A debate between New Jersey Senate Candidates Cory Booker (D) and Steve Lonegan (R) Wednesday shed new light on Lonegan’s anti-gay beliefs. In particular, he seemed oblivious to the notion that same-sex couples in New Jersey are already raising children.
Lonegan explained that he opposed marriage equality for the sake of the children, and he doesn’t want same-sex marriage forced “down the throats” of churches that oppose it:
LONEGAN: Marriage between a man and a woman is the greatest institution ever devised by the minds of man to raise a child and that’s what this is about. It’s about children… I do not want other groups forcing their new value system down the throats of my Catholic Church, evangelical church, protestant churches, and overriding our institutional religious beliefs.
When the moderator Jim Rosenfield confronted Lonegan about same-sex parenting, he said he believes that would be a “biological phenomenon,” then clarifying that he has “mixed feelings” about the matter:
ROSENFIELD: You said this is about children. So are you saying same-sex couples should not be allowed to have children?
LONEGAN: That would be a biological phenomenon.
ROSENFIELD: There is adoption. There is artificial insemination. […]
LONEGAN: I have a question about how healthy that will be in the long run for those children, and I have mixed feelings about that. I will admit I have mixed feelings about that.
During his answer, Booker said that it’s a fundamental principle that all citizens should be treated equally under the law. Watch the full exchange (beginning at 19:56):
The Williams Institute estimates that, based on the 2010 Census, there are over 3,000 same-sex families in New Jersey.
In August, Lonegan suggested that Booker gets manicures and pedicures because “maybe that helps him get the gay vote.” In contrast, Lonegan explained, “As a guy, I personally like being a guy… I have a more peculiar fetish: I like a good Scotch and a cigar.” Booker countered that it shouldn’t matter if he’s gay, adding, “I hope you are not voting for me because you are making the presumption that I’m straight.”
A poll released Wednesday shows Booker with a 12-point lead (53-44) over Lonegan. A similar poll released Tuesday showed Booker up 45-29 over Lonegan, and also found that nearly two-thirds of New Jersey voters oppose Gov. Chris Christie’s continued effort to fight marriage equality in court.