The entire episode was an exercise of disgusting political chicanery. It demonstrated several truths about Democrats in general, and also about the type of leader that Democrats have elected to be the next Senate President.
Democrats have been in control, total control, of New Jersey since disgraced former Governor Jim McGreevey was elected in 2001. In what turns out to be quite ironic, McGreevey had outed himself in a speech announcing his resignation which was prompted by financial irregularities and unethical conduct. The admission that he was gay was simply done to distract from the charges that were about to bring him down. But during his time as Governor and since then, the state has been driven into utter despair, seen unions hold the state hostage and break the budget, seen the size and scope of government grow exponentially along with taxes, tolls and all other expenses, while businesses fled, unemployment skyrocketed and the quality of life plummeted. The bottom line is that Democrats have done nothing but make things worse while playing games and offering lip service.
Part of that game has been the exploitation of homosexuals.
In the last eight years of their stranglehold on New Jersey government, Democrats have done nothing but offer the gay community lip service. Year after year, on the issue of gay marriage, the homosexual community has been told ‘now is not the time for a vote on that issue, but next year we will take it up for sure’. Each of the eight ‘next years’ came and went as Governor McGreevey, Acting Governor Dick Codey and inept Governor Corzine neglected to make the issue a priority.
Yet in the final weeks of their monopol-ike control of Trenton, as a newly elected Republican Governor is about to come to town, now Democrats in the State senate finally acted.
The answer is that the Democrat Party could care less about the gay community and simply exploit them for support at election time.
If this were not the case, if Democrats sincerely believed their rhetoric, gay marriage would have been passed at any point during the last past eight years. If their was any sincere motivation behind Democrats supposed support for the gay community, one of the best and most appropriate symbolic times for them to have taken the issue up would have been shortly after disgraced Governor Jim McGreevey tried to distract from his political scandals by announcing that he was a “gay -American”.
But Democrats were afraid that thier hold on power was tenuous. So they refused to rock the boat on gay marriage. Instead they made promises and claimed their undying desire to see same sex unions be called “marriages”
In coming Governor Chris Christie has made it clear that he would veto any attempt to redefine marriage as a union between anything but a man and a woman. That made it essential for Democrats to act now.
Even though Governor-deject Corzine failed to move any gay marriage initiative, he said he would, unlike Christie, sign such an initiative into law. So it was now, or if not never, at least not for many years, before gay marriage in New Jersey could sail through the legislative process and become state law.
Previously, Senate President Codey failed to put it at the top of the Senate agenda and several different Assembly Speakers also left the issue on the back burner. And even though the closing days of a Democrat administration that was supportive of gay marriage was upon us, they still hesitated to deal with the issue and cancelled and delayed hearings and votes on the issue.
So why was there suddenly a vote in the State Senate?
Quite unceremoniously, long serving Senate President and often on again and off again Acting Governor Dick Codey, was voted out of his position as Senate President in coup that was orchestrated by State Senator Stephen Sweeney from South Jersey.
Sweeney’s senate district is not quite as safe for Democrats as is Dick Codey’s is North Jersey district for him. So even though Dick Codey lost his position as Senate President, his chances of getting reelected to the senate are greater than Sweeney’s. So a vote by Dick Codey for or against gay marriage is not as pivotal to Codey’s reelection chances as it is to Sweeney’s. So while in his final days as Senate President, Dick Codey finally called a vote on gay marriage. He was essentially putting Sweeney, the man who dethroned him, between a rock and a hard place before he assumed leadership of the Senate. Codey was setting up Sweeney to start off his Senate presidency as damaged goods by forcing Sweeney to either offend gay voters and the their well organized political lobby machine or a vast number of voters in his district.
As was expected from the get go, gay marriage failed in the senate with only 14 votes for it and 20 votes against it.
But that final tally adds up to 34 votes.
There are 40 State Senators.
17 are Republican and 23 are Democrats. One seat is vacant and Sen. Diane Allen (R-Burlington), was absent for health reasons and Sen. Andrew Ciesla (R-Ocean) was absent for unknown reasons.
That leaves three votes to be accounted for.
Those final three votes were abstentions cast by three Democrats………Sen. Paul Sarlo (D-Bergen), Sen. Jim Beach (D-Camden) and ironically, Democrat Senate President-elect Stephen Sweeney of Gloucester.
