Activists, Politicians Urge Christie Not to Veto N.J. Marriage Equality Bill
The New Jersey Assembly on Thursday passed a bill that would recognize marriage for same-sex couples in a 42-33 vote. Although the state is one step closer to making marriage equality a reality, Gov. Chris Christie has vowed to veto the measure.
Politicians and activists alike were quick to react.
Freedom to Marry President Evan Wolfson: "Today's win in New Jersey is a joyous advance for committed gay and lesbian couples in the Garden State, for their families, and for the entire community. Sadly, Gov. Chris Christie has planted his feet on the wrong side of history, and the wrong side of the majority for marriage in New Jersey and nationwide. If the governor sticks with his threat of a veto, Freedom to Marry will work throughout the entire remainder of the legislative session, supporting local families, leaders, and advocates as they make the case and win the extra handful of votes needed to override the veto and do right by these families."
Lambda Legal executive director Kevin Cathcart: "Today New Jersey's General Assembly rose above the political fray and did right by New Jersey's families. Gov. Christie should follow their lead--but if he doesn't, legislators should continue to stand for equality and override his veto. Marriage equality in New Jersey is a matter of when--not if. New Jersey should choose to join the right side of history soon, because loving same-sex couples and their families should not have to wait any longer."
Assemblyman Reed Gusciora: "This is probably one of the highlights of my legislative tenure--no matter what the ultimate outcome may be. For those who oppose this measure, I realize that this is a difficult decision to make. It is a question that tests the fundamental protections of liberty founded in our federal and state constitutions. We rarely have to put safeguards in the law to protect the things we like."
Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver: "We know that denying rights and benefits to committed same-sex couples that are statutorily given to their heterosexual counterparts violates equal protection under the law. So let's end the pernicious practice of discrimination in civil marriage in New Jersey."
Marriage Equality USA Legal Director John Lewis: "We urge Gov. Christie to sign the bill. The freedom to marry for loving, committed couples should not be put up for a popular vote in New Jersey. As [Washington] Gov. [Chris] Gregoire said in her letter to Gov. Christie, 'Sometimes the majority doesn't always protect the minority. We were elected to make decisions.'"
New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn: "The New Jersey legislature today sent the clear message that bigotry has no place in the laws that govern us. I applaud the state Assembly's courage for supporting marriage equality, even in the face of opposition from Governor Chris Christie. I want to thank Garden State Equality and everyone who fought for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality in New Jersey."
PFLAG executive director Jody Huckaby: "We celebrate the historic vote by the New Jersey Legislature, both Senate and Assembly, to recognize marriage equality for all Americans. We hope that Gov. Christie will stand on the right side of history by signing this bill into law, following the strong lead of Gov. Gregoire in Washington. However, should he follow through on this veto, PFLAGers all over the state will continue to work tirelessly, in coalition with other marriage equality advocates, to secure full marriage rights for their LGBT loved ones."
Garden State Equality Chair Steven Goldstein: "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. 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. And if I get flooded with letters now from Charleston, so be it."
Log Cabin Republicans executive director R. Clark Cooper: "Log Cabin Republicans now call upon Gov. Chris Christie to ensure liberty for all New Jersey residents by allowing that bill to become law. Despite the governor's promised veto, New Jersey Republican lawmakers like Sens. Jennifer Beck and Diane Allen voted for the freedom to marry, representing the best conservative values."