Gov. Christie Says He’d Veto Same-Gender Marriage Bill, But Supports It Being Placed On Ballot


christieNew Jersey – A New Jersey Senate panel has approved a same-gender marriage bill the same day Gov. Chris Christie vowed to veto it.

The Democratic-controlled Senate Judiciary committee forwarded the bill to the full Senate in an 8-4 party-line vote.

Similar legislation failed in the Senate two years ago.

Christie told a town hall audience today that he would veto the bill if it reaches his desk. He says an issue of such magnitude should be decided by residents.

The Republican urged GOP lawmakers to draft a ballot question – a position he held during the 2009 gubernatorial campaign.

Senate President Stephen Sweeney, a Democrat who is sponsoring the bill, says civil rights issues like the right to marry are guaranteed under the state constitution and do not require a public vote.

Christie told a town hall audience in Bridgewater that an issue of such magnitude deserves to be voted on by residents, and he urged Republican lawmakers to support a constitutional amendment that would appear on a statewide ballot. The Democratic Senate president swiftly condemned that idea, saying civil rights issues should not be subject to a vote.

“This is a huge societal change … it needs a lot of consideration,” the first-term Republican governor said during the event at a Jewish community center. “There are very passionate people on both sides, so let’s have at it. Let them make their opinions known and I’ll make mine known.”

“Whether or not to redefine hundreds of years of societal and religious traditions should not be decided by 121 people in the Statehouse,” Christie added.

Christie’s statement, his most explicit on the issue, came as Democrats in the Senate were holding a hearing on same-gender marriage legislation. While campaigning for office, he said he thought voters should decide on any such major change in law.

During the Senate hearing, Senate President Stephen Sweeney said  same-gender  couples are being denied basic civil rights under the state’s civil union law. Sweeney was the first to testify on a bill he’s sponsoring to allow same-gender couples to marry.

A similar bill failed two years ago.

Sweeney, a South Jersey Democrat who didn’t vote last time, has had a change of heart and is now sponsoring the legislation.

“Civil rights is not to be placed on the ballot,” Sweeney said upon hearing Christie’s comments.

Sweeney said it’s time for New Jersey to join six other states and 10 countries that sanction same gender marriage.

Earlier, 127 professors from 48 law schools around the country signed a letter saying New Jersey’s civil union law cannot be fixed.

The professors, including New Jersey former Public Advocate Ron Chen, say the law granting  same gender  couples the benefits of marriage without the title will never be equal to the right to marry.

The letter was sent to Christie, a Catholic, and the Legislature.

{Huffington Post/ Newscenter}


  1. ‘“Civil rights is not to be placed on the ballot,” Sweeney said upon hearing’

    In other words who cares what the public holds.

    To Jerseryens,this coming year we have work to do .