In what proved to be a profile of cowardice, the incoming Democrat leader of the Senate tried to dodge the challenge that the outgoing Senate President presented to him by avoiding a vote on the issue at all.
By avoiding an official position on the issue, Sweeney may think he outsmarted Dick Codey but all he did was wound himself even more.
The gay community will not forget Sweeney’s lack of support and voters in his district will be leery of him. But more than that, he will now assume office under a cloud of indifference and looking spineless. Not a very good position for a leader to be in during negotiations, an essential part to political leadership.
In the end, this entire tangled web of political gamesmanship has been a ridiculously insincere act that has made a sham of the legislative process. On top of that, aside from proving that the incoming Senate President is a spineless politician concerned more with votes than policies, he has also proven that Democrats simply see the gay community as a voting bloc to be exploited and counted on for votes at election time.
The facts prove it.
Eight years of total control and all Democrats have done is create wedge issues with such things as more severe penalties for crimes committed against homosexuals. The concept of increased penalties for hate crimes simply exists for Democrats to try to make Republicans seem anti-gay by having to vote against bills that are promoted as protection for gays but in reality are anything but more protection. The truth is that increased penalties for crimes committed against someone because of their color, faith or orientation, does not make anyone safer, it simply claims that crime and brutality committed against one person is not as important when committed against another. That is just wrong. But to force Republicans to go on the record and oppose such unfair legislation, allows Democrats to come out and say to the gay community…. ’you see they voted against you’.
Such a claim is untrue but the truth never deters politicians from exploiting an issue or group of people.
In the case of gay marriage, homosexuals were simply used by Democrats.
New Jersey Democrats hemmed and hawed about ever taking up the issue and after being in total control for eight years, they failed to consider gay marriage until it could be used as a way to get revenge. Then and only then did the issue of gay marriage come up.
Part of the problem is the gay community itself.
Gay men and women have placed themselves staunchly in the Democrat camp. Their unconditional support of all Democrats, has allowed them to be taken for granted.
Democrats have come to understand that the gay vote is in their pocket. So aside from using certain gay issues as wedge issues, there is little a Democrat has to do to get the vote of a gay man or woman. They are comfortable in the thought that no matter what they do, homosexuals will not vote for a Republican.
In many ways, the homosexual community deserved being used a pawn in a political game. They blindly support Democrat candidates. In many instances some are motivated more by the prospect of voting against a Republican than they are by the Democrat they end up voting for. But they do vote for that Democrat. No matter what.
This is a mistake.
Most Republicans are not anti-gay. Most…. not all, but most. Most Republicans also do not oppose recognition of same sex marriages with equal legal rights. What many do oppose is simply any attempt to redefine the commonly understood and established meaning of the word marriage.
I for one support domestic unions.
I support maintaining the traditional definition of the word “marriage” as that of a union between heterosexuals and the term “domestic union” as that of a union between homosexuals.
This is not a ‘separate but equal’ position as many liberals have come to argue. There is a difference between the two hereWhen we distinguish one individual as a man or a woman, or a boy or girl, are we promoting a separate but equal policy? When you celebrate Christmas do you call it St. Patrick’s Day? There is a difference between each of the two examples stated. A man or a woman are both human but one is a male and the other is a female. Christmas and St. Patrick’s are both holidays but they are distinctly different type of holidays.
In the end, the distinction between the makeup a heterosexual and homosexual “union” is there. What is not any different is the existing love and commitment that exists. That is something that many Republicans do not deny. For that reason, many Republicans do support equal recognition of both type of unions and equal treatment of both unions under law.
Oddly, one man who has received wide support from the gay community has a similar view.
President Barack Obama has repeatedly stated that he believes marriage is something that is reserved for a man and a woman. This did not stop gay men and women from voting for him in pluralities that approach that of the 94% total of the African-American vote which he received in 2008.
Perhaps, the gay community which accuses the right of being uncompromising, should stop acting hypocritically and refusing to accept same-sex partnerships that are treated equally by the law but distinguished by there make up.
Another thing that the gay community must begin to do is stop being so monolithically devoted to a political Party that is exploiting them and taking advantage of them. The example that New Jersey Democrats have offered them drives that point home.