Saturday, December 09, 2006

Steven v. Steven (with a side of Nate)

This week's debate in New Jersey on gay marriage v. civil unions certainly wasn't short on the rhetoric or ad hominem attacks, including the following exchange between uber-conservative Bogota, New Jersey Mayor Steven Lonegan and Garden State Equality's Chairman Steven Goldstein.

Steve Lonegan started it with the following (from the Record via PoliticsNJ):
"No! I'm not doing it! They're not going to force me to do civil unions. They're going to have to put a gun to my head. Even then it's going to be a challenge." -- Bogota Mayor Steven Lonegan, on performing civil unions. Lonegan " said he performs about two dozen marriages a year, and officiated at one in which the groom 'was so drunk he couldn't stand up.' He said he didn't object to adults who choose a particular lifestyle, but resented that he would have a government-ordered role in their union."
Lonegan has officially left the reservation. To advertise that he's performed a marriage with a groom who was so intoxicated that he couldn't stand up makes us question Steve's judgment. Furthermore, he should know that as a mayor, he won't have a "government-ordered" role in performing civil unions or gay marriages. He certainly isn't required to perform heterosexual marriages today.

So what was Steven Goldstein's reply, you ask? Well:
"So let's get this right: Steve Lonegan, whose stunning political achievement has been to make Bret Schundler look moderate in statewide elections, would not preside over a ceremony between two loving, committed people of the same gender but would preside -- and has -- over a groom too intoxicated and thus not legally capacitated to enter a legal contract? With defenders of marriage like Steve Lonegan, grooms don't even need to show up anymore. On any marriage license, Mayor Lonegan is apparently willing to write the name Johnnie Walker. It's time to let gay couples marry. Not civil union -- but marry. We'll protect the institution from Steve Lonegan."

We give Goldstein a B for effort but a C- for content. He came out with his guns blazing, and was correct in mentioning (and attempting to take Lonegan to task for) the the "drunk groom" wedding. But instead of offering a substantive response to anything that Lonegan said, Goldstein just stuck with his talking points and the nasty rhetoric that is so typical in today's politics. The potential was there, but the execution fell way short.

But not to be disappointed, North Plainfield Council President Nathan Rudy decided that he'd weigh in on Lonegan's comments:
"Not for nothing here, Steve, but no one is gonna put a gun to your head to make you marry anyone. Performing marriage ceremonies -- or civil union ceremonies -- is an optional duty of being a Mayor and you can pick and choose when you want to officiate at a wedding. Your very strong stand is little more than bluster and bullspittle, and what is most pathetic is that you know it. However, your employees will have to issue the licenses for civil unions or same-sex marriages, and if you had real courage in your homophobic convictions you'd risk getting your butt sued off by refusing to let them. Frankly, I'd like to see if you have the guts to do it or if you are just blowing smoke up everyone's ass like usual. I suspect the latter."
Wow, Nate! Let's not pull and punches man. Despite not taking sides in this battle of the Steves, we did like your response (much more than Goldstein's who, in our opinion, blows a lot of smoke as well), even with the nasty.

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