As I’ve been reporting all week, gay marriage has been facing quiet opposition from Democrats in the Assembly who are queasy about voting on the issue in lame duck.
The conventional wisdom was that the state Senate would go first, where supposedly the votes exist. Boy, was that wrong.
Apparently, there aren’t even enough votes in the Senate Judiciary Committee to get the bill out of committee. At least that’s according to Senate Judiciary Cmt. Chair, Paul Sarlo. I ran into him at a Meadowlands event this afternoon. He was invited by Governor-Elect Chris Christie to tour the new Jets and Giants stadium and the shell that is the Xanadu project.
Anyway, when asked about the gay marriage bill coming up for a vote in Judiciary, a visibly uneasy Sarlo told me the following:
“Posting that vote would require members of the committee to demonstrate to me a willingness to support it. I am leaning towards not supporting it…I have supported Civil Unions. Today, as I stand here we do not have the votes in the Judiciary Committee.”
Wow. Bombshell. It sounds to me like the door has not completely closed, but advocates for the bill have their work cut out for them if they want this legislation to see the light of day in lame duck.
However, Reached late Friday Senator Ray Lesniak said he “respectfully disagrees” with Sarlo. Lesniak believes there should at least be an up or down vote on the issue.
Senator Loretta Weinberg, a prime sponsor of the bill went a step further. Weinberg told me by telephone that Sarlo assured her he would post the bill. She maintains that the votes are indeed there on Judiciary…and Sarlo guaranteed her there would be a vote.