Deputy Assembly Majority Leader Reed Gusciora (D-Trenton) says now is the time for his marriage equality bill to be posted in the state Assembly.
Gusciora has asked Assembly Judiciary Chair Peter Barnes and Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver to post the measure during the lame duck session of the 2010-2011 legislature.
“I believe the time is ripe for this important civil rights measure, which will make the difference for many New Jerseyans who wish to form a union without the stigma of second class citizenship,” Gusciora said.
Gusciora said the state’s previous civil union law, which he was not a sponsor of, falls “woefully short” in recognizing a same sex couple’s ability to form marital bonds in New Jersey.
“The fact remains that there are countless gay couples in this state that own property, pay taxes and raise children here, yet are sidelined by a lack of legal recognition of their marital bonds,” Gusciora said. “If marriage is a contractual relationship sanctioned by the state government, then it should be done on an equitable basis.”
Gusciora said he is not concerned about a potential veto by Governor Chris Christie, that Republicans in both Houses support the measure, and that recent polls show the majority of the public supports the bill.
“I’m sure Governor Christie knows and recognizes that gays should be treated equally in this society,” Gusciora said. “Now he can demonstrate this by putting ink to paper when the bill is presented to him. Regardless of the Governor’s actions, this measure advances the ball until there is a full recognition that gay couples should enjoy the full rights of marital status in this state.”