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NJ Group Stops Giving to Political Parties

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Garden State Equality, which suffered a heartbreaking marriage equality defeat in the New Jersey state legislature last month, announced that it would stop making financial contributions to political parties and urged its individual members to do the same.

According to a news release from Garden State Equality, the 85-member board of directors of the state's largest civil rights group voted unanimously for the new bylaws provision, which precludes the organization from giving financial contributions to political parties and their affiliated committees. Under the new policy, the group will contribute only to individual candidates and to pro-LGBT nonparty organizations.

Garden State Equality urged its 65,000 members to follow the policy in their individual giving.

"No political party has a record good enough on LGBT civil rights that it can rightfully claim to be entitled to our money on a party-wide basis," said Steven Goldstein, chair of Garden State Equality, in the news release. "No longer will we let any political party take our money and volunteers with one hand, and slap us in the face with the other when we seek full equality."

The new bylaws provision says that Garden State Equality sends "two unmistakable signals to our political parties" with the resolution: "That none should take the support of the LGBT community and its allies for granted, and that none should write off the potential to earn the support of the LGBT community and its allies."

New Jersey, which offers some of the country's strongest gay rights protections including civil unions, appeared on track to pass marriage equality legislation until Gov. Jon Corzine lost his bid for reelection in November. The new governor, Chris Christie, has vowed to veto any marriage equality bill passed during his term.

Garden State Equality plans to take the marriage equality battle back to court.

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