The New Jersey Senate voted to approve a bill for marriage equality for same sex partners according to The New York Times and faith leaders in New Jersey express support:
The New Jersey State Senate voted on Monday to legalize same-sex marriage, a significant shift in support from two years ago, when a similar measure failed.
The legislation faces a vote on Thursday in the State Assembly, but even if that chamber passes the measure, as expected, Gov. Chris Christie, who favors holding a referendum on the issue, has said he will veto it. [ed. note: Christie has said integration should have been put to a vote too]
But advocates hailed the Senate vote as a huge advance, noting that they won 10 more votes than they did two years ago. And both supporters and opponents said they were surprised by the margin: the bill needed 21 votes to succeed and passed 24 to 16.
The Rt. Rev. Mark Beckwith and other religious leaders wrote in The Star Ledger (NJ) A Faith Based Case for Marriage Equality:
In making it clear that he will veto the marriage equality bill now making its way through the state Legislature, Gov. Chris Christie has ensured that the debate over the morality of gay and lesbian relationships will be with us for months to come.
As representatives of faith traditions that struggled for decades with this issue, we know that attitudes about homosexuality do not change easily. Still, it pains us that so many opponents of marriage equality invoke a handful of scriptural texts — open to a variety of interpretations — to deny their fellow citizens equal treatment under civil law.
To be clear, we are well aware that there are verses in the Hebrew and Christian scriptures that some scholars and believers are convinced prohibit sexual relations between members of the same gender regardless of the context. But other equally reputable scholars and devout believers argue that these verses refer to particular sorts of exploitative relationships and do not pertain to the subject of same-gender marriage, which was unknown in Biblical times.