Integrity NYC-Metro responds to Marriage Equality progress in New Jersey
Both houses of the New Jersey Legislature passed versions of the Marriage Equality and Religious Exemption Act this week. On Monday, Feb. 13th, the Senate voted 24-16 in favor, and today (Thursday) the Assembly followed with a vote of 42-33.
Integrity NYC-Metro is extremely grateful to the Right Rev. Mark Beckwith, Bishop of Newark, and the Right Rev. George Councell, Bishop of New Jersey, for their repeated visits to the State House and speaking out to the press. Thanks to all the clergy and laity who have dared to BELIEVE OUT LOUD about marriage equality as a Christian value.
“It's exciting to witness the progress toward marriage equality that is already happening in the state of New Jersey and I'm particularly heartened by the leadership on that front by our Episcopal bishops,” said the Rev. Jon M. Richardson, Integrity’s Vice-President, National Affairs and Priest-in Charge at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Jersey City. “ I join my voice with so many others in our state calling on Governor Christie to sign the bill.”
However, our work is not yet complete. Governor Christie has indicated he will veto these bills if they reach his desk, and that he prefers a public referendum on the matter. While the majority of New Jerseyans favored marriage equality in recent polls, we do not believe people's civil rights should be put to a vote. We need your voices added to ours in the effort to either build veto-proof support for this legislation or convince the governor to let it pass. We must ensure that a referendum, should it occur, would not put marriage equality in New Jersey further beyond reach.
We ask that you contact your assembly and senate representatives, friends, family members and those in your congregation and be willing to speak from your heart on why marriage equality matters to you. Too often Christians are assumed to be against LGBT equality: at this historic moment in our state's history, let's break that assumption and tell New Jersey that ALL love is of God, and the rights and responsibilities of a stable, recognized relationship belong to ALL couples.