Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Second Class citizens of Our Fair State

From Geoff Wertime's opinion column at CentralJersey.com, titled Witnessing NJ's Shameful Vote:

My senator, Jennifer Beck, R-12th, cast that last vote with a photo of me and my boyfriend, which I handed her mere hours beforehand, either staring her in the face or — and this is more likely — buried under a stack of papers somewhere on her desk. It’s a photograph of us at a wedding this summer, one of three friends’ ceremonies we attended in the space of a month. She cast that vote after telling me earlier in the day that women had to wait for the right to vote, and that same-sex couples will have to wait as well.

It’s hard not to feel like an outcast when all of your friends are enjoying a privilege that is denied you, especially when a legislative body reaffirms that denial.

I spent part of the day chasing Senator Beck down too, with my husband (I'm part of the class that was awarded a right to marry by the genetic lottery), an old friend and a new one. The senator was quite adept at dodging us but did spend several minutes (of what was clearly a very busy day) listening to our concerns. As she had clearly heard the concerns of many in the recent past.

Yet she voted against equal rights anyway. A shameful vote, indeed. For 20 of our senators, and several who wimped out and abstained.

There shouldn't be two classes of citizenship. We've already proved separate-but-equal is never equal, why are we still allowing it?

Voters in Our Fair State don't forget votes against equal rights for all. I hope the voters in our district remember the day when Senator Beck voted how her party told her to, not how her conscience should have.

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