N.J. Groups to Protest for Traditional Marriage

NEW YORK – A traditional marriage coalition that was formed last year and consists of several New Jersey organizations is meeting up again Saturday to hold a local marriage rally outside of a city hall.

The group – which is made up of the New Jersey Pastors Association, the Knights of Columbus, The New Jersey Family Policy Council and dozens of area churches and member organizations – will hold the event in Elizabeth, N.J., about 15 miles west of New York, to promote marriage as being only defined between one man and one woman.

The gathering is in response to recent activity by legislators to propose a new law that would make same-sex "marriage" legal in New Jersey.

"New Jersey legislators must hear from New Jerseyans to realize that the majority of New Jersey residents want to keep marriage between one man and one woman," explained a statement from the organizers. "A petition drive is in full force to petition the New Jersey legislature to protect marriage from radical redefinition."

Currently, New Jersey is one of four states that allow civil unions, a legal union of a same-sex couple that offer the same rights as marriage. Same-sex "marriage" advocates have been explaining how they have begun legislation to upgrade the civil union to a full "marriage" within two years. As of now, only Massachusetts grants full "marriage" to same-sex couples.

In response, the coalition for traditional marriage has come together to voice their opposing opinion to lawmakers.

At the rally, supporters can sign petitions that would begin legislation to solidify marriage as between one man and one woman. After the petitions are filled, they will be given to the state legislature in an attempt to show New Jersey's opinion on traditional marriage, according to the group.

"We are asking the legislature to 'Let the People Decide!'" said Len Deo, founder and president of the New Jersey Family Policy Council, in a statement. "In twenty eight states, when the people were given the chance to vote they clearly approved the historic, legal definition of marriage as the union of husband and wife, one man and one woman."

According to organizers, at least 1,000 people are expected to attend, and security has been ordered since they are expecting protests.

The event will include presentations by many members of the supporting organizations as well as from Assemblyman Michael J. Doherty (R-Washington). It will also have a concert, a balloon release, other promotions for the movement, and details of the New Jersey Statewide Official Clergy Petition drive that has been going on since last year.

"Preserving the definition of marriage is vital to preserving free speech, religious freedom and what children are taught in school," added the organizers' statement.