The New York Times reports that the New Jersey Senate defeated the gay marriage bill today. It is good to see this issue come before legislatures where it is better suited than the courts. It is even better when the voters themselves get to express their views, since it is such an important issue that essentially redefines civil marriage. Fortunately for gay couples in New Jersey they do have in place civil unions which grant the same rights to gay couples that straight married couples enjoy. Therefore, no rights are lost:
TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — New Jersey’s state Senate has defeated a bill to legalize gay marriage, leaving it unlikely the state will have a gay marriage law in the very near future.
The bill needed 21 votes to pass; only 14 senators approved the measure Thursday.
Gay rights advocates had pushed hard to get the bill passed before Jan. 19, when Republican Chris Christie becomes governor. Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine promised to sign the bill if approved by the Legislature but Christie has said he would veto it.
New Jersey offers civil unions that grant the legal rights of marriage to gay couples. Five states — Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont — allow gay marriage.
This is another democratic defeat for the gay marriage movement, which in the recent past has been buoyed by judicial opinions creating gay marriage rights where none have existed and redefining civil marriage laws.