Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Out for Marriage Equality

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Out for Marriage Equality

Article excerpt

MONTCLAIR -- Three of the four Democratic contenders for the late Frank Lautenberg's U.S. Senate seat pledged to carry on the fight for same-sex marriage Saturday, just days before the Supreme Court will issue two rulings that could have vast political and legal ramifications for the issue.

Newark Mayor Cory Booker and U.S. Reps. Rush Holt and Frank Pallone spoke before a crowd of a few hundred people gathered for the fourth annual Equality Walk, organized by Garden State Equality, the state's largest gay-rights advocacy group. Sheila Oliver, the state Assembly speaker, was unable to attend.

The candidates each expressed doubts that the high court will issue far-reaching opinions when it rules this week on the constitutionality of the federal Defense of Marriage Act and a referendum in California that banned same-sex marriage in the state in 2008.

Meanwhile, a member of Lautenberg's staff accepted an award on his behalf from Garden State Equality founder Steven Goldstein for his "contributions toward creating a safer, stronger, more equal nation."

Declaring that "all love is equal," Booker said that advocates would have to continue fighting for the issue no matter what the court decides, especially in New Jersey.

"Our work has just begun -- from our towns and neighborhoods where our children still face challenges to our statehouse where we have a barrier, where we have a dam standing against the waters of righteousness and freedom," Booker said.

Governor Christie vetoed a bill legalizing same-sex marriage last year. Christie, a Republican, has said he supports a statewide referendum on the issue and strengthening the state's civil unions.

Holt, who praised Lautenberg at length for his dedication to gay rights, said he would continue to fight the marriage battle and for other gay-rights initiatives regardless of the court's "interpretation or misinterpretation of what the Constitution guarantees. …

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