NJ’s Gay Marriage Story Not Yet Finished [AUDIO]
The Democrat-controlled state legislature will still have to do something it’s never successfully done before: override a Christie veto.
A same-sex marriage bill passed by lawmakers, but vetoed by the Republican governor, said religious groups could not be forced to perform wedding ceremonies for gay couples. It also said out-of-state marriages and civil unions of same-sex couples would be recognized by New Jersey.
Additionally, the measure safeguarded against a change in the makeup of the state Supreme Court that could lead to the high court overturning gay marriage.
“Now, once you have the Supreme Court that said what we were doing is illegal, it should make it easier to get votes instead of harder to get votes for an override,” said Senate President Stephen Sweeney. “This isn’t kind of like a cloudy issue. It’s pretty clear. So once the courts rule, it’s pretty hard not to support something that