What follows is my open letter to Senator Stephen Sweeney, who is taking over as New Jersey Senate president in the new legislative term and who abstained from voting on S1967 — the marriage equality bill — last Thursday.
I write to you today as a member of the Democratic Party, as a proud resident of the state of New Jersey, and as someone who is deeply ashamed of your complete lack of leadership as shown by your failure to cast a vote on senate bill 1967. As you must surely know, that bill would have extended civil marriage rights to same-sex couples in New Jersey. The citizens of New Jersey expect their elected representatives to be men and women of action. That you could sit by and take no action at all on what may very well be one of the most important pieces of legislation to come to the floor of the state senate in a long time, a piece of legislation having a direct practical impact on the lives of scores of same-sex couples in our state, says a great deal about your lack of leadership. By your unwillingness to cast a vote, you have shown yourself utterly unworthy of the post — that of incoming president of the Senate — to which you have aspired. I would hope, out of a sense of shame and regret at so seriously defaulting on your responsibilities to the people of New Jersey and to your new position as senate president, that you would do the right thing: resign your leadership position. After all, you are a leader in name only.