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Topics In the News
 
Christie Vetoes New Jersey Marriage Equality Bill
Posted by: Claude J. Summers on 02/17/12
Last updated on: 02/17/12
 
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Assembly Speaker Sheila Y. Oliver is one of many Democratic legislators to condemn the governor's veto.

On February 17, 2012, one day after its passage, Governor Chris Christie vetoed New Jersey's marriage equality bill. In his veto message, Christie again called for a referendum on whether to change the definition of marriage in New Jersey and proposed creating an ombudsman to oversee compliance with the state's civil union law, which a state commission determined in 2010 as not affording equal rights to same-sex couples.

According to the Associated Press, Christie said, "I am adhering to what I've said since this bill was first introduced--an issue of this magnitude and importance, which requires a constitutional amendment, should be left to the people of New Jersey to decide."

"I have been just as adamant that same-sex couples in a civil union deserve the very same rights and benefits enjoyed by married couples--as well as the strict enforcement of those rights and benefits," the statement continued. "Discrimination should not be tolerated and any complaint alleging a violation of a citizen's right should be investigated and, if appropriate, remedied. To that end, I include in my conditional veto the creation of a strong Ombudsman for Civil Unions to carry on New Jersey's strong tradition of tolerance and fairness."

Legislators who supported marriage equality were not surprised by Christie's veto, but were nevertheless disappointed.

"It's unfortunate that the governor would let his own personal ideology infringe on the rights of thousands of New Jerseyans," said Reed Gusciora, one of two openly gay New Jersey lawmakers and a sponsor of the bill. "For all those who oppose marriage equality, their lives would have been completely unchanged by this bill, but for same-sex couples, their lives would have been radically transformed. Unfortunately, the governor couldn't see past his own personal ambitions to honor this truth."

Senate President Steve Sweeney remarked, "He had a chance to do the right thing, and failed miserably."

Democratic Assembly members issued a video in which they condemn the Governor's veto.

New Jersey Assembly Democratic Response to Gov. Christie's Veto of Marriage Equality Legislation (A-1) from NJ Assembly Democratic Office on Vimeo.

Even before the veto, Garden State Equality's Steven Goldstein issued a statement in which he said that while Governor Christie was not homophobic personally, his "veto will be a brutally anti-gay act, pure and simple."

"Our Governor knows our contributions to society," Goldstein continued. "He won't veto the bill because he's anti-gay. He'll veto the bill because the 2016 South Carolina Republican Presidential primary electorate is anti-gay."

Goldstein and the Democratic legislators pledged to work to override the veto.

Christie's veto message may be found here: S-1-CV.pdf.

 
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