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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, January 27, 2012 - Volume 40 Issue 04
Chris Christie vows to veto marriage equality
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Chris Christie vows to veto marriage equality

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie promised on January 24 to veto his state's marriage equality law if and when it comes to his desk.

The bill is currently pending in the New Jersey legislature.

'I think it's the institution of marriage and it's bigger than just a word; it's hundreds of years of tradition both legally and societally and religiously, and that's what I stand up in protecting,' Christie said.

Instead of passing the bill through the legislature, Christie told a town hall meeting in Bridgewater, the issue should be put before New Jersey voters.

'I think this is not an issue that should rest solely in my hands, or the hands of the Senate president or the speaker or the other 118 members of the Legislature,' he said. 'Let's let the people of New Jersey decided what is right for the state.'

'I would hope the Legislature would be willing to trust the people the way I'm willing to trust the people,' Christie added.

At a New Jersey Senate hearing being held at the same time as the governor's town hall, Senate President Stephen Sweeney - who is committed to passing marriage equality - rejected Christie's proposal.

'Civil rights don't go on the ballot,' Sweeney said.

The measure's primary sponsor in the Senate, Democratic Senator Raymond Lesniak, said that marriage equality is 'a right that's guaranteed by the Constitution. It's up to us to implement it as legislators.'

A marriage bill was defeated in the New Jersey Senate two years ago on a 20-14 vote, when some Democrats defected to the anti-equality side. At that time, Sweeney abstained, helping to defeat the bill.

This year, he says, he realizes that marriage equality is a civil rights issue and not a religious issue. He says he has the votes to pass the measure and to override Christie's veto if necessary.

Speaking at a press conference in Trenton on January 25, Christie said that marriage equality supporters do not have the votes to override his veto, so they should agree to his idea of a referendum.

'We all know how this movie is going to end,' Christie said. 'If they pass the bill, and they know this, it's going to be vetoed. If they attempt to override that, the veto will be sustained. And they know that, so I'm trying to give them an alternate movie.'

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