Tag Archive: marriage

Marsha & Louise: #1 on PolitickerNJ’s 2013 Power List

Marsha Shapiro & Louise Walpin

Marsha Shapiro and Louise Walpin got the #1 spot in PolitickerNJ’s annual Power List this morning. It’s the slot typically reserved by them for people who represent “something symbolic and iconic about politics in the state right now”. It’s a dead-on choice they made; they’re game-changers. For one thing, NJ marriage equality represents a huge victory over the self-serving politics of Chris Christie in a year he slam-dunked most of his shots. Marsha & Louise are the faces of change years in the making, on the work of names you know but also the labors of many more whose names you’ll never know.

One of the reasons I’m so happy about this is that Marsha & Louise are my friends. I was a guest at their midnight wedding, an extraordinary night at the home of Sen. Ray Lesniak and Salena Carroll. Sen. Loretta Weinberg gave the brides away. Steven Goldstein, former GSE Chair, said the blessing. My love, Joey Novick, held the chuppah and gave the toast. And in the photo above, my friends are both wearing wedding rings from my family, their “something borrowed”.

Marsha and Louise, in many ways, are unlikely movement heroes. They’re hardworking, everyday people who were simply trying to do the best for their family, but they took on their role as leaders with extraordinary grace. They speak their mind.

Behind these women, many others. Children Melissa, Jesse and Scott, daughter-in-law Jacklyn and their grand-daughter. And their late son, Aaron; getting him the medical care he deserved was a defining moment in the family they became, and made clear the importance of having their family recognized for what it is. The legal team behind NJ marriage equality’s victory; Hayley Gorenberg (Lambda Legal), Larry Lustberg (Gibbons PC), and all their co-plaintiffs whose victory this also is. Louise’s employer, Childrens Specialized Hospital – particularly CEO Amy Mansue – were a source of support. And as a board member of Garden State Equality, I know they’d both want Steven particularly recognized, and every person who ever called a legislator or flooded the State House with their sheer numbers. And I’d add in NJ United for Marriage, who came on strong, and well-funded at the end. Its leader Mike Premo now heads to Ohio to lead the marriage movement there.

Congratulations, Marsha & Louise. Married ladies now.  

Barbara Buono on The Ed Show

Yes, I know I already posted video of another appearance by the Democratic nominee on MSNBC today. She’s made three such appearances on the network over the last couple weeks, according to her campaign. Christie gets plenty of attention, and you’ll hear some repetition of theme and slogan in this interview with Buono, but as his fundraising, paid TV spots and exposure dwarfs hers, I’ll just post this, with guest host Michael Dyson, for your consideration. A friendlier interview than the one with Martin Bashir.

Deciminyan forgot one ‘Face of Equality” – Juan Melli

Juan MelliThis afternoon, deciminyan posted a photo montage of some of the people who particularly savor the victory of New Jersey’s first day of marriage equality. It was nice to be included among the legislative champions, and the legal warriors. And Steven Goldstein who poured in years of his life. And my friends Marsha and Louise, plaintiffs and newlyweds as of midnight (I’ll post wedding pictures later, I’m still recovering from the party).

But there’s somebody deciminyan left out, somebody he’s never met, Blue Jersey founder Juan Melli, who started this blog 8 years, and 24050 diaries, ago.

Something amazing: The first post Juan, or any of us, wrote about marriage equality was 8 years ago today – Oct. 21, 2005. Diary #119. Here it is:

Same-sex marriage suit filed with NJ Supreme Court
. It was Juan whose Blue Jersey coverage helped the press take notice of Laurel Hester, the police officer dying of cancer whose fight to see her partner receive her benefits helped give birth to this movement. And it was Juan, with our friend Jack Bohrer, who got Blue Jersey’s Think Equal ads made.

Much of what I understand about marriage came from Juan; one of many lessons in life I learned from somebody much younger than I am. Juan “got it” as a newlywed himself in his mid-20s (he and Stephanie have two boys now).

