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Marriage: Maine Out, New Jersey In?

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Marriage equality advocates hope to make up for Tuesday's stinging loss in Maine by enacting same-sex marriage in New Jersey -- if only they can beat the clock.

With the election of antigay Republican Chris Christie to New Jersey's governorship, Garden State gay leaders have a tiny window of time to get same-sex marriage legalized there. Christie has vowed to veto any gay-marriage legislation, but sitting governor Jon Corzine is eager to do just the opposite -- but he's only in office until January 17, and the state legislature ends its session five days before that. That gives New Jersey's legislature less than two months to get a marriage bill on Corzine's desk.

An impossible feat? Garden State Equality chair and CEO Steven Goldstein says no. When asked whether he was hopeful Corazine will sign a marriage bill before leaving office, he answers with a very confident "Indeed."

A group against gay marriage, the New Jersey Family Policy Council, admitted to the Associated Press that New Jersey's assembly has enough votes to approve a marriage bill, and approval is possible -- though the vote would be close -- in the senate.

Goldstein was heartened by the fact that New Jersey does not have a ballot initiative process, so what happened in California and Maine could not happen in the Garden State. "There's no chance in hell that marriage equality will be banned in the state of New Jersey [by voters]," Goldstein says.

According to the Associated Press, to get the marriage issue on the ballot, "a proposed amendment would need support from the majority of both legislative chambers in two consecutive sessions, or 60% of both houses in one term." A very unlikely scenario.

Corzine's loss was not a surprise, Goldstein says, and his group was making plans around his possible defeat. To prepare residents for the possibility of same-sex marriage in New Jersey, Garden State Equality helped finance two pro-gay television commercials that began airing on Tuesday.

"We have strategized for marriage equality in a political atmosphere where Corzine was down [in the polls]," Goldstein says. "We have always looked at the possibility that he would not win."

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Neal Broverman

Neal Broverman is the Editorial Director, Print of Pride Media, publishers of The Advocate, Out, Out Traveler, and Plus, spending more than 20 years in journalism. He indulges his interest in transportation and urban planning with regular contributions to Los Angeles magazine, and his work has also appeared in the Los Angeles Times and USA Today. He lives in the City of Angels with his husband, children, and their chiweenie.
Neal Broverman is the Editorial Director, Print of Pride Media, publishers of The Advocate, Out, Out Traveler, and Plus, spending more than 20 years in journalism. He indulges his interest in transportation and urban planning with regular contributions to Los Angeles magazine, and his work has also appeared in the Los Angeles Times and USA Today. He lives in the City of Angels with his husband, children, and their chiweenie.