Monday, January 11, 2010

Names of NJ State Senators to Remember in 2011

A friend asked that I post the names of who voted for or against (or, laughably, abstained) in the 01/07/10 NJ state senate vote on S1967 which would have included same-sex couples in New Jersey in the state's civil marriage statute and thus would have afforded those couples, like me and my partner, all the protections and obligations afforded in law and common business practice (e.g. insurance, hospitalization, etc.) to opposite-sex couples. That the bill failed was not, by the time the vote was finally scheduled, unexpected for a whole host of reasons (the governor's race and political cowardice to name two). But this post isn't about the vote itself or what led up to it. It concerns naming those who stood by us and their promises to us as compared to those who either went back on their word, acted on their professed hostility to us, or who dithered and sat on the fence on what is one of the most important issue to scores of same-sex couples in New Jersey.

We cannot, as a community, forget who fulfilled their promises to us, who betrayed us, who voted purely out of self interest, and who sat idly by. Given the small size of the LGBT community, it's unrealistic to think that all the senators who voted against us or who abstained can be made to pay the price in 2011. But there are many who represent districts in which we or at least the progressive community as a whole can certainly affect the outcome of the next election (only a couple of years away). And that's just in terms of votes. As a community, we have had and can still have an impact out of proportion to our voting ranks in the form of volunteering, canvasing and donating money to candidates. What we lack in sheer numbers we more than make up for in commitment. We can support those who have supported us as well as support challengers to those who have not so long as those resources are husbanded and used strategically. In any event, here is the list of heroes and villains from last Thursday's vote with full names, party affiliation and district number:

Yes votes (totaling 14):
Bill Baroni (R-14)
Barbara Buono (D-18)
Richard J. Codey (D-27)
Sandra B. Cunningham (D-31)
Nia H. Gill, Esq. (D-34)
Robert M. Gordon (D-38)
Raymond J. Lesniak (D-20)
M. Teresa Ruiz (D-29)
Nicholas P. Scutari (D-22)
Bob Smith (D-17)
Brian P. Stack (D-33)
Joseph F. Vitale (D-19)
Loretta Weinberg (D-37)
Jim Whelan (D-2)

Abstaining (totaling 3):
James Beach (D-6)
Paul A. Sarlo (D-36)
Stephen M. Sweeney (D-3)

Absent (totaling 2):
Diane B. Allen (R-7)
Andrew R. Ciesla (R-10)

No votes (totaling 20):
Christopher Bateman (R-16)
Jennifer Beck (R-12)
Anthony R. Bucco (R-25)
Gerald Cardinale (R-39)
Christopher J. Connors (R-9)
Michael J. Doherty (R-23)
John A. Girgenti (D-35)
Philip E. Haines (R-8)
Sean T. Kean (R-11)
Thomas H. Kean, Jr. (R-21)
Joseph M. Kyrillos, Jr. (R-13)
Fred H. Madden, Jr. (D-4)
Kevin J. O'Toole (R-40)
Steven V. Oroho (R-24)
Joseph Pennacchio (R-26)
Ronald L. Rice (D-28)
Nicholas J. Sacco (D-32)
Robert W. Singer (R-30)
Shirley K. Turner (D-15)
Jeff Van Drew (D-1)

District 5 is vacant, thus accounting for why the numbers total only 39. Among Democrats, 13 voted for the bill while 9 either voted no (6) or abstained (3). They are the Democrat 9. We'll remember them. Among the Republicans, only one voted for the bill despite the fact that among Republicans there were other supporters, that is before the election of Chris Christie as governor. Among the 16 Republicans who either voted no or abstained or were absent, a few stand out as having betrayed earlier promises to the LGBT community in this vote. We'll remember them too. The next election, in 2011, can't come soon enough. The time to start laying the groundwork to defeat some of the most vulnerable among those who voted no or abstained is now.

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