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Moving forward, coast to coast
January 23, 2012 1:24 PM   Subscribe

On the same day that NJ governor Chris Christie announced that he has nominated an openly gay African-American Republican mayor to the state’s highest court, Washington state's legislature has announced that they have the votes to pass the same sex-marriage bill that the governor has already promised to sign. Washington will be the seventh state to have same sex marriages.

And tomorrow, the New Jersey senate will take up discussion of the Marriage Equality and Religious Exemption Act. State Sen. Raymond Lesniak, one of the bill’s sponsors, estimated the chamber had between 24 and 27 supporters for legislation to allow for same-sex marriage in New Jersey. It takes 27 votes in the 40-member state senate to override a governor’s veto.
posted by roomthreeseventeen (70 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

 
Goddammit, Maryland, quit being so backward!
posted by Faint of Butt at 1:29 PM on January 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


Why even come out and announce that they have the votes? Why not just vote on the thing and do it?
posted by LionIndex at 1:30 PM on January 23, 2012


I'm pretty sure that NOM will get a referendum on the ballot to try to overturn it, this Fall.

But I'm nervously optimistic that, when they do, Washingtonians will reject that referendum overwhelmingly, ending the brief "just like marriage but not" era in Washington.
posted by gurple at 1:32 PM on January 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


We were just enthusing about this on Facebook (the Washington thing). Really looking forward to being part of this.
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 1:33 PM on January 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


Do conservatives ever notice that eventually they lose on everything? God knows they do a great job of making it take longer than it should, sometimes they even make water flow uphill for a bit, but eventually, they lose on everything. You'd think it would be disheartening. Clearly not.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 1:33 PM on January 23, 2012 [15 favorites]


Come on O'Malley!!!
posted by josher71 at 1:33 PM on January 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


Why even come out and announce that they have the votes? Why not just vote on the thing and do it?

For one thing, it makes it a little harder for supporters to change their minds again; it also encourages fence-sitters to join in - it's one thing to stand with the majority against changing traditional blah blah; it's another to join in with a minority to try to stand in the way of Justice and History.
posted by Tomorrowful at 1:33 PM on January 23, 2012 [5 favorites]


announcing they have the votes is part of getting the votes. it makes the wishy-washy pick a side and stick to it. on every issue everywhere in government there are people who just go with the flow, they want to be on the winning side. announcing you have the votes signals to those people which side to pick. in the end, it often succeeds in making the vote even stronger for the winning side. sometimes, it can backfire and the announcement can have the opposite effect, where people jump ship because it seems too unpopular.
posted by nadawi at 1:34 PM on January 23, 2012


You just know that Christie has been looking across the river at Cuomo and the mad support/bling he got after championing the gay marriage over here.
posted by spicynuts at 1:35 PM on January 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


YAY!!! from a Washington voter. We have been on tenterhooks around here, watching the necessary votes in our state senate slowly line up. As of this morning, the measure was still one vote shy of the necessary margin. The Republicans who are in support have been a surprise, and all have my admiration for their political courage.

It is only a few years since our state Supreme Court reversed a trial court ruling which held there is a state constitutional right for gay citizens to marry. It is good to see Washington move into the ranks of the enlightened states.
posted by bearwife at 1:35 PM on January 23, 2012 [4 favorites]


Knob Creek for all!
posted by The Whelk at 1:37 PM on January 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


More here about what's been happening here in Washington re this vote.
posted by bearwife at 1:37 PM on January 23, 2012 [3 favorites]


You know, and it makes my skin physically crawl to admit there's anything about Chris Christie I like, but...

In a party that's become sickeningly defined by its bigotry, he's been a voice of praiseworthy sanity on a lot of things. He's well to the left of much of his party on immigration; his undiplomatic short temper has been turned on those who implied that there was anything wrong at all with being Muslim-American; and god help me, considering the context of "The modern GOP," the man deserves kudos for openly supporting civil unions, even if he says he'll veto gay marriage.
posted by Tomorrowful at 1:38 PM on January 23, 2012 [8 favorites]


He's well to the left of much of his party on immigration;

If he ever wants to make a serious run at national office, you'll have a grand ole time watching all of that go out the window as he pulls a Mitt Romney.
posted by spicynuts at 1:42 PM on January 23, 2012 [3 favorites]


You just know that Christie has been looking across the river at Cuomo and the mad support/bling he got after championing the gay marriage over here.

