Author Archive: Louise Walpin and Marsha Shapiro

Senator Bateman: Will he ever vote for marriage equality?

Marsha and Louise are two of the best known faces of New Jersey’s marriage equality movement, and they are my friends and fellow board members at Garden State Equality, as are Jon & Michael Galluccio and their 15-year-old daughter Madison, all mentioned below. – promoted by Rosi

Our senator Kip Bateman has presented as an enigma to those of us fighting for marriage equality. Where does he really stand? We met with him on the Friday before the Senate vote to try and gain a better understanding. The morning started out cordial enough, with Sen. Bateman taking us out for breakfast in a local diner he frequents. The senator freely shared that he supported marriage equality, but thought that the legislature was not the correct venue since Gov. Christie would veto it anyway. He talked about his surprise that so many people in Princeton and South Brunswick (the towns he now represents since legislative redistricting) supported marriage equality, and also made reference to his “more conservative” constituents in Somerset and Hunterdon.  He mentioned the Pastor of his church, who opposes marriage equality.

We’re hurt and disappointed that our own Senator was opting out of his responsibility by suggesting a public referendum on our rights. And we told him so. We asked him what he pictured when he thought about this vote. He described voters entering the booth to vote the way they vote on other referendums, like bond issues or preservations, proudly stating that the question of marriage equality would be worded in an affirmative manner. He seemed astonished when we advised him that a referendum would result in a costly battle, both financially and emotionally. We provided him with facts:  

  • California Prop 8 referendum fight cost $83 million dollars (prior to court battle).

  • Neighbors were pitted against neighbors with

    children no longer allowed to play with their friends or told their gay dads would die from AIDS. (Jon Holden Galluccio talks about some of this in a post about his family’s life in California).

  • Prop 8 advertisements frightened otherwise reasonable voters who would have supported marriage equality by purporting that children would be harmed and/or religious institutions would be threatened.

    More of Sen. Bateman’s response & a video, below the fold.