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NJ Sen. Sweeney Says Gay Marriage Will Pass, Expects Christie to Veto

Friday, February 10, 2012

Despite a veto threat from Governor Chris Christie, New Jersey Senate President Stephen Sweeney says the legislature is poised to pass a bill that would legalize same-sex marriage in the Garden State.

The State Senate, which voted against legalization two years ago, will be first to take up the bill early next week. Senator Sweeney, a Democrat, was among those voting against the bill in 2010, a decision he now calls "wrong" and "a political calculation."

Appearing on the Brian Lehrer Show this morning, the Sweeney said he's come around to supporting same-sex marriage, and his chamber has the votes to pass it. "It is absolutely going to pass on Monday, and I expect it to pass the Assembly on Thursday, and it's going to go to the governor's desk."

Governor Christie has called for a state-wide referendum on the issue instead, and this week Republican Senator Kip Bateman introduced legislation to put it on the ballot. Sweeney says the Democrats wouldn't support a referendum.

"You don't put civil rights on the ballot," Sweeney told Brian Lehrer. "When you put it on the ballot, the majority will always deny the minority."

If and when Christie vetoes the same-sex marriage bill, it would require a two-thirds majority vote in both the Assembly and the Senate to override. While Sweeney is confident that the legislation will pass next week, he said he does not have the two-thirds majority necessary to counter a Christie veto.

But a defeat this year wouldn't keep him from trying again to legalize same-sex marriage again during the rest of his term.

"If the governor vetoes the bill, we're gonna fight to override the governor," Sweeney said. "I have two years to do it almost, so that gives us plenty of time to work on people."

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Comments [2]

David in Houston from Houston, TX

The most hypocritical position of Gov. Christie is his assertion that 100+ people shouldn't be making such an important decision. Yet, only ONE person is planning on vetoing it.

The reality is, if interracial marriage had been put up to a vote, it would have taken an additional 24 years for it to become legalized. TWENTY FOUR YEARS. This is what happens when you let the whims (biases and bigotry) of the public make decisions regarding the civil rights of disfavored minorities. I challenge those supporting this referendum to name a time in history when the public (and not the legislature or courts) actually granted civll rights to blacks or women?

At one time in U.S. history, 30 states had bans on interracial marriage. Sound familiar? During that time, 94% of the public supported bans on race-mixing. When the Supreme Court forced interracial marriage on the entire country, 72% still disapproved of it. So based on Gov. Christie's ideology, the "will of the people" should have been respected back then, even if the "majority" was supporting discriminatory unconstitutional laws. Even in 2012, I have no doubt that if you put interracial marriage to a popular vote in some of the southern states, those bans would be enforced yet again.

Feb. 11 2012 03:36 PM
Nigel Townshend-Throckswarthington from Wentsworth Village, U.K.

All Christie has to worry about is stuffing more food into his fat gob. What does he care what other people want to do with their lives?! What right does he have to put it to a referendum?! What right does anyone have to judge?!
This makes me sick. Bloody hell!

Feb. 10 2012 04:25 PM

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