TRENTON – Sen. Loretta Weinberg (D-Bergen), prime sponsor of the Marriage Equality Act (S1967), today issued the following statement:
“I have been working hard to achieve passage of my legislation granting full marriage rights to same-sex couples. While I understand that passions are running high on both sides of this issue, I would ask advocates to maintain the civil and courteous tone that has been established by legislators during these discussions. The overwhelming majority of advocates for and against my bill have focused their arguments on the merits of the legislation and presented them in the appropriate forums – contacting legislators through our district offices or speaking with us at the Statehouse. I thank you all for that.
“I strongly urge everyone to continue that approach. It is not appropriate to confront members of the Legislature at their homes or businesses or at private family events in order to engage them on this issue. Please be respectful of us and our families as we have been respectful of your views. And please refrain from passing judgment on the personal religious and moral beliefs of legislators who happen to disagree with your particular belief system. We have been scrupulous in treating everyone’s personal beliefs with respect and dignity and I believe we have the right to expect the same from our constituents on both sides of this issue. A person’s deeply held religious and spiritual beliefs are not fair game for attack by those who hold different beliefs.
“The conversations between lawmakers and the public will continue as we move forward with the Marriage Equality Act. Whether we agree or disagree with your position, I think everyone involved needs to remember that this is a civil rights issue. It can and should be discussed civilly, and in the appropriate forum.”