But it was Laurel Hester, who I never met, whose struggle was the gut punch that gave rise to so much that came after and so many of those ‘faces of equality’. Just a snapshot isn’t enough; below the fold, the trailer for the award-winning documentary about Laurel and Stacee: Freeheld.

Stay is denied! Same-sex marriages to begin in NJ on Monday!

Celebration Rally tonight 7pm at Garden State Equality HQ 40 South Fullerton Avenue, Montclair

UPDATE: Statement from Gov. Christie press secretary Michael Drewniak: “The Supreme Court has made its determination.  While the Governor firmly believes that this determination should be made by all the people of the State of New Jersey, he has instructed the Department of Health to cooperate with all municipalities in effectuating the order of the Superior Court under the applicable law.”

Gay folks in love in New Jersey, you have waiting a long time for this. And you’ve worked hard – organizing, funding, working and worrying, and telling the stories of your families.

Are you ready to get married now? Because the NJ State Supreme Court has just denied the stay sought by the administration of Gov. Chris Christie. The Court’s decision was 7-0. This green-lights weddings for gay couples in New Jersey, even as Gov. Christie continues to pursue an appeal to a lower court ruling allowing civil marriages to start on Monday.

Read the Court’s decision. Via Star-Ledger:

“The public interest does not favor a stay,” the Supreme Court ruled in a 7-0 decision by Chief Justice Stuart Rabner today. “State officials shall therefore permit same-sex couples, who are otherwise eligible, to enter into civil marriage beginning on October 21, 2013.”

Congratulations, everybody. Let’s do this thing!

This is a huge victory. And a big defeat for Chris Christie, who by the way, just dodged a reporter’s question about it up in Dover. But marriages beginning Monday will be on a provisional basis. The NJ Supreme Court will not rule on the marriage case until 2014; January at the earliest. Chris Christie is still acting as an obstacle, but now there’s yet another reason why our legislators – of both parties – may see fit to override his veto. Tell your legislator what you think here.

LIVE from Jersey City Courthouse

While Mayors and clerks around the state are readying plans to marry same-sex couples as soon as  Sunday/Monday midnight, uncertainty reigns as to whether the law allows it. So, as one half of one of the couples seeking to marry at the earliest moment possible, I’m at the courthouse in Jersey City, where my friend, Mayor Steve Fulop had just filed an Order to Show Cause and Complaint seeking a declaratory judgment that applications can be received, that the wait time can be waived, and that marriages can happen beginning October 21st, as ordered by Judge Jacobson.

Earlier this morning, at City Hall, Mayor Fulop was officiating at a (straight) wedding downstairs, while the paperwork was being prepared upstairs. If all goes well, he’ll be officiating at mine, in less than 72 hours.

I voted.

Cory Booker & Marsha ShapiroI voted just now. I voted for the guy on the left. There’s an exuberance about this picture that really gets to me. Partly because that’s my friend Marsha Shapiro with Cory, but mostly because of him. It’s Marsha’s name, along with her partner Louise Walpin’s, and Garden State Equality’s, on New Jersey’s marriage equality lawsuit. And Marsha’s beautiful engagement ring – Louise proposed – is big news in my little circle of friends. Hard-won.

Cory Booker and I went, separately, to our first GSE meeting – as invited guests. His support was early, a big deal because he came out of Newark.

I didn’t vote for Cory in the Primary. I voted for my old boss, Rush Holt. Some people I respect are looking past 2013 to next year. One is Bob Braun, who calls Booker “so mysterious he qualifies to be the Manchurian Candidate”. I get it. I’m looking past 2013 too. Booker, assuming he’s elected tonight, has a lot of hoops to jump through for me. And maybe you.  I see both good and bad in him. I think he’s capable of being, right out of the box, a standout leader in a stuffy chamber of 50 100. It will depend where he shines his lights.

There’s a lot I disagree with him about; chief is his approach to education, and his wooing of Wall Street. But when he and my friend Loretta Weinberg stepped into the LGBT Caucus together at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte last year, the cheer was enormous. There aren’t that many black elected leaders in that movement. But not just that. This morning, my friend Deborah Jacobs – past ED of ACLU-NJ, now VP for Advocacy at Ms. Foundation – posted her reasons for voting Booker. And, in my little circle of friends, Deborah’s opinion looms large. She lives in Newark; I’ve rarely heard her say much good about her mayor.

