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You're Either For It Or Against It

The committee hearings (the bill narrowly cleared the Judiciary Committee) were extraordinary: about nine hours of moving testimony from clergy members, families and activists in favor of equality, countered by a pathetic array of religious crackpots who embarrassed even committed opponents of the bill (example: the moron who dropped a bag of hardware -- nuts and bolts -- on the witness table and lamely tried to make the case for the biological correctness of heterosexuality). Even the committee chairman, who voted against the bill, could be seen laughing at the anti-equality witnesses.

In the end, four of the five Republicans who were on the fence, and about an equal number of equivocating Democrats, voted "no" or abstained. They never intended to vote for the bill but seemed to have a dim sense of shame about it. They consistently hid behind procedure, grasped at straws for a reason to take a pass on the bill, always wanted to have it both ways. My guess is that Susan Collins is playing the same game.

What we learned in New Jersey was, simply, that you are either for or against civil rights. It's that simple. If you need to stop and think about it, you probably don't get it.

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David Kurtz is Managing Editor and Washington Bureau Chief of Talking Points Memo where he oversees the news operations of TPM and its sister sites.