N.J. lawmaker introduces bill asking voters to decide marriage equality rights
Encouraged by three states last month that approved ballot measures supporting gay marriage, Assemblyman Reed Gusciora (D-Mercer) today introduced a bill that would give New Jersey voters the same choice. On Nov. 6, voters in Maine, Maryland and Washington affirmed the right of same-sex couples to legally wed — the first states in the nation to do so. Minnesota voters also struck down a constitution amendment banning same-sex marriage. Minnesota already had a law against gay marriage. Gusciora said he has been opposed to putting a civil rights question like marriage equality up to a popular vote. But the Assemblyman — New Jersey's first openly gay legislator — said his constituents asked him to change his mind in light of last month's election results. "I am the last person who believes civil rights should be on the ballot, but civil rights delayed is civil rights denied," Gusciora said. "The timing is right. There is broader acceptance." Modeled after the Maine ballot question, the bill, (A3611) would need support in both houses of the Legislature and Gov. Chris Christie's signature to become law. The measure would then be added to the following election-year ballot.