Majority of New Jersey favors marriage equality

A new poll by Quinnipiac concerning New Jersey politics was released which showed 60% of New Jersey state voters are in favor of marriage equality.

Support for marriage equality has increased 8% since January 2012, but has decreased from the 64% voters supporting marriage equality recorded this past March. Within the voting population in New Jersey, 83% of voters within the age range of 18-34, said they favored marriage equality. 63% of voters ages 35-54, and over half of the voters over age 55 favored the bill as well.

Marriage equality has been a hot topic in the Garden State for quite some time. Last February, the New Jersey State Assembly passed a marriage equality bill despite opposition, and a vow to veto the bill from New Jersey's Governor, Chris Christie. The historic 24-16 vote was passed by the Senate, then proceeded to be passed by the Assembly with a 42-33 vote.

As promised, Governor Chris Christie vetoed the bill as soon as he could. Four days following approval by the Senate, and one day after the assembly approved the bill, Christie immediately vetoed it.

"I think this is not an issue that should rest solely in my hands, or the hands of the Senate President or the Speaker or the other 118 members of the Legislature," said Christie, according to the Star-Ledger. "Let's let the people of New Jersey decided what is right for the state."

With New Jersey's legislative session coming to a close in January 2014, there is still hope to override the veto. With the recent decision of the Supreme Court which ruled DOMA unconstitutional, it is now even more important to fight for marriage equality within New Jersey.

Ross Murray, Director of News at GLAAD, spoke with WOR on what the fall of DOMA meant for couples within New Jersey. With federal recognition now available for gay and lesbian couples, civil unions are more damaging to the citizens being denied of these benefits in New Jersey. The inferiority of civil unions is more present than ever before.

Hundreds of protections were granted to legally married gay and lesbian couples as a result of the ruling striking down DOMA. This was monumental for these couples. However, these protections are unavailable to couples in civil unions, which is what is currently available in New Jersey.

"When I took this job six months ago, I declared that this year New Jersey would have marriage equality," Troy Stevenson, Executive Director of Garden State Equality, said. "People scoffed, they laughed, and they said no. I'm going to stand before you today and say whether it's through litigation or legislation, I promise you with no reservation that New Jersey will have marriage equality before the end of this year."

The solid majority supporting marriage equality bodes well for the future of marriage in the state. As New Jersey continues on the path to equality, GLAAD will continue to support their endeavors, as well as the progress of the other 37 states lacking marriage equality.