This is a name to remember: Nia H. Gill. The Democratic New Jersey senator represents Essex County and is the sole black member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Gill is a strong LGBT rights ally and her speech last night supporting marriage equality was one of the most poignant. The marriage bill passed committee 7-6 and now heads to the Senate for a Thursday vote.
Said Sen. Gill on the "historical" nature of marriage and equality: "If you look at the Constitution and look at its intent, the Constitution never intended for African-Americans to be full citizens. I'm voting for marriage equality because I believe in the Constitution."
Gill is urging her colleagues to support the bill even if it does not have enough votes for final passage: "Sometimes you need to put a bill up in order to understand not only the opposition but so the opposition can understand you, and in fact you may be able to persuade."
On a personal level, it's very moving to see so many black legislators in New Jersey, just like in New York, take the lead in fighting for equality. Too bad they're not getting nearly enough credit.
Watch Gill's moving testimony after 1:10 AFTER THE JUMP. The audio of the entire speech has been posted to YouTube and you can watch/listen to that as well.