NJ State senators write book about the freedom to marry

Posted by Erin Patricia Griffiths on northjersey.com:

"The residents of Hawthorne welcomed two state senators to the borough on the evening of Nov. 19 for a book signing for the newly published "What’s Love Got to Do with It? The Case for Same Sex Marriage." The book is written by Democratic state Sens. Ray Lesniak and Loretta Weinberg [a Freedom to Marry Voice for Equality].

"The book signing was attended by Lesniak and Sen. Robert Gordon. It was sponsored by the Democrats for Hawthorne and Garden State Equality. Weinberg was unable to attend the event, which was held at Winemakers Cellar on Goffle Road.

"Joe Osborne, membership chair for Democrats for Hawthorne and Garden State Equality volunteer, introduced the speakers of the evening, which included Jeff Gardner, Democratic Municipal Leader and vice chair of Garden State Equality; Troy Stevenson, Garden State Equality statewide field manager; Gordon and Lesniak. Also in attendance at the event was Mayor Domenick Stampone of neighboring Haledon.

"'As Sen. Lesniak said in his book, I’ve made the transition from being a supporter of gay rights to becoming a GLBT (gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender) activist,' said Osborne prior to introducing the speakers.

"'There comes a point when you look at your friends who can’t marry and the laws that discriminate against them and you say ‘I have a problem with this. I am going to do something about this.’ This is the civil rights issue of our time and tonight we celebrate the efforts of Sens. Lesniak, Weinberg and Gordon, in advancing the cause of justice and marriage equality,' said Osborne to the applause of those in attendance.

"Lesniak and Weinberg co-sponsored a bill for marriage equality that was defeated in the New Jersey Senate on Jan. 7. The bill was titled Freedom of Religion and Equality in Civil Marriage Act.

"While speaking at the event, Gordon recalled how he was raised in the 1960s during the time of the civil rights movement and how he watched many family members work toward equality and justice during that time. He said he always felt disappointed he was unable to participate in the fight for civil rights until now, when he was able to participate in voting for the bill for marriage equality.

"'I found myself in a position to be able to play a role,' said Gordon, thanking Garden State Equality and all those who fought for the bill for marriage equality. 'For giving me a chance I never thought I would have; a second chance to stand shoulder to shoulder with you in a quest for social justice and civil rights.'

"Lesniak said he wanted to write the book following the defeat of the marriage equality bill in January to 'record the struggle so that those who were involved and in the middle of it, have something to hold onto and be proud of and also that we can learn the lessons that are in the book.'"

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