New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie vetoed a bill legalizing marriage equality in the Garden State just one day after it cleared the Legislature. The Republican governor returned the bill to the lawmakers, adding he wants voters to decide on the issue. Legislators have until January 2014 to come up with enough votes to override his veto.
A two-thirds vote in both chambers is required to override the veto and can be attempted as many times as necessary. The House would need 13 more votes and the Senate just three.
A representative from Garden State Equality called Christie’s move political pandering and said he believes that the governor is more concerned about reelection and the most conservative members of his party than he is about equality.
“The governor keeps calling for a referendum, which everyone knows will never happen in New Jersey. To borrow the governor’s words, it’s time for him to stop engaging in political theater,” said Steven Goldstein in a statement. “Our lives are not La Cage Aux Folles: LGBT people fall in love, raise families, often children whom the rest of society shuns, and pay taxes in what is still one of the most heavily taxed states in the country. Our governor knows our contributions to society. 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.”
Democrats who have pushed for the bill to pass said they are disappointed but not surprised by the governor’s action. Christie argued that lawmakers are attempting to do what the people of New Jersey need to do in legalizing gay unions.
“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,” Christie said in a statement. “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.”