Gov. Chris Christie has followed through on his promise to reject a bill allowing gay marriage in the US state New Jersey by quickly vetoing the measure Friday.
The state Senate had passed the bill on Monday. The governor, a Republican who opposes same-sex marriage, rejected it the day after. Christie, had vowed “very swift action” once the bill reached his desk, writes СBC News.
When returning the bill to the Legislature, Christie insisted that voters should decide whether to change the definition of marriage in New Jersey.
The governor also suggested creating an ombudsman to oversee compliance with the state’s civil union law, which same-sex couples have said is flawed.
“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.”
He kept on explaining his decision: “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,” he added.
Democrats who supported the bill said and pushed it pushed forward, were disappointed but not surprised by his veto.
“It’s unfortunate that the governor would let his own personal ideology infringe on the rights of thousands of New Jerseyans,” said Reed Gusciora, 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 honour this truth.”
Senate President Steve Sweeney was more polite when criticizing of the governor. “He had a chance to do the right thing, and failed miserably,” Sweeney said.
Advocates of the bill claim that a same-sex marriage is a civil right being denied to gay couples, meanwhile others stated a marriage as a heterosexual institution which should not be expanded.
“Civil unions have already proven to be a failure and no ombudsman can change that,” Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg said.
“Don’t be fooled by the governor’s call for a public referendum or his idea of an ombudsman for civil unions – it is nothing more than a political smoke screen designed to cover the tracks of those retreating from their leadership and lawmaking responsibilities.”
Steven Goldstein, chairman of the state’s largest gay rights group, Garden State Equality, suggested that Christie’s national political ambitions made the governor to veto.
“He won’t veto the bill because he’s anti-gay,” Goldstein said in a statement. “He’ll veto the bill because the 2016 South Carolina presidential primary electorate is anti-gay.”
Goldstein, who is reported t have warm relationship with the governor, promised to continue fighting him vigorously on the issue. According to The Huffington Post he said: “And we will win, so help me God.”