Stephen Sweeney, New Jersey Senate President, discusses Monday's vote on the same sex marriage bill in the senate.
Okay, Becky, maybe you need to educate me to the difference between human rights and civil rights...
The first sentence of America's founding document puts it this way "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."
During America's 235 years, the definition of "all men" that this defined has expanded to included non-propertied white men, black men, women, Asians and eighteen year olds. There is no end to the march. The only obstacle appears to be contemporary definitions of absurdity. [I don't *think* that people will ever be able to 'marry' their pets.]
Would you call the rights expressed in our Declartion of Independence human rights or civil rights? I don't think that laws enabling gay marrige are an attempt to redefine marriage. I DO think that law of matrimony should apply to all registered couples equally. What label we put on that registration is unimportant to me but the equality of treatment, i.e. survivor's benefits via Social Security, etc. is important.
Evolution seems to be the key word in Mr Sweeney's personal journey. He states that he hopes that Governor Chrisitie might have evolved on the issue of same sex marriage as so many Americans have in the past few years. This is truly unfortunate. Mr Sweeney's decision to move to a vote in the Senate and to deny the motion to put same sex marriage up for a referendum is both courageous and sensible and demonstrates true leadership qualities.
I'am married now to my husband and he doesnt feel the way I do about gay right's growing up my best friend was gay and was pushed around in high school kids were so mean to him because he was different..It made me so sick to see someone being so RUDE to him. He stood up to it and his rights after he did that there were alot of other kids that came out and said they to were gay. I think everone should be equal no matter what they are gays, transgendered, or intersex they should all have the right to marry who ever they are in love with and adopt a child if they wish to do so there are alot of chidren in foster care that would be blessed to go home to a loving family no matter what sex they are IT'S CALLED A FAMILY!
this man from nj is exactly correct....and moral. gay marriage rights IS a civil rights issue.....just like 50-70 years ago, black and white marriages was a civil rights issue. do you remember the anti-miscegenation laws in this "great" country??????? all the honorable white people who so feared black and white marriage....finally had to admit they were wrong and the country abolished those laws forbidding blacks and whites to intermarry...and we survived it....we survived it, folks.....and so will it go when gays, transgendered, and intersex are finally granted all the rights of MARRIAGE......
why does different have to mean equal?
Dear all, Thank you sincerely for admitting my call to the show. My point on use of the word "evolve" was minor, but eloquently transposed to a discussion on public reaction to growth on this subject. Sweeny was so porfound in his admonition of opponents' arguments against and in his defense of minority rights and civil rights of all kind from the whim of majority rule. Majorities are inherently opposed to the minority among them, and the rights of the latter cannot fall to the masses for protection. While progress is an evolving trend, it is the duty of the judicial branch and the elected defenders of our constitution to seek justice equally, even when progress falls behind.
Much of what has been said approving of same sex marriage is so true. There are some 1,800 rights and privileges that accrue to married couples that same sex couples do not have access to, although many of those rights and privileges are federal and will not apply regardless of what New Jersey does. However, this is another step toward full civil rights.
The most important point I wish to make is that the whole religious issue is a red herring. No church, even under current marital laws, is forced to marry or recognize the marriage of any couple - every minister and priest knows that. The Catholic church has, for centuries held control over who they will marry and who they will not. No state in the world has ever told a church "you MUST marry this couple" regardless of their sex.
Anyone who defends "marriage" as a religious right only allowed to heterosexuals is living in the dark ages. It blows my mind how people can not view two human beings in love, who want to make a pledge of responsibility and commitment to each other, as anything different than a man and a woman in the same circumstance. If you think the sole purpose of marriage is to pro-create, you are also ignoring significant changes in society.
Jgarbuz, your insensitivity toward adoption is astounding. So anyone - female or male - who chooses to adopt is "buying" a baby? Many women, of all ages, are infertile and cannot bear children. If any person or couple wants to raise children - who is not capable of bearing a child, but can afford to give that child a good, stable life - we should all be thankful that one less kid is living a miserable existence.
