From the Star-Ledger (via Andrew):
Support for gay marriage in Trenton is draining away like water from a tub as nervous legislators scurry towards safer political ground.I like that "puny." What an apposite word.
"I can’t say I’m confident now," says Sen. Loretta Weinberg (D-Bergen), a lead sponsor. "I think we still have a pretty good chance. But people are getting nervous and weak-kneed."
Bad as that sounds, know that Weinberg is spinning this as best she can. Several other senators, supporters and opponents, say the movement is all but dead.
Gay activists are bitter about what they see as betrayal. Democrats, especially Gov. Jon Corzine, told them over and over to wait for this moment.
And now they are getting tepid support, or none at all.
"Many of us in the progressive movement just want to throw up," says Steve Goldstein of Garden State Equality, the state’s leading gay rights group. "Democrats put out one hand out to ask for money, and with the other they stab you in the back."
Perhaps most important, the Roman Catholic Church in New Jersey threw its muscle into the fight. Bishops and priests spoke against it from the pulpit, and more than 150,000 parishioners signed petitions in opposition.
Several legislators said they were impressed by that show of strength, given that Catholics make up more than 40 percent of the state’s population.
Only 2 percent of voters said this is the most important issue to them. And these skittish Democrats are almost all in gerrymandered districts that were drawn to ensure they win by large margins.
Ask senators privately what would happen if they all voted their consciences, and you get the same answer over and over: It would pass with votes to spare.
But our leaders, these puny men and women, are too scared to stand up and be counted.
So, let's see. Cowardly politicians? Check. Political muscle of Roman Catholic church cited as major influence? Check. Realization that gay rights issues are a complete non-starter? Check. Crushing ennui on my part? Check, underline, highlight.
If I lived in New Jersey, you can bet your hindquarters that I would be saving my bright, shiny pennies when the Democratic Party made fund-raising calls. As it happens, I live in a state where the Democrats actually demonstrated that they have some stones, so I'm happy to continue to support them. The national party? Not so much.
And I think this shows once again why arguments that a judicial solution to our problem are somehow illegitimate fall flat. The political process is clearly failing us, and it is for precisely this kind of situation that we have an independent judiciary in the first place.