Monisha Bansal | Staff Writer | Wednesday, November 29, 2006
Republican Gerald Cardinale's move follows a New Jersey Supreme Court ruling that gave the state's legislature six months to allow same-sex couples to "marry" or to enter into civil unions that hold the same legal benefits as marriage.
"The court does not have the authority - as I read the constitution - to order the legislature to pass a bill," Cardinale said. "They can do a lot of things, but they are not the whole government."
"We're dealing with a decision of the New Jersey Supreme Court, and the court has indicated that we need to do certain things within a certain period of time, so I thought this was a good thing to do in response to the court decision."
Cardinale told Cybercast News Service that the proposed amendment would "clearly set forth that marriage is a term, or a state, that can only be applied to a union of one man and one woman, and add that to our constitution so that it is not subject to the vagaries of the personal biases of a judge's decision in the future."
Cardinale said the amendment would not in any way preclude civil unions, domestic partnerships, "or any other name we might give to items of that nature."
Steven Goldstein, chairman of the homosexual rights group Garden State Equality, said the amendment would have little, if any, impact.
"It's dead on arrival," Goldstein told Cybercast News Service . "There's not a prayer that a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage could ever pass - not a prayer.
"The measure is being laughed at in both houses of the New Jersey legislature," he said. "There are no more than a dozen votes in a very big state legislature, and it's just not going to pass."
Goldstein added, "This is a very progressive state. New Jersey has long been at the forefront of gay rights, and frankly social issues across the board.
"Whatever the trend nationally, New Jersey is very different on gay marriage," he said. "It's a state where significant numbers - millions in fact - favor marriage for gay couples."
Democrats control both houses of the New Jersey Legislature.
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