Trenton, NJ (APP) -- The New Jersey Senate could have an override vote on Gov. Chris
Christie's veto of a marriage equality bill as early as Thursday, the Asbury Park Press has learned.
President Stephen Sweeney has long indicated a preference to attaining a
marriage equality law through the legislative process rather than
through a referendum and is being urged by members of his caucus to
trigger a vote immediately.
Barbara Buono, the Democratic nominee against Christie in this year's
gubernatorial contest, said she has urged Sweeney to add an override
attempt to the upper-house's Thursday voting agenda.
said several senators who voted with Christie on the issue in the past
have indicated that they would change their votes if the Supreme Court
struck down parts of the Defense of Marriage Act, which is what occurred
Buono said she believes the required two-thirds of the 40 senators will vote for the override.
"I wouldn't ask (Sweeney) to post it unless I believed that,'' Buono said.
Sweeney spokesman Chris Donnelly said no decisions have been made about posting the bill.
"We are talking with all interested parties,'' he said.
Other Democratic legislators and advocates in New Jersey said the time is ripe to legalize same-sex marriage in the state.
But not all agree on how to make that happen.
Reed Gusciora, a Mercer County Democrat and one of two openly gay
legislators in New Jersey, said in a statement that there are two
avenues: Christie could reverse his stance and approve a bill allowing
same-sex marriage or the Legislature could place a constitutional
amendment before voters and allow them to decide.
New Jersey is still only one of two states in the Northeast without
same-sex marriage, this landmark decision by the Supreme Court
recognizes the rights and privileges of all loving, committed couples
who currently have marriage licenses," Gusciora said. "Hopefully this
decision will provide greater traction for New Jersey in acquiring the
Although 59 percent of New Jerseyans polled in a recent
Rutgers-Eagleton survey said they would vote to legalize same-sex
marriage, the Democratic leadership in the Legislature has remained firm
on not placing the matter before voters. Instead, they have sought
either a change of heart from Christie or an override of his veto.
Sen. Raymond Lesniak, D-Union, is one of the legislators who has been
most vocal on not placing the matter before voters, arguing that
same-sex marriage is a civil right that is best dealt with by the
Legislature or the courts. He placed his bet on the courts today.
DOMA ruling means that the New Jersey Supreme Court will soon allow gay
marriage in the state," Lesniak said in a statement. "The U. S. Supreme
Court's decision automatically makes New Jersey's Domestic Partnership
Law invalid because domestic partnerships will not provide the same
rights and protections as marriage under federal law."
Sweeney, D-Gloucester, said the state needs to embrace same-sex marriage.
is time to finally establish marriage equality here in New Jersey and
for those who have worked to obstruct true equality to get out of the
way," Sweeney said in a joint statement with Senate Majority Leader
Loretta Weinberg, D-Bergen.
Assembly Speaker Sheila Y. Oliver, D-Essex, tossed the ball in the Republicans' court.
would hope that this decision will make Gov. Christie and Republican
members of our Legislature take a circumspect look at the many ways in
which their denial of support has allowed discrimination to continue to
flourish in our state and recognize that it's not too late to change
this," Oliver said in a statement.
state Republicans, so far, have remained silent on the ruling, except
for one of the GOP's candidates for a U.S. Senate seat.
I believe government should not be in the business of marriage, it is
not the Supreme Court's responsibility to make that decision," said
Steve Lonegan, a former mayor of Bogota. "Laws should be made by
legislatures, not by unelected judges. To do so is a usurpation of our
democratic tradition at the heart of this country's founding."
Christie was asked about the ruling at an appearance in Bayonne, but did not comment, according to a radio clip from WNYC.