Dear Friends of Marriage,
In just two days, the New Jersey Senate will decide the future of marriage in New Jersey. Please make time in your schedule to join us at the State House for the debate and vote on Thursday!
After more than 7 hours of hearing, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted 7-6 late yesterday in favor of advancing the same-sex marriage bill to the full Senate for a vote expected Thursday.
Thanks to your strong presence, plus calls and emails, we were very nearly able to stop the bill in committee. Two Democratic Senators (Committee Chairman Paul Sarlo and Vice Chairman John Girgenti) voted against the bill. That would have been enough to kill it, except for the betrayal by Republican Senator Bill Baroni, who introduced a religious liberty fig leaf amendment in order to justify his vote for the bill, giving the last vote needed to push the bill through committee by the slimmest of margins.
If you live in New Jersey, please click here to say "Thank you!" to the six committee members who took a bold stand for marriage yesterday. These six senators continue to be under intense pressure as the floor vote approaches, and we need to thank them and urge them to stand strong!
But that was just the precursor. On Thursday, the stakes are even higher. If you've never taken action before, please do it now!
We have two days in which to stop same-sex marriage in New Jersey for four years. Incoming Governor Christie has promised to veto any SSM bill that reaches his desk. If the bill passes the Senate, gay marriage advocates are confident they can push it through the Assembly, too. This is the end of the line. We must hold it here.
Gay marriage advocates accepted the Baroni amendment that pretends to protect the liberties of religious groups -- but only if they "serve a particular faith or denomination." As the Becket Fund for Religious Liberties wrote today, such a limitation makes the protection virtually meaningless. For example, if a Lutheran church were to rent a banquet hall to a Presbyterian couple for a wedding reception, it would instantly lose all protections under this sham amendment.
It is imperative that New Jersey Senators hear from as many of their constituents as possible over the next two days. Tell them you won't stand for this deceptive religious liberty amendment.
If you live in New Jersey:
(1) Click here to look up the phone number for your state senators. Call and tell your senator that the new religious liberty language is a sham and does nothing to provide real protections for people of faith. Same-sex marriage is a disaster for religious believers and institutions, and the new language offers nothing to protect them.
(2) Click here to send an email to your state senators and assembly members.
(3) Come to the State House Thursday morning at 9am. (Click here for directions.) Take off work, or do whatever you possibly can to come to the State House on Thursday. Please come early and prepare to stay for a long day. The loudest message we can send NJ Senators at this point is the overwhelming physical presence of thousands of New Jerseyans who support marriage. Gay marriage advocates will be out in force, and we're aiming to fill the State House with New Jerseyans who are willing to sacrifice their time -- and even a day's pay if necessary -- so that they can help protect marriage. This is an historic moment. So come early and stay as long as you can. If you can't stay for the whole day, please come for whatever time you're able. Your presence sends a powerful message to our legislators.
If you live outside New Jersey:
(1) Please forward this message to everyone you know who lives in New Jersey. The need is urgent. Do it right now.
We saw in New York just last week how many legislators can be swayed by an outpouring of calls and emails from their constituents. It's time to make it happen in New Jersey. Even if you've called and emailed repeatedly in the past months, do it again today!
Pray. Call. Email. And then bring your friends to Trenton on Thursday.
Brian S. Brown
National Organization for Marriage
20 Nassau Street, Suite 242
Princeton, NJ 08542