Metro Weekly

NJ Senator Sean Kean under fire: Boasted of “gay friends” & “gayest District,” then voted against same-sex marriages [video]

”…When gay people move into the community, do the property values go down, and the neighborhood turn to garbage? Well, no, just the opposite happens, in fact. When you drive around my district in Monmouth County — place like Asbury Park and Ocean Grove, you see the rainbow flags — you see the opposite. The neighborhood is gentrified. They push the drug dealers out, businesses thrive, real estate values go up, the economy in general improves, and certainly society improves…. Somebody told me today, I have the ‘gayest’ district in the state … but it doesn’t matter where they reside. The fact of the matter is, they deserve to have rights. They deserve to have things that the rest of us as Americans have…. When I was sworn into this house, I celebrated at a ceremony at a restaurant in Ocean Grove. Friends of mine that are gay own the restaurant, an I was very proud to have my reception there…. However, I hear some words being thrown about here today. Words like, ‘What are we afraid of?’ Words like ‘prejudice.’ Words like ‘primary elections.’ Well I take offense to those characterizations of people who may not agree with the proponents of this bill! … Guess what, folks — and guess what! To those proponents of this bill that I am unfortunately going to disagree with here today: Sometimes people just disagree with you…. Some people characterized opponents to this bill like ‘blind sheep’ following some kind of religious doctrine. I take offense to that too…. So for you, who are on the other side of this debate, to characterize those that aren’t supporting this bill as being afraid of political primaries, or prejudice, or being afraid of being wrong — that’s just unacceptable to me. I think it denigrates those on the other side of this debate. I’m going to be voting no.”

New Jersey state Senator Sean Kean who upset many in his district — a district that he admits has a high population of gay residents — with this condescending speech before voting against marriage equality for lesbians and gay men two weeks ago. He offensive tone and wording rubbed many the wrong way especially after setting himself up as a proud friend to the gays. He now says he’s sorry that people were put off by his speech, but claims he was trying to explain that it was difficult for him to reach his decision: that same-sex couples just don’t deserve to full equality today or the title of ”marriage.” The senate voted 20-14 against the ”Freedom of Religion and Equality in Marriage Act” on January 7. (via YouTube)

“I think his speech was what was really added insult to injury…. He seemed to be talking down to us… He speaks admiringly of the gay community, but apparently those feelings didn’t run deep enough that we were entitled to marriage equality.”

Thomas Mannix, a member of a group from Asbury Park in New Jersey who seek to kick out freshman state Senator Sean Kean. On January 7, Jersey legislators voted against the “Freedom of Religion and Equality in Marriage Act” that would have extended the rights of marriage to gay male and lesbian couples whose relationships remain unequal under the law in that state. Legislators in neighboring New York state also rejected a hard fought battle for same-sex marriage just weeks earlier. It is believed that this will be the last time gay marriage will have a legislative chance of passage because the vote remains divided and Governor John Corzine, who strongly favors marriage equality, is now being replaced by Chris Christie today. He is a Republican who is opposed to gay marriage. Within the last few years, New Jersey passed a domestic partnership law, and later enacted a court-ordered civil union law, however, the full benefits of marriage are still not obtainable by those relationship definitions specifically because they are not called “marriages.” (Asbury Park Press)

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