Pressure Builds In New Jersey

With the election of the anti-gay Chris Christie, activists are stepping up the pressure on New Jersey’s legislature to approve marriage equality before Gov. Jon Corzine leaves office.

Corzine, a Democrat unseated in Tuesday’s election, said he would sign such a bill. His successor, Republican Chris Christie, opposes same-sex marriages. “New Jersey is at the very top of our list, and it’s going to happen in the next few weeks if it happens at all,” said Maggie Gallagher, the president of the National Organization for Marriage, which opposes same-sex marriages. “They’re doing it in a lame duck, because it’s as far away from an election as possible.” Gay marriage advocates have resisted “civil union” licenses, saying the separate term is demeaning and the status isn’t honored by many employers. Some gay-rights advocates said, their priorities have shifted away from the ballot box and toward nonmarital issues.

Thursday, a U.S. Senate committee held a hearing on a bill that would prevent businesses from discriminating against employees on the basis of sexual orientation or “gender-related” mannerisms. Thomas Perez, an assistant attorney general, called the bill, known as the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, “a top legislative priority for the Obama administration.” “That’s really an essential protection that we need on the national level,” said Leslie Gabel-Brett, the director of education and public affairs for Lambda Legal, a gay-rights group. About 20 states currently grant such protection to gays.

Go the Wall Street Journal article for an interactive map displaying the status of legally recognized same-sex relationships in each state.