By Peter J. Smith
TRENTON, New Jersey, November 16, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) - A bill to legalize same-sex "marriage" in the state of New Jersey will likely never arrive on the desk of Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine, an ardent same-sex "marriage" supporter, as momentum for its passage has stalled in committee, reports the Associated Press.
Same-sex "marriage" advocates are desperate for New Jersey's Legislature to act on a bill to legalize the homosexual nuptials before Corzine leaves office mid-January. Governor-elect Chris Christie, a Republican, has pledged to veto such legislation.
State Sen. Paul Sarlo, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, told the AP on Friday that he does not have enough votes to approve the measure and hand it off to the full Senate.
"Until somebody can demonstrate that we have the votes in the Judiciary Committee, it will not be posted," said Sarlo.
"I'm not going to put people in harm's way where they have to vote 'yes' or 'no' when we don't have the votes to get it out [of committee]."
Reluctance to pass legislation also exists in the state Assembly, where a majority of legislators are presumed supportive of same-sex "marriage." However, Assembly Speaker Joe Roberts has refrained from bringing the legislation to a vote on the Assembly floor unless he can be certain of its passage - indicating that despite legislators' apparent ideological support, a political pragmatism on same-sex "marriage" may be holding sway.
The attitude of the New Jersey legislators may be reflective of the recent outcome of the marriage referendum in Maine - a socially liberal state in general. Earlier this month Maine became the first in the United States where voters decisively overturned their legislature's legalization of same-sex "marriage." It was also the 31st state where a referendum on same-sex "marriage" has resulted in the defeat of the novel institution.
The defeat of same-sex "marriage" in Maine no doubt has influenced lawmakers in liberal states like New Jersey and neighboring New York (which is also considering a same-sex "marriage" bill), who are weighing their support for the measure against their political futures.
Although the bill to legalize same-sex "marriage" in New York has already passed in New York's Assembly, a majority in favor of the measure has failed to materialize in the Senate, despite repeated requests from Democratic Gov. David Paterson to pass such a measure in a recently convened special session.
Currently only five states have legal same-sex "marriage." Only two states - Vermont and New Hampshire - have made same-sex "marriage" legal through legislative action; the other three states - Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Iowa - have legal same-sex "marriage" through judicial fiat.