Saturday, December 09, 2006

Steve Lonegan gets bitch slapped

This week's debate gay marriage v. civil unions debate in New Jersey sure 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.

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."

Oh I could say so many things about Lonegan's ridiculous statements, but I'm just here to report.

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."

I give Goldstein a B for effort but a C- for content. He came out with his guns blazing but chose nasty rhetoric over a substantive response. The opportunity to really call this guy to task for his statement was there, but the execution was muddled by talking points and hyperbole.

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."
Oh snap! Damn, Nate, let's not pull and punches man. A little on the nasty side, Steve Lonegan just got the put-up-or-shut-up from Nathan Rudy. My guess is that Lonegan won't do either.

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