I'm sure he's looking at that support as well as the money that's flowed to Republican supporters of New York's gay marriage law.
posted by gladly at 1:45 PM on January 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


Wow! Yay us!!
posted by Windopaene at 1:48 PM on January 23, 2012


an openly gay African-American Republican

I hate it when people use "an" when they mean to use "the."
posted by flarbuse at 2:07 PM on January 23, 2012 [15 favorites]


Knob Creek you say?
posted by sciencegeek at 2:16 PM on January 23, 2012


Faint of Butt: "Goddammit, Maryland, quit being so backward!"

Hah, come up over the border to PA if you want to know backward.
posted by octothorpe at 2:17 PM on January 23, 2012


Do conservatives ever notice that eventually they lose on everything?

You mean besides lower taxes, welfare reform, abortion, and every American war of the last generation?
posted by Etrigan at 2:20 PM on January 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


Sooner or later, Republicans will figure out this part: gay marriage is good for business. They should like that.
posted by beagle at 2:20 PM on January 23, 2012


Interestingly, there is a tradition in New Jersey to maintain an ideological balance on the state Supreme Court. It's curious to me whether Christie intends to thwart that tradition in favor of stacking the bench as most Chief Executives do.

New Jersey has one of the more modern judicial systems out there (as a result of the relatively recent NJ constitution). I have my doubts that Christie will actually succeed in undoing what the constitutional drafters attempted - in a broader sense - to create for the state. The historical and geographic context is very important. The constitution was drafted at a time when many legal scholars in the neighborhood were preoccupied with socioeconomic human rights and how political structures could respond to them. The American Law Institute produced a document in 1945 that is shockingly similar to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights - its Statement of Essential Human Rights. This would have been hotly debated among legal scholars living in the mid-Atlantic region. (Remember, Trenton is only an hour from Philly.)

I don't believe that it is coincidental, then, that the New Jersey constitution protects collective bargaining and affords citizens a "thorough and efficient" public education. These rights are featured heavily in the socioeconomic human rights documents that came out of the 1930s and 40s. And you know that "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" from the Declaration of Independence? It's not just declarative here, but rather forms the foundation of the first section of Article 1 of the NJ Constitution.

Whether Christie flouts tradition and stacks the supreme court, I doubt he'll succeed in what he plans to do. The progressive legal protections in New Jersey are so iron-clad that I just don't imagine they can very well get around them. (Which is why the NJ Supreme Court - composed with its historically neutral balance - managed to come to a nearly unanimous decision concerning civil unions for same-sex couples being mandated by the State Constitution. The only partial concurrences? Thought that full marriage was demanded by the constitution.)

And if the iron-clad human rights enshrined in the NJ State Constitution aren't strong enough? Well, NJ has a mandatory retirement age of 70 for Justices. So we ultimately aren't looking at lengthy tenure on the court.

Anyway, as a gay former clerk in the quasi-judicial segment of the Executive Branch of the State of New Jersey, I'm excited about this.
posted by jph at 2:32 PM on January 23, 2012 [4 favorites]


an openly gay African-American Republican mayor.

Apparently the mayor of the twon I just moved to, at that. New enough that I couldn't tell you if I think he was a good mayor or not, but the news around seems to be pretty "good for him!" not "THAT guy?"

tomorrow, the New Jersey senate will take up discussion of the Marriage Equality and Religious Exemption Act

I wonder if one of the 24-27 is Kip Bateman, the senator who told me to my face that he thought letting people who love each other get married would be "redefining marriage" and that's why I'm not allowed to be the best man at my brother's wedding. I'm out of his district, and have to see what my new representatives think (and get on the phone calls, emails, office visits, and statehouse visits I did last time around,) but I still hope he comes around this time. Even as he said it I got the impression he knew he was making the ghost of George Wallace proud...
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 2:57 PM on January 23, 2012


Do conservatives ever notice that eventually they lose on everything?

