Tag Archive: equality

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.

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.

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.  

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?  

Important Deadline in Housing Trust Funds Fight This Friday

This Friday, August 2, marks an extremely important deadline for municipalities across New Jersey as they respond to letters sent by the state’s Council on Affordable Housing (COAH). These letters request that municipalities provide documentation proving their commitment of municipal housing trust funds. Over 3,000 new homes for victims of Sandy, people with special needs, and working families remain in limbo as the Christie Administration continues to try to seize these funds.

COAH sent these letters following the New Jersey Appellate Division’s June 7 decision that the Christie Administration could not move forward on seizing trust funds without detailed scrutiny and broadened participation. The decision followed a dramatic three weeks in which the Appellate Division first halted the entire process after COAH had ordered that towns reply by May 22 in an attempt to seize the funds before the end of the 2013 budget year and the New Jersey Supreme Court upheld that order.

The new review process comes at a critical time in the state’s history, with an unprecedented demand for housing only 9 months after super storm Sandy. A significant amount of these funds-57 percent – were also already earmarked for towns in the nine counties hit hardest by Hurricane Sandy.

In COAH’s letters, sent in late June, the agency notified municipalities they had 30 days to prove their funds were committed to building new housing developments or for other fair housing programs (despite COAH’s failure to define what “committed” means or approve plans needed to move forward). Because of our victory in the Appellate Division with our co-appellants the League of Municipalities and South Brunswick Township, COAH’s Executive Director then has to review the files town by town and provide further explanation of why it seeks to seize particular funds. Then municipalities and other interested parties will have another 15 days to address that initial determination. The COAH Board is then required to hold a meeting to review the Director’s decision. – Thus, under the new process, COAH is prohibited from seizing the funds until they meet collectively to reach a final decision. All municipalities or interested parties may appeal any decision to the court.

Over the past several years, municipalities have struggled to build new homes because of COAH’s failure to approve their projects or to provide any guidance on how to show their funds are committed. If seized, thousands of low – income and special needs families, many of which still remain homeless after Hurricane Sandy, will lose the opportunity to live in a safe and affordable home. Some examples of these developments include 148 affordable apartments serving Sandy victims in Middle Township, Cape May County; 120 homes for people with special needs in Edison, Middlesex County; and over 50 new Habitat for Humanity homes throughout Morris County.

With only two days left until the August 2 deadline, municipalities, affordable and special needs developers, and other affected parties are, in a rare alliance, united to show why the Christie Administration is wrong on this issue. Though the Appellate Division decision created a new process and cast serious doubt on this effort, Christie continues his never-ending war to stop the building of homes that low income people desperately need. It’s all part of a broader agenda to make New Jersey homes less affordable for lower-income families – including Christie’s attempt to abolish COAH, which the Supreme Court stopped in their recent July 10, 2013 decision. Click here for a copy of the decision.  Us at Fair Share Housing Center and many other housing advocates, community groups and municipalities will continue to fight this overreach and monitor Christie’s continued attempt to take trust funds and keep Blue Jersey readers posted.

What’s Next After NJ Supreme Court Victory on COAH

Thanks, Fair Share Housing, for keeping us up-to-date on the fight for housing opportunities for low-income New Jerseyans, and for fighting Chris Christie’s attempt to exercise more power than he’s entitled to as governor.

Promoted by Rosi.

On June 10, 2013, the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled that Governor Christie could not abolish the state’s Council on Affordable Housing, an independent state agency created in 1985 by the New Jersey Fair Housing Act, which requires every municipality allow a fair share of homes that lower-income families, seniors, and people with special needs can afford. Click here for a copy of the decision. This decision comes at critical time in the state’s history-while NJ faces an unprecedented housing crisis as it struggles to rebuild only 9 months after Hurricane Sandy.