Tuesday, December 8, 2009

We Few, We Happy Few...

UPDATE: The vote was postponed but it's still important to call your senator and make your voice heard!

If you want to bring yourself up to speed on the state of the gay marriage battle, CNN Political Ticker has a very concise summary. The New York Daily News has a somewhat expanded overview, and NJ.com has an article about the supporters and opponents of the bill who showed up in Trenton yesterday. All of them remind us that the battle moves to Washington, D.C. next month.

Last week the New York State Senate voted 38-24 against S4401, the gay marriage bill. As I wrote here, I don't consider this vote a loss. I do consider it a call to action. And action is just what we're getting in New Jersey right now.

Over the weekend gay marriage supporters reacted to the news from New York with a fresh surge of activity and opponents realized that they had to take the battle a little more seriously.

Yesterday the bill cleared the New Jersey Senate Judiciary Committee. The full Senate vote is set for this Thursday.

I have a modest proposal.

Let's make those marriage equality opponents take it really seriously.

Let's win.


Even if we don't win, that's not the point. We're progressives, so let's make progress. Let's make every call, every letter, every conversation count. The vote last week in New York was 38-24. 39% of the senators voted for the bill. How about we push those numbers as far as we can? And push. And keep pushing. And push some more. And after we've pushed as much as we possibly can, we put our hands on our knees and wheeze for a bit and then we stand up again and we push.

Here's one way folks in New Jersey can do that right now.

1. Show up in person at your senator's office.

2. Call your senator.

3. Write a letter to your senator.

4. Send an e-mail to your senator.

Most people don't have time for #1, so that leaves 2-4.  You may be surprised to hear me recommend #2 next: phone calls. I know I was surprised when I heard that senators pay more attention to phone calls than to letters. Don't buy that? Read this article about why New York Senator Joseph Addabbo, who was funded by LGBT groups, decided to vote "No" on gay marriage last week.

So get on the phone, New Jersey and Washington D.C.! Hate tends to get people off their asses and yelling into the receiver more easily than compassion, so you'd better believe that monsters like this are burning up the lines. Don't let them speak for you. Make yourselves heard.

List of links from this article:


  1. Hugh an awesome, timely piece.

  2. 6 Senators on the fence- contact them all!

    Here are 6 senators that are on the fence, who we will need in order win Thursday. Can you send this out to your friends, to call and email them, to say simply "I am a taxpayer and need you to vote yes for S-1967, the marriage equality bill"? if they ask whether you live in their district, it is ok to say "Your vote will directly effect me and my family, regardless of where I live in New Jersey."

    Sen. Fred Madden: senmadden@njleg.org (856) 232-6700
    Sen. Sean Kean: senskean@njleg.org (732) 974-0400
    Sen. Jennifer Beck: senbeck@njleg.org (732) 933-1591
    Sen. Kip Bateman: senbateman@njleg.org (908) 526-3600
    Sen. Tom Kean: sentkean@njleg.org (908) 232-3673
    Sen. Nick Sacco: sensacco@njleg.org (201) 295-0200

  3. I'm from Missouri, hardly a chance in hell this will be an issue even up for consideration any time soon. Baby steps, and good point about the 39% voting for the bill in NY. Easy to get caught up in the negative rather than the positive; that number would maybe even have been unheard of not too long past. So I agree, keep pushing. Maybe one day the push might just make it here.

  4. Loving all your tweets on this issue tonight :)

    I've drafted a letter i'm sending to my reps tomorrow (after I edit it down a bit) and will be calling them as well. I think mine are in support though, as one of my assembly(wo)man is the one who pressed to have this brought up now.

    My letter . . . http://www.thatguysblog.com/2009/12/08/a-draft-of-my-letter-to-my-representatives-in-new-jersey/

  5. Hugh... this is amazing. I am so grateful to call you a values straight ally! Thank you for all you do!

  6. Everyone: Thank you so much for the wonderful comments. It's gratifying to get such a positive response from this. I only wish I wouldn't have had my head so far up my ass during the lead-up to the NY vote; I would've done something like this then.

  7. I took a look at that story from Big Gay News; they're sourcing a story from December 03.