New Jersey governor Chris Christie recently vetoed a bill allowing same-sex marriage in his state. The conservative governor is of the belief that voters should decide the issue through a ballot question.
According to The New York Times, Christie felt the bill was too significant to pass solely due to legislature support. “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.”
Many democrats feel that the rhetoric is a smokescreen. They claim that Chris Christie shot down the bill for political reasons. Many expect Christie to make a presidential run in the future. And it is conjectured the governor’s move intended to gain the allegiance of socially conservative voters.
Christie went on to say that the veto was not discriminatory. “I have been just as adamant that same-sex couples in a civil union deserve the very same rights and benefits enjoyed by married couples. Discrimination should not be tolerated and any complaint alleging a violation of a citizen’s right should be investigated and, if appropriate, remedied.”
But despite these words, the gay community cites, quite correctly, that Civil Unions are not the same as marriage. For instance, unlike married couples, civil-union members cannot authorize decisions for their partners in a medical emergency. As a result, seven gay couples and several of their children have sued New Jersey. Since then, the states own review commission has since found problems with the law.
Conservatives have long fought against the rights of homosexuals in order to appease religious voters. Gay marriage and the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell military policy are at the forefront of the national debate.
But neither Gay marriage nor DADT would personally affect religious voters in any way. Gay marriage bills offer an opt-out clause for churches and other Christian supported services. Under the clause, churches would not have a legal obligation to marry a couple, and could refuse to provide services. The clause was inserted into the bill in order to protect churches from discrimination lawsuits.
Reed Gusciora, a New Jersey lawmaker who sponsored the bill, said Christie’s decision was unfortunate. “For all those who oppose marriage equality,” he stated, “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 honor this truth.”
A recent voter poll revealed that 52% of New Jersey residents support gay marriage. 42% are against gay marriage. The remaining 6% is undecided on the issue.