Conservatives (well, Log Cabin Republicans :) pushed DADT through the courts, despite opposition from Obama's Justice Dept. A conservative lawyer is co-leading the legal team that has so far successfully challenged California's Prop 8, which will likely go to the Supreme Court on appeal by its defendants. I'm not a conservative, myself, but I value the fact that some of them have done a lot for the rights of gay Americans, myself included.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:01 PM on January 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


Republican ≡ conservative, especially when one is talking about a particularly outlying party subgroup.
posted by psoas at 3:14 PM on January 23, 2012


...and that should have been not equal to. Grrargh.
posted by psoas at 3:14 PM on January 23, 2012


What exactly are Bruce Harris's qualifications to sit on the bench of the NJ Supreme Court?

His biggest qualification is that he's been the mayor of a 9,000-person town for the past three months. Apparently the appointment is intended to override numerous rulings from the current court that have required the state to provide enough funding to inner-city schools to keep the lights on.

Forgive me if I'm not falling over with excitement here, but I'm not exactly jubilant about the fact that Christie's latest tool to fuck over the state's poor people is a supreme court justice who happens to be gay, black, and has no judicial experience.
posted by schmod at 3:15 PM on January 23, 2012


What exactly are Bruce Harris's qualifications to sit on the bench of the NJ Supreme Court?

Yale Law grad, worked for a big firm, and mayor... I think that's more than qualified for anything short of a seat at the federal bench.
posted by gyc at 3:19 PM on January 23, 2012


Yale Law grad, worked for a big firm, and mayor... I think that's more than qualified for anything short of a seat at the federal bench.

Lawyer =/= qualified to be a judge!

Some big firm lawyers don't step into a court room more than once or twice a year. And most big firm lawyers are highly specialised. But if you're going to be at the bench on a State Supreme Court, you're going to need to be a generalist in some respects at least.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 3:35 PM on January 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


Last I checked, there are NO real qualifications for being a judge in most levels of the Judicial branch. Some might think that being a lawyer or some such is helpful for the position, but the requirements are never laid out, except informally.
posted by hippybear at 3:51 PM on January 23, 2012


This is awesome - and makes me feel unexpectedly warm and fuzzy for Microsoft, whose General Counsel Brad Smith made this statement in support of same-sex marriage in Washington State:
As other states recognize marriage equality, Washington’s employers are at a disadvantage if we cannot offer a similar, inclusive environment to our talented employees, our top recruits and their families. Employers in the technology sector face an unprecedented national and global competition for top talent. Despite progress made in recent years with domestic partnership rights, same-sex couples in Washington still hold a different status from their neighbors. Marriage equality in Washington would put employers here on an equal footing with employers in the six other states that already recognize the committed relationships of same-sex couples – Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York and Vermont. This in turn will help us continue to compete for talent.

While Microsoft’s support for marriage equality is motivated by respect for our employees, we also respect the views of those who may not agree with our position. For example, we have many highly valued and highly successful employees who hold a wide range of views on this and many other issues. We’re not asking anyone to change their views to conform to the company’s position.

We also recognize that marriage has meaning as both a civil and a religious institution. Like the marriage equality bill passed last year in New York State with bipartisan and business support, this bill preserves religious freedom in Washington’s churches while ending discrimination in Washington law.

Like the New York bill, we believe Washington’s legislation should be passed into law. It will make our state and our economy stronger.
posted by running order squabble fest at 4:12 PM on January 23, 2012 [7 favorites]


Last I checked, there are NO real qualifications for being a judge in most levels of the Judicial branch. Some might think that being a lawyer or some such is helpful for the position, but the requirements are never laid out, except informally.

My point was more that just because you can be appointed as a judge, doesn't mean that you have what it takes to be a good or competent judge.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 4:16 PM on January 23, 2012


My point was more that just because you can be appointed as a judge, doesn't mean that you have what it takes to be a good or competent judge.

And my counterpoint is that being a good or competent judge doesn't necessarily mean you have "lawyer" in your background.
posted by hippybear at 4:21 PM on January 23, 2012


The best part of this, for me, besides the much stronger hope that I'll get to officiate my best friend's fully legal wedding to her wife* sometime in the next year or so, was reading the comments on a Seattle Times article about Microsoft and several other companies voicing their support for marriage equality. Some chucklehead in the comments was going off on how much he hates Microsoft now for supporting the icky, icky gay people, and that he was going to boycott all MSFT products now and throw all his money at Apple, not realizing that they, too, support marriage equality.

