Last year, despite the New Jersey Supreme Court ruling demanding the state remedy the inequality of civil unions, Republican Governor Chris Christie vetoed a same-sex marriage bill that passed the legislature and cane to his desk. Fortunately, the legislature still has time to override the Governor’s veto. The state senate is just three votes away from making the Garden State the fifteenth state in the Union (if you include Washington, D.C.) to extend marriage to same-sex couples. The Assembly is just 15 votes away.
UPDATE 3:45 PM EDT:
TJ Helmstetter tells The New Civil Rights Movement via phone and email today, “We need 10 more votes in the Assembly, not 15. (15 is the total number of legislators we need to add to the 2012 roll call to hit 2/3rd majority in both houses — 12 in the assembly and 3 in the Senate.) As of the 2012 vote, we had 42 of the 54 we need in the Assembly to override the Governor’s veto. Since then, pro-equality Asw Gabby Mosquera has been seated in the legislature and Asm Declan O’Scanlon, who was absent from the vote, has clarified that he would vote yes.”
Unfortunately, those votes are going to have to come from Republicans.
“State Democratic lawmakers on Tuesday sought to put Gov. Chris Christie on the defensive for his opposition to same-sex marriage, saying he is standing in the way of history after last week’s Supreme Court decisions acknowledging the equal rights of gays and lesbians,” the New York Times reports:
Democrats need three more votes to override Mr. Christie’s veto, which means they need cooperation from Republican lawmakers. But several Republicans have said privately that while they support same-sex marriage, they fear voting against the governor, who is famous for enforcing party discipline.
The Democrats urged the governor to release his fellow Republicans to vote according to their consciences.
“One man in New Jersey stands in the way of marriage equality,” said State Senator Barbara Buono, a Democrat who is challenging Mr. Christie in the governor’s race in November.
The governor called the Supreme Court’s ruling against the Defense of Marriage Act “insulting,” accusing the court of trying to legislate from the bench.
“Insulting to whom, governor?” asked Ms. Buono, who has a gay daughter. “I’ll tell you what I think is insulting, is that you’re denigrating and demeaning and marginalizing our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters.”
She added, “The time is now, the time is now for this governor to step out of the way of progress.”
Mr. Christie, who is often discussed as a Republican presidential contender in 2016, has proved adept at finding a middle ground between his state’s more liberal voters and his party’s conservative wing.
Meanwhile, the new head of Garden State Equality is feeling very confident.
“When I took this job six months ago, I declared that this year New Jersey would have marriage equality,” Troy Stevenson Garden State Equality’s executive director said last week. “People scoffed, they laughed, and they said no. I’m going to stand before you today and say whether it’s through litigation or legislation, I promise you with no reservation that New Jersey will have marriage equality before the end of this year.”
Image by Garden State Equality via Facebook
We invite you to sign up for our new mailing list, and subscribe to The New Civil Rights Movement via email or RSS.