Agree with jgarbuz from Queens. The defense of the sanctimony of marriage, being religious, disqualifies marriage as a concern for the state. Wherever and however you choose to get "married," the state should be indifferent to it. The state should not be extending marriage to gays, it should be left alone to churches, private gatherings with friends and family, whatever; meanwhile, if you want the state to recognize your domestic partnership, you can fill out the same papers as any gay couple if you want it to be recognized by the state and extended all the same benefits and considerations that a civil union entails.
Sweeney's got it right when he says that people that don't oppose gay marriage 'don't care'. Of course I don't care! It is the civil right of gays to marry! Period! I care about the economy, debt crisis, and other issues that affect me and my family. I could care less if someone wants to marry someone of the same sex! It is there absolute right! Let's shift the focus to issues of more importance!
I wish I lived in New Jersey so I could vote for this guy. Courage, mixed with pragmatism.
The last caller seems to be suggesting that gay parents love their children less than straight parents - not the gay parents I know!
Jg - CORRECTION I agreed with your first sentence not too sure about the rest of your points.
Marriage is already overloaded in its civil usage. I think we should get rid of "civil" marriage and replace it with changes elsewhere. For example, why do I need to be married to somebody for them to have priority in visiting me at the hospital? If a brother and sister are raising their nephews, why can't they have some kind of governmentally-recognized special status?Why extend "marriage" into new areas where the designation seems to be even less functionally coherent than it already is?
"Civil rights" come from the will of the people, not some elitist view of society. Ballots reflect the will of the people. This should be decided by ballot. Why should we be forced to subsidize SSM if it goes through & gets all the "benefits" of marriage?
If gay marriage is made legal in NJ, can it be taken away?
Do poor people have the right to keep their own children, even if they cannot support them at some higher level of income? Should poor people be tempted to sell their children, as happens in the Sahara, to richer people, who happen to be gay as well? Because that is what is going to happen. Male gays cannot produce their own children. Therefore they have to buy ("adopt") them. Because that is what adoption is, essentially buying children. Rich liberals go to Africa into poor villages and buy children. We will have this in America too.
Jg - I could not agree more.
BECAUSE IT IS NOT A CIVIL RIGHT!!!!!
States should get out of the marriage business altogether. They should issue only civil unions to all couples, straight or gay, with all the benefits that flow therefrom. If the couple wants to get "married" then they can go to the religious institution of their choice whose beliefs are in accord with theirs.
"Marriage" is not the business of the state! Marriage is a religious rite and oath. The state should only issue civil UNION authorizations, but not "marry" people. Many countries do not have civil marriage. It should not be the right of two men or two women living together buy children from the poor and single mothers, because that is what is going to happen if gay marriage becomes the law. The gays will be competing with the poor for babies. It is repugnant. STop calling it a "civil rights" issue. It is a civil WRONG to have gays buying babies from the poor.
the guv is just angling here to become the GOP V.P. nominee.. he should be ashamed of himself for denying gays their equal rights to further his political ambitions...
human rights and civil rights should NEVER be put to a popular vote.. or how on earth does the guv then propose to protect the rights of minorities?? outrageous.. he should wake up and smell the coffee: most Americans now support gay marriage; he, like most Republicans, are totally behind the curve and behind the times here...
Here what he is saying is one of the biggest problems with our government. He thought the bill was wrong but abstained because he didn't 'want to be a part of a failing bill'. Why do we elect these guys if they can't stand up for what actual people want or need?
This again....this is about human rights, gay rights, sure CIVIL rights, NO.
Hey guys, let's have referedna to take away the voting rights of women, seize private property of "rich" people, and legalize drunk driving in NY. Who cares about the constitution and the rule of law and stuff.
Register for your own account so you can vote on comments, save your favorites, and more.
Please stay on topic, be civil, and be brief.
Email addresses are never displayed, but they are required to confirm
your comments. Names are displayed with all comments. We reserve the
right to edit any comments posted on this site. Please read the
Comment Guidelines before
By leaving a comment, you agree to New York Public Radio's
It's your neighborhood, your city, your country, your world, and now your website. Brian Lehrer delves into the issues and links them to real life.