The comments that came after that were HILARIOUS. Totally made my day.

But seriously, big fat mazel tov to all my fellow Washingtonians. If you need anyone to come dance the fuck out of themselves at your awesome gay wedding, MeMail me.

*they're registered as domestic partners and call each other "wife", but their accountant also wants them to refuse to file taxes this year in protest of not having the right to file jointly, so... i'm pretty sure they'll get married, and I cannot wait!!!
posted by palomar at 4:58 PM on January 23, 2012


Last I checked, there are NO real qualifications for being a judge in most levels of the Judicial branch. Some might think that being a lawyer or some such is helpful for the position, but the requirements are never laid out, except informally.

I've now looked into this, and it appears that you are incorrect on that point, at least with respect to the NJ Supreme Court.

Section VI of the NJ Constitution:

SECTION VI

...

2. The justices of the Supreme Court and the judges of the Superior Court shall each prior to his appointment have been admitted to the practice of law in this State for at least 10 years.



And my counterpoint is that being a good or competent judge doesn't necessarily mean you have "lawyer" in your background.

Could you elaborate? Do you consider that you don't need legal qualifications to understand and rule on complex legal arguments? Or are you arguing that, for example, an academic (rather than a practicing lawyer) could be a good judge?
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 5:17 PM on January 23, 2012


Yeah, just putting this out there -- I've officiated many a legal marriage in Washington, I live in the Seattle area, and I have an adorable five year old who would probably be thrilled to wear her fancy dress and be a flower girl. So if anyone wants to get hitched RFN (or at least RFASAP), MeMail me.
posted by KathrynT at 5:39 PM on January 23, 2012 [7 favorites]


If judges were allowed to judge cases based on common sense instead of on some law written to counteract some other law which was written to counteract some older law which was a tag-on to some bill which addressed an entirely different subject ...

The average Joe/Joanne on the street could do a better job of determining what matters and what doesn't than most of our judges, who are only paid to sort through all the legalese and precedents to determine which of many rulings in similar cases should come out on top in this one; to understand all that claptrap, yes, they do need an education in law, but whether that education actually serves the public by serving true justice - well, that's another question entirely.

I'm very proud to be a Washingtonian today, as I usually am. Good job, folks, well done - and thank you, Gov. Gregoire, for your signature.
posted by aryma at 6:52 PM on January 23, 2012


So, uh, what is from Washington that one buys? I like to purchase things from states that do the right thing here.
posted by nat at 8:10 PM on January 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


Software. Microsoft, Adobe, Valve, and a lot of other software companies.
posted by mephron at 8:12 PM on January 23, 2012


I burst into tears of joy at my desk at work today when I brought up the Seattle Times website and saw the headline (local coverage here). There are still a few undecided senators - I'm hoping that since they won't have to be the deciding vote, a couple of them will be brave enough to vote yes as well.
posted by skycrashesdown at 8:18 PM on January 23, 2012


Knob Creek you say?

Whiskey Dick Ridge, WA
posted by thewalrus at 8:28 PM on January 23, 2012


"Goddammit, Maryland, quit being so backward!"

Governor's Introduction of Marriage Equality Bill Imminent in Maryland.
posted by ericb at 8:28 PM on January 23, 2012


So, uh, what is from Washington that one buys? I like to purchase things from states that do the right thing here.

You've probably flown in a Boeing airplane...
posted by thewalrus at 8:29 PM on January 23, 2012


So, uh, what is from Washington that one buys?

Made In Washington is a store I frequent for gift giving when I want to give things from this great state.

Protip: huckleberries are f'n delicious.
posted by hippybear at 8:38 PM on January 23, 2012


Huh. There seem to be several different (perhaps related?) Made In Washington websites.

Here's one.

Here's another one.

That's three pages of products made in WA which don't carry the same price tag as a Boeing airplane. Perhaps they will fit your budget a bit better.
posted by hippybear at 8:41 PM on January 23, 2012


(and apparently the "here's one" link in my second comment is the place I visit, in the thriving second-largest-city-in-the-state (and largely ignored by the Coastal Elites) Spokane, WA!)
posted by hippybear at 8:44 PM on January 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


My favorite for gifts is Chukar Cherries.
posted by Jumpin Jack Flash at 8:44 PM on January 23, 2012


"Here's another one."

