Do you believe in human dignity? That government should be a force for good? And do you want to do something about it?
If you’re reading this, it’s likely that you do. Part of the reason I’m a Democrat is because I believe in the value of every human being and that by working together, we can make each others’ lives better.
For the past year or longer, you all worked so hard on keeping Senator Menendez and sowing House campaigns whose benefits we will certainly reap one day. Your efforts are truly admired, and we all look forward to the exchange of ideas and tactics in the months to come, as we gear up for the next races. This same re-tooling is happening all across the country and will emerge with stronger, more experienced supporters on our side.
But we here in New Jersey have been given an unique opportunity today, not two years from now. We have the chance to raise the level of human dignity for our family, friends, neighbors, and in some cases, ourselves.
Here we have the opportunity to extend marriage equality to families that are considered lesser based on their sexuality. They are discriminated against not because of what they do, but because of who they are. I think that’s wrong. How about you?
While it is easy to fall into post-election lethargy (I’m just pulling myself out now), the legislature was given just 180 days to decide: does the state want marriage equality or does it want discriminatory civil unions — a lot like the laws we have today that many choose not to enforce. (Don’t believe me? Ask Lt. Hester).
Right now, the polls would have us believe that marriage equality will fail, and that civil unions are somehow preferable. I believe that most of the people who prefer the word ‘civil unions’ to marriage want equality but do not understand the grave differences. I believe that by pronouncing those differences — by educating the public — we can do a great deal to promote equality.
Some of our leaders disgree. They do not believe themselves capable of making the case for equality and would rather settle for lesser, discriminatory civil unions.
Others are trying to make a difference. If you haven’t read about Assemblyman Reed Gusciora’s bill proposing a “Civil Marriage and Religious Protection Act,” please do so. And if you’re not signed up with Garden State Equality, take a few moments to do that now — you are a very valuable asset.
Together, we can promote dignity and equality. But we have to work hard and we have to start today. What do you say?
More to come . . .