

Frank Pallone

Jim C. Peeler

Desiree Peterkin

Cristina Pinzon

Barbara Plumeri

Braxton J. Plummer

Andrew Poag

Michael Premo

Dan Preston

Ronald C. Rice

Chip Robinson

Julie Roginsky

Arlene Romoff

Mariel Rosen

Hetty Rosenstein

Keith M. Rosso

Steve Rothman

Nathan Rudy

Jorge Santos

Peg Schaffer

Julie Schreck

Carolyn Schwebel

John C. Schwebel

Michael Sedita

Jed Seltzer

Shawn Sheekey

Scott Shields

Zach Silber

Troy Singleton

Babs Siperstein

David Smith

Nancy Erika Smith

Vincent Solomeno

Robert Sommer

James Souder

Jason Springer

Domenick Stampone

Adam Steinberger

Jake Stuiver

Carol Tangorra

Rosanna J. Tangorra

Earl Thomas Teasley

Brett Tinder

John Valentine

Frank Vespa-Papaleo

Tom Vincz

Joe Waks

Mike Wallace

Elnardo Webster

Dana Wefer

Scott Weingart

Terry West

Joseph Wojtecki

Betty Wyka

Tom Wyka

David York

Alison Zayas

Joshua Zeitz

Harry Zikas, Jr.

Dawn Zimmer

Matt Zinader

Ed Zipprich

Comments (13)

  1. Jay Lassiter

    wow that’s the heart and soul of this state’s campaign professional/activist universe.

  2. tabbycat31

    I want to add my name to that list

  3. Jeff Gardner
  4. Jay Lassiter

    10:03am on WHYY (Philly area NPR.)

  5. Nick Lento

    ….lots of people never see this on the web.

    Imagine an army of remote/wireless enabled laptops/operators soliciting signatures in public spaces!   In the “old” days, you carried a clip board and a pen……now it can be done and up instantaneously.  

    A whole new kind of “tabling”…..and it also would provide public visibility to the cause and acts as a “demonstration” of commitment.


  6. Chazz

    because I think all Democrats should stand up proudly and support civil rights

  7. Bertin Lefkovic

    Pascrell, Payne, and Sires are missing as well.

  8. Jay Lassiter

    That this list is being copied all over New Jersey as a future guest list for weddings.

  9. Michael Tracey

    Not sure if I have enough prestige, but I signed. Great job everyone — hope to see some of you at the rally on Saturday.  

  10. noonstar

    Could you update this, please?


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