Jon Corzine Will Sign Gay-Marriage Bill, But Won't Give Republicans a Talking Point

Corzine
Jon Corzine last December. Photo: Patrick McMullan

Governor Jon Corzine of New Jersey is frustrating gay activists because he is hesitant to get moving on a bill to change the state's civil-unions policy to one of flat-out marriage equality. After a report was released yesterday that says civil unions in the state are not equal to marriages, the state legislature is under pressure to change the law. Civil unions have been allowed since 2006 in New Jersey after the State Supreme Court ruled that gay couples should receive the same legal rights and protections as married straight couples. Legislators quickly created a law that was designed to give equality to all parties. In order to comply with the decree of the Supreme Court, adjustments have to be made to the current policy, but Corzine says he wants to wait until after November to do so. "He will sign a bill, but doesn't want to make it a presidential-election-year issue," Corzine spokeswoman Lilo Stainton said. This is a shrewd move, both for Democrats and gays alike. A Republican nominee will be sure to use the specter of gay marriage to scare their base to the voting booths in November, as George Bush did so effectively in 2004. The last thing that gays hoping to wed (and Democrats hoping to win) need are endless high-profile speeches about the sanctity of marriage. It's the one issue that could bring evangelicals like James Dobson together with front-runner John McCain, whom they currently mistrust.

N.J. governor concerned civil unions don't bring equal rights [Newsday]