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Poll: 60% Of New Jerseyans Support Same-Sex Marriage

New Jersey SSM

A new poll shows support for same-sex marriage remains high in the Garden State:

TRENTON — New Jersey voters support giving same-sex couples the right to marry by a two-to-one margin, according to a poll released this morning.

The Quinnipiac University poll of 1,068 voters found 60 percent support a state law to allow same-sex marriage, while 31 percent oppose it.

The result is barely different from before the U.S. Supreme Court invalidated the Defense of Marriage Act, which barred married gay couples from getting federal benefits. In March, 64 percent of New Jersey voters said they supported gay marriage while 30 percent opposed it.

The state Legislature last year passed a bill to allow gay marriage in New Jersey. But Gov. Chris Christie vetoed it, saying that although he personally opposes gay marriage voters should decide the issue in a ballot referendum instead.

New Jersey currently allows civil unions between gay couples, which are supposed to give them the same rights as marriage. But the Supreme Court ruling only affects marriages, leaving civil union couples without the federal benefits.

Garden State Equality, the state’s most influential gay rights organization, opposes putting the measure on the ballot because they believe civil rights should not be put up for a vote.

Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D-Gloucester) and Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver (D-Essex) have refused to put the question on the ballot and are working to gather the two-thirds of votes they need to override Christie’s veto.

As I noted last month, overriding Christie’s veto is going to be difficult because, at least in the Assembly, it will require not only picking up at least six Republican votes but also the votes of the six Democrats that voted against the bill on its first pass through the legislature. That’s one reason why one has to wonder why the parties are being so resistant to the idea of a ballot initiative. Given the polling, it seems pretty clear that the measure would pass overwhelmingly. If they worked quickly enough, they could get the measure on the ballot for the 2014 General Election, which would likely bring out an electorate that would be supportive of the initiative to begin with due to the fact that the New Jersey Senate seat that Cory Booker is likely to win will be up for election to a full six year term. If they don’t go this route, then the Courts are seemingly the only option at this point, and that’s going to take several years to work itself out at the very least.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. edmondo says:

    That’s one reason why one has to wonder why the parties are being so resistant to the idea of a ballot initiative.

    Perhaps then we could have another statewide Initiative that prohibits anyone who weighs more than 200 pounds from serving as governor. One’s rights are not up for majority vote, especially in a place like New Jersey.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  2. I’ve laid out the three options for advancing this cause that exist at the moment. A referendum would likely accomplish the task quicker than the other two, and indeed it would mirror what happened in three states on Election Day 2012.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  3. Brett says:

    They don’t want to go to referendum because they don’t want to set the precedent that matters of equal protection and due process should be subject to a popular referendum. I can definitely understand that – and the NJ Supreme Court is likely to step in if the legislature doesn’t act, perhaps more quickly than a referendum would allow.

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  4. tyrell says:

    I have seen similar results in a couple of other states on those kind of surveys, then they turned around and voted just opposite to keep marriage between a man and a woman.

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  5. Neil Hudelson says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    Political job boards have lit up with organizers, directors, and manager positions for a variety of campaigns and organizations pushing for gay marriage rights.

    It looks like the big players are getting ready to launch large organizing efforts. I think we’ll see a movement for a referendum fairly quickly.

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  6. Laurence Bachmann says:

    “one has to wonder why the parties are being so resistant to the idea of a ballot initiative…”

    Leaving any individual’s or group’s civil rights up for a vote is a pretty chilling proposition. My constitutional rights emanate from my citizenship, not from the majority’s approval of my prospective spouse’s sex. If ballot initiatives in Jersey can confers marital rights, then ballot initiatives in Alabama must be regarded as equally valid and binding. How does one, with any consistency insist one result is binding, the other invalid? I think this matters tremendously because I think the day is fast approaching when gay rights advocates will be asking the Supremes to invalidate all state laws that block a right to marry.

    I am sure you realize all this and just regard the ballot as the means to expedite a desired result, but I think it is one of those slippery slopes we are encouraged, with good reason, to avoid.

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  7. Sejanus says:

    @edmondo: Hey! People should be denied public office based on BMI rather than sheer weight. A person weighing over 200 pounds may be considered healthy or at least only mildly overweight if he’s tall enough.

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  8. edmondo says:

    @Sejanus:

    Yeah, and people should be allowed to marry based on whom they love, not on their gender.

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