Tag Archive: marriage equality

No, Franklin Twp Board of Ed prez Ed Potosnak won’t resign because he dared mention he’s gay

Ed-PotosnakAfter a 7-minute graduation speech delivered at Franklin High School by Board of Education President Ed Potosnak, fellow board member Pat Stanley is calling for his resignation. It’s hard to walk away from her letter to Potosnak, copied to all board members and now made public, without concluding she outs herself as a raging homophobe who failed to grasp any substance in Potosnak’s well-received words because she got totally tripped up by the gay.

And no, he will not be resigning.

Nor, I suspect, will he be intimidated. I imagine Ms. Stanley would be a lot more comfortable if gay people – Potosnak is out gay and getting married in a few days – stayed in the closet and allowed people like her to try and shame them into silence. And I do not expect silence at the Franklin Board meeting tomorrow night. A public meeting:

School Board meeting 7:30pm Thursday – Open to the public

Franklin Township High School – 500 Elizabeth Avenue, Somerset NJ

Cafeteria (Entrance is at back of HS)

So, what did Stanley say? In her letter, she accused Potosnak of “hijacking” graduation:

“You presented very personal information regarding yourself and your intimate life which was just uncalled for in that venue.”



“(I)n my thirteen years in professional music and theatre, I have known many, many homosexual men. I still have friends who are professionals in the business. But they always behave like mature gentlemen and are truly considerate of other people.”

Wow. So some of your best friends are gay, huh. Let’s unpack this for a sec. There’s something almost antique about her language. It is an emphasis dah sex?  

We celebrated national marriage equality last night in Mantaloking

We don’t always get victories. And sometimes when we do, we’re onto the next hurdle before anybody even suggests we should take a second, raise a glass and be happy together.

Last night, Ray Lesniak and Salena Carroll hosted some of the veterans of the marriage equality movement in New Jersey at their beautiful waterfront home in Mantaloking. In the little knots of conversation I was in, there was our usual political gossip – Christie’s full-of-himself 2016 announce, the 2017 Gov race – mad quoting of Justice Antonin Scalia’s verbal meltdown in the Obergefell decision, and some amazement that after all that work from so many people marriage equality is now everywhere. I was thinking of Laurel Hester, how clear she was that her partner Stacie should receive her death benefits, how even as she was dying of lung cancer, her determination focused the marriage equality movement in New Jersey. Out of that, and from the people assembled on the waterfront last night, I learned so much. It’s a privilege to fight beside people who give it all they have. Always will be.

Before the sun went down, the rainbow flag was raised for the first time alongside the American and New Jersey flags at Ray and Salena’s beautiful house.

Rainbow flag over New Jersey

Historic Marriage Decision: What they said

Marriage Equality is now the law of the land and in every state, so affirmed in a 5-4 decision announced this morning by the U.S. Supreme Court in the case of Obergefell v. Hodges. “No longer may this liberty be denied,” writes Justice Anthony Kennedy for the majority. “No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were.”

Below, a roundup of some of what was said on this historic day – in NJ and elsewhere, by our governor, and other people who want to be president both on the equality side  and on the other side. Plus a bonus from Justice Clarence Thomas’ unintentionally ironic, moronic dissent.

SCOTUS robes up - equal & not-equal
Justices robe-up. Yay Photoshop. H/t Juan Melli

Jim Obergefell:

“My heart is also in Charleston. These past few weeks and months have been an important reminder that discrimination in many forms is alive and well in America. Progress for some is not progress for all. If we’re committed to equality, must be committed to justice for all.”

Barack Obama:

“Progress on this journey often comes in small increments, sometimes two steps forward, one step back, propelled by the persistent effort of dedicated citizens. And then sometimes, there are days like this, when that slow, steady effort is rewarded with justice that arrives like a thunderbolt.”

No SCOTUS decisions on marriage or Obamacare today

U.S. Supreme CourtLooks like we’re going to have to wait a few days for the outcome of two blockbuster cases before the U.S. Supreme Court. Decisions in four cases were announced this morning, but no SCOTUS decision in the marriage case (Obergefell v. Hodges), which could once and for all settle the marriage issue for all the states, or the Obamacare case (King v. Burwell), which threatens to gut the Affordable Care Act.  

Among the four decisions announced today, one carries bad news for some of those swindled by Bernie Madoff. In another, Justice Kagan quoted Stan Lee in a decision involving Spiderman. Beat that.

With only a few days left before the end of the Court’s term (end of June), it is quite possible that the Court will announce Obergefell and Burwell last. Let’s call it their big finale.

There were 47,000 on SCOTUSblog this morning, which is a lot but not a record. That record is a million, for the first ACA decision.  

#DecisionDay Rally! (to follow the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark marriage decision)

Over the weekend, our niece and her beloved talked to us about their wedding plans. There’s a date, a dress, a place. But it’s all on hold. And that’s because they’re among young straight couples who vow not to marry until gay couples can, with that right respected in every state in the land.

Five years ago, as 7,000 equality advocates flooded the State House when the NJ Senate failed to pass marriage equality, I went around talking to people about why they were there. A woman I’ve known for years – straight, married and a mother – said the very best thing I heard that day: “I’m married, so I have a stake in the institution of marriage; it’s mine. And I believe that marriage will be better, stronger and more of what it should be when it includes all the couples in love.” Yeah, THAT.

Pretty easy to figure out why most gay people anxiously await the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision (which will come in June, and could blanket marriage equality across all states). But the fact is, it’s a key issue of justice and equality for so many people outside of the demographic whose rights it may immediately recognize. The haters come out in force of course, but the arc of winning favors our side. I was at the U.S. Supreme Court the day of the DOMA decision, and I’ve never seen such joy. I want to see that again.

Rally 6:30pm on the night of #DecisionDay

Garden State Equality & North Jersey Pride call for a rally 6:30pm of whatever night the U.S. Supreme Court announces their decision

Good weather location: Maplewood Town Hall front steps, 574 Valley St.

Bad weather location: Inside “The Woodland”, 60 Woodland Rd, Maplewood

Rally is on: WIN or lose. Check Facebook.

Here’s how DNC is dogging 2016 GOP hopefuls (including Christie) on marriage

You can remember a day when Gov. Christie – whose “moderate” Republican stands, made-for-TV personality, and corporate welfare-fueled love affair with business – would have been at the top of a chart like this. Now he’s at the bottom (insert random power bottom joke here).

Freedom to Marry tells Joseph DeIorio & This Shipley’s love story. They’re the quote opposite Christie, and they live in Roselle Park. Christie says he’s “not a fan” of same-sex marriage. Think about the enormous arrogance of that remark. As if Christie thinks it’s his right – perhaps in his mind, his God-given right – to pass judgement on another couple’s dedication and love. I’ll let you make up your own mind if you’re “a fan” of Christie’s marriage.

The actual dogging? We’ve got that on the jump page.

SCOTUS Marriage Equality Hearing Today

<<10:15am: Oral arguments have started. C-SPAN3 is covering events outside. 10:35: SCOTUS is now blogging. 12:35 Oral arguments have ended. There is a lively discussion still on the SCOTUS blog and audio recordings at Lamda.>>

Any moment now the U. S. Supreme Court will start hearing the marriage equality case (Obergefell v. Hodges) which challenges the ban on same-sex marriage in four states. There will be live blogs from Lamda Legal here, and from SCOTUS blog here. The ramifications are expected to extend throughout our country sealing the right nationally for gay and lesbian couples to join in matrimony. While the outcome is widely anticipated to be positive, the exact specifics of the court’s ruling are subject to variation. If you are following the hearing, pay close attention to Justice Anthony Kennedy as he has written the opinion on the last three marriage cases and holds a pivotal role in close rulings.  

As the NY Times points out, “When the Supreme Court agreed to hear these challenges it took the unusual step of drafting two questions for the parties to address. The first is whether states must allow same-sex couples to marry. The second is whether states must recognize same-sex marriages performed elsewhere.”

The hope is to win on both questions. While the Solicitor General in his brief argues solely on equal protection principles, gay rights advocates will also argue that marriage is a fundamental constitutional liberty. The more decisive the ruling is, the more likely it will quell efforts at the state or local level to use “States Rights” arguments to impose impediments.

New Jersey is in the fortunate position of already allowing same-sex couples to marry, and our state recognizes such marriages performed elsewhere. State law also protects private and public sector employees from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. Furthermore, gay men and lesbians may adopt children here.

In NJ’s post-marriage environment, Garden State Equality now is working to create safe space for youth, make sure transgender people have improved access to health care and birth certificates that match their gender identity, improve lives of homeless LGBT people, protect seniors, and strengthen anti-discrimination enforcement. Read GSE’s Andy Bowen post here.

U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments in landmark marriage case today – Garden State Equality’s role

Andrea Bowen MSW is ED of Garden State Equality. By disclosure, I’m on their advisory board. And this post would be front-paged even if I wasn’t. – Rosi

Today is a huge day for America, as Supreme Court oral arguments take place in Obergefell v. Hodges, aka the case that will probably result in marriage equality across the country.

My amazing predecessors at Garden State Equality, Steven Goldstein and Troy Stevenson, along with the staff, board, dedicated volunteers, and partner organizations (like Lambda Legal and ACLU-NJ) helped set the precedent for marriage equality activism with historic organizing. After heroic votes in the New Jersey legislature for marriage equality-and a heartbreaking veto from Chris Christie-GSE’s leadership brought about Garden State Equality v. Dow, the case that brought marriage equality to New Jersey.

That wasn’t the end. To help out the nationwide civil rights struggle, Garden State Equality submitted a “friend of the court” brief in Obergefell. We included the real stories of GSE constituents and how marriage equality improved their lives. You can read our brief here. (Thank you Lawrence Lustberg and Joseph Pace from Gibbons PC for writing up the brief!)