Sant'Egidio Hails New Jersey Death Penalty Vote

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ROME, DEC. 14, 2007 (Zenit.org).- The lay Catholic Community of Sant'Egidio asked the city of Rome to light up the Colosseum when New Jersey's governor signs into law a bill abolishing the death penalty in that state.

The community lauded the New Jersey Assembly's 44-36 vote today proposing to replace the death penalty with life imprisonment without parole. The vote followed on the heels of a similar decision from the state's Senate on Monday. Governor Jon Corzine is expected to sign the bill in the next few days, making New Jersey the first state legislature to abolish the death penalty in more than 40 years.

"This historic vote in New Jersey is the clearest signal yet that the American public is moving away from capital punishment," a statement from the Sant'Egidio Community said.

Mario Marazziti, spokesman of the community, called the vote "a crucial step that coincides with an international drive in the U.N. General Assembly for a worldwide moratorium on the death penalty. It sets a new standard of decency in the justice system, a system that must always protect and respect life under all circumstances."