Gay rights advocates in New Jersey have been pushing for a decade to get state courts or lawmakers to recognize same-sex marriage. But last week, they demurred when Gov. Christie called for a public vote to settle the topic.
Their main reason is based on principle: It's not fair, they say, to let voters decide a civil rights issue.
But there's another consideration: It would be a costly and divisive fight, and the advocates know the odds are against them, even if recent polls have shown the majority of New Jersey voters support allowing gay marriage.
...Brian Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage, said his organization and others would put millions of dollars into a campaign against allowing gay marriage.
"The other side has put forward a number of lies," Brown said. "Our job is to expose them."
So far, his side has been winning.
Thirty-one times states have had votes on constitutional amendments to define marriage as being between a man and a woman. The referendums have been approved 30 times. In the one exception, in Arizona, voters two years later passed a similar amendment.
This year, marriage amendments could be on the ballots of about a half-dozen states. Only two are being pushed by groups that want gay couples to be allowed to marry. Those are in Maine and California, where there are efforts to overturn constitutional bans.