Chris Christie vetoes gay marriage bill
Just hours after the measure landed on his desk, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie on Friday vetoed a bill legalizing gay marriage.
Christie, a Republican, wrote in his veto message that he favors a statewide voter referendum on the issue.
“Today, 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,” he wrote, according to the letter posted by the Asbury Park Press.
“I continue to encourage the Legislature to trust the people of New Jersey and seek their input by allowing our citizens to vote on a question that represents a profoundly significant societal change. This is the only path to amend our State Constitution and the best way to resolve the issue of same-sex marriage in our state,” the governor added.
On Thursday, the New Jersey state Assembly voted 42-33 in favor of a bill recognizing same-sex marriage. The state Senate had passed a similar measure Monday, 24-16.
The legislature has until January 2014 to muster enough votes for an override.
In Washington state on Monday, Gov. Christine Gregoire signed a measure making the state the seventh in the nation, along with the District of Columbia, to allow same-sex marriage. The other states are New York, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Iowa, Connecticut, Vermont.
The Washington law will take effect on June 7.
Earlier on Friday, Log Cabin Republicans — a gay and lesbian Republican group — called upon Christie not to veto the same-sex marriage bill passed by the state Legislature.
“New Jersey’s elected lawmakers have engaged in a long and respectful debate, and with bipartisan support have voted in favor of the freedom to marry. Log Cabin Republicans now call upon Governor Chris Christie to ensure liberty for all New Jersey residents by allowing that bill to become law,” said R. Clarke Cooper, Log Cabin Republicans Executive Director, in a statement.
“The Legislature has done its job in Trenton. Governor Christie, be the leader Republicans know you to be. Choose to be on the right side of history. Please sign this bill,” he continued.
Log Cabin Deputy Executive Director Christian Berle told POLITICO that despite his forthcoming veto, Christie has a generally good track record on gay rights
“We call for him to support this bipartisan piece of legislation. Gov. Christie has had a forward-leaning approach to many issues — he’s a full supporter of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, civil unions, and he appointed an openly gay justice to the state Supreme Court,” Berle said. “With that track record, the logical step would be to support the freedom to marry in the Garden State.”