Lists some of Chukar Cherries products.
posted by Jumpin Jack Flash at 8:48 PM on January 23, 2012


Apples (the kind you eat). A lot of them.

Hops.

All kinds of seafood, somewhat indirectly. Much of the US north pacific fishing fleet is based in Seattle.

Wood/forest products of all sorts.

Hydroelectric generated power. A lot of it.

Telecom services. Seattle has a robust and thriving datacenter/colocation industry.
posted by thewalrus at 8:48 PM on January 23, 2012


Also, there's Dry Fly Distillery, which makes pretty good vodka and gin. You can't order their actual products directly from their website, but they do have a map page which may help you find their products in your area.
posted by hippybear at 8:51 PM on January 23, 2012


So, when will the vote actually happen?
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 8:54 PM on January 23, 2012


There's also a whole slew of wineries all over the state, from Puget Sound to Walla Walla. Many of them are quite good.
posted by hippybear at 8:55 PM on January 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


Oh, and Washington actually produces more potatoes per acre (but not more total) than Idaho. If you're into the whole starchy carb thing.
posted by hippybear at 9:00 PM on January 23, 2012


Go on and get other stuff, but don't you buy Washington apples and hydropower!

Here in New York, we have EVEN GAYER apples and hydropower available at this very instant! And especially out here in western NY, we need the money. Won't you chip in and buy some delicious, homophilic New York apples so that we can afford to import more snow, as our snow harvest seems to have failed this year? Please?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:32 PM on January 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


MetaFilter: we have EVEN GAYER apples and hydropower
posted by hippybear at 9:36 PM on January 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


Tipping point! We have reached the Gayularity.
posted by LarryC at 10:41 PM on January 23, 2012


I hate it when people use "an" when they mean to use "the."

The hell you say!
posted by IndigoJones at 6:24 AM on January 24, 2012


Yay! Also, I'm really glad to be a part of Metafilter. I've spent the last month or so surrounded by some conservatives (nice people), and it's so wonderful to come here and have unanimous support on this issue :) :)
posted by bluefly at 6:37 AM on January 24, 2012


If anyone knows a place to watch the NJ hearing going on now online, feel free to share...
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 6:57 AM on January 24, 2012


I'm pretty sure that NOM will get a referendum on the ballot to try to overturn it, this Fall.

This is, unfortunately, where we stand in Maine. We passed it in the legislature in 2009 and the Governor signed it, only to have it overturned via "the People's Veto" process. In good news it looks like it is heading to the ballot this fall and a lot of people have changed their minds (and/or caught on to NOM's lying ways). If it passes, we'll be the first state to have passed it by direct popular vote (IIRC).

I hope Washington State can resit NOM the first time around!
posted by mikepop at 7:00 AM on January 24, 2012


To follow up my own question, I'm told audio will be here: http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/media/live_audio.asp
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 8:14 AM on January 24, 2012




One of my pastors (the widowed lesbian motorcycle-riding shepherd) is in Sen. Haugen's district. Two days ago, she called the senator and spoke with her personally and at length on the importance of passing the bill. I don't know what she said or what appeals she made, but I like to think that her phone call made a real difference.
posted by KathrynT at 9:33 AM on January 24, 2012




Oh fuck you, Kip Bateman.
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 12:01 PM on January 24, 2012


One of my pastors (the widowed lesbian motorcycle-riding shepherd)...

This may be one of the best sentences I have ever read.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 2:33 PM on January 24, 2012 [1 favorite]




For those who are still reading this thread, here's a live TV feed into the WA State Senate vote: http://www.tvw.org/index.php?option=com_tvwliveplayer&eventID=LIVE247

I have friends in Olympia watching this; it was Standing Room Only more than two hours ago.
posted by spinifex23 at 6:05 PM on February 1, 2012


The Senate has passed the bill, 28-21. Passage through the House is virtually guaranteed, and as the Governor introduced the bill, she will certainly sign it.

I'm in tears. About fucking time.
posted by KathrynT at 9:46 PM on February 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


WA-hoo!
posted by running order squabble fest at 3:27 AM on February 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


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