But what she says is right. Lonegan’s unacceptable to anybody not carrying a death wish against the country. And Booker has also stepped up for women, in a way most men don’t bother to politically. He supports Barbara Buono even as so many men in her party’s infrastructure undermine her. I’d also add that not many politicians talk about poverty, as he does, though we disagree on strategy.

Deborah perfectly describes the mixed feelings a lot of people have about Booker – but also why today is was right to vote for him. I hope she won’t mind that I post her comments here. They’ve already been shared by a lot of people on Facebook.  

Marriage: If you see somebody with a clipboard outside the polls today …

NJUM NJ Marriage Override Stop & Dial

Conventional wisdom has Democrats voting late, on their way home from work. Don’t know if that’s true, but I know I haven’t voted yet. If you go vote and see somebody nearby the polling place with a clipboard, go over and say hello. The New Jersey United for Marriage folks have been out all over some voting precincts today doing stop and dials. Asking people who just voted to literally stop what they’re doing, and make a call on the spot asking their legislators to vote to override Gov. Chris Christie’s veto of marriage equality.

Snapshot above was taken earlier today by NJUM of a voter in Princeton who called her legislators – Republicans Sen. Kip Bateman, and Assemblymembers Jack Ciatterelli and Donna Simon – right there in the street.

Over 500 calls have been made today. I hope my legislators, the same ones the woman in Princeton just called, are listening. I don’t think they really want to be caught on the wrong side of history with their Governor.

Tweet some thanks to @NJ4Marriage.

Debate prep: Christie talks to a lady in a diner

Bert Bueno, a straight woman who just stopped in to have breakfast at the diner Chris Christie campaigned in this morning, engaged him in a conversation about marriage.

“It’s a human rights issue,” Bueno (a straight person having breakfast at the insisted.

“Says you,” Christie responded.

That’s a reasonably pugnacious way to respond to a constituent, but it’s less insulting than a lot of what Christie has said to people who disagree with him as strongly as Bueno does. That said, maybe because he was just inches from her face leaning over her table as they talked, it was a more civil conversation than some of the exchanges Christie likes to have.

Civil, but so wrong.

I hope supporters of marriage equality show up at tonight’s first debate between Sen. Barbara Buono and Christie in the contest between them for the seat he now holds. Because they couldn’t be farther from each other on the issue.  Buono strongly backs the equality position. Has for a long time. Christie is now the single obstacle in the way.

How wrong is Christie?

Christie says: “I think marriage should be between a man and a woman.” But the law of the land, which includes the NJ territory he’s supposed to serve, no longer defines marriage between a man and a woman. So says the United States Supreme Court, in striking down DOMA’s guts.

Christie says: It shouldn’t be decided by courts, it shouldn’t be decided by politicians in Trenton.” Why does he say it shouldn’t be? Because it already has been decided by them. And his side lost. The Legislature passed it. And a a state judge just ruled same-sex marriages in NJ must be allowed to proceed (Christie is fighting tooth-and-nail, seeking both an appeal and a stay).

Christie says: “If the majority of the people of New Jersey want same-sex marriage, I’ll enforce the law.” No, he won’t. Christie’s seen the same NJ polls you have. Support for NJ marriage equality is at 60%. And the FDU poll out today says 62% of us support Superior Court Mary Jacobson’s decision to give ‘gay marriage’ the go-ahead, on the ground that current NJ law is a violation of the U.S. Supreme Court’s DOMA decision. And that 62% of those polled say they want the state (read: Christie) to drop the appeal.

Everything Christie is doing is designed to string this out (as states as diverse as Iowa and Vermont already have marriage equality) so he can tell his GOP funding buddies he fought the good fight and is doing his best to keep all that gayness at bay, so please send me a check.

All this is at the expense of people you probably know whose lives have been on hold, and whose kids, some of them, feel like we’re keeping in limbo.

There’s a big difference between these candidates. Will you be watching tonight’s debate?