Briefly noted

February 9, 2010

The New Jersey state senate has voted down a bill to legalize same-sex marriage, prompting a promise from gay-rights advocates to take their campaign to the courts. The final tally on January 7 was 20–14 with three abstentions. It reflected a dramatic shift in the state’s political landscape since gay-marriage supporter Gov. Jon Corzine lost his bid for reelection to Republican Chris Christie in November. Christie came out strongly against the bill, emboldening opponents of same-sex marriage and drawing undecided senators to the Republican fold. He has also said he would veto a same-sex marriage bill if it ever reached his desk. Steven Goldstein, who led the push for gay marriage as chairman of the gay-rights group Garden State Equality, said he and other advocates would move swiftly to force the issue in the courts.

Roman Catholic priests accused of sexual abuse in Ireland were for decades re-assigned to positions in the U.S., according to a church reform group with a new database of names. Bishop-Accountability.org, which documents allegations of abuse, released on December 28 the names of 70 accused Irish priests who at some point served in the U.S. Many on the list (see Bishop-Accountability.org/irish_priests_in_us) are said to have died or no longer serve in the priesthood. The database of accused Irish priests is likely not comprehensive and may not include any priests currently serving. But codirector Anne Barrett Doyle called on all U.S. bishops to release names of priests accused in Ireland, where an unfolding clergy sexual abuse crisis has led four bishops to resign.