The National Organization for Marriage
(NOM), the nation's most vociferous opponent of gay marriage,
launched an anti-gay marriage ad blitz in New Jersey Monday.
The group announced in a press release
the campaign would cost $500,000.
“NOM's voter outreach will include
telephone calling, direct mailers, and online advertising to let
voters know that Democrats are considering following Jon Corzine over
a political cliff by pushing gay marriage in the lame-duck
[session],” said Brian Brown, executive director of NOM.
A 30-second radio spot titled Give
Me a Break launched the campaign.
In the ad, a woman and a man discuss
the possibility of a gay marriage bill being debated during a
lame-duck session of the New Jersey Legislature. They both agree the
economy should come first.
“With all our problems, they want to
legalize gay marriage,” the woman says, then adds, “Gay couples
ought to be able to live as they choose, but they shouldn't get
lame-duck legislators to redefine marriage for all of society.”
The radio spot hit the airways Monday,
the first day of the lame-duck session, which did not include the gay
marriage bill on its agenda.
That wasn't stopping either camp;
proponents rallied at the Statehouse to urge lawmakers to approve the
bill before Governor Jon Corzine leaves office in mid-January and is
replaced by Republican Chris Christie, a gay marriage opponent who
supports a gay marriage ban.
Several hundred protesters cheered on
as Steven Goldstein, chairman of Garden
State Equality, warned Democratic leaders that the New Jersey gay
community would respond appropriately if the bill was not put up for
“The time is now. Put up or shut
up,” he said as the crowd chanted, “Now, now, now.”
Goldstein introduced State Senator
Loretta Weinberg, the bill's primary sponsor and Governor Corzine's
former running mate, as our “guardian angel.”
Weinberg told the crowd: “I'm not
guaranteeing anything here, but I think this is winnable.”
While polls indicate a slight majority
of voters approve of giving gay men and lesbians the right to marry,
several Democratic lawmakers appear to have shifted from the
affirmative to the undecided column. Senator Stephen M. Sweeney, who
will become Senate president in January, told the New York Times
that several lawmakers view Governor Corzine's loss as a referendum
against gay marriage.
NOM said in its release that the new
campaign brings the group's total expenditure in New Jersey to fight
against gay marriage to $1 million. The group says it donated $1.5
million in both California and Maine to reverse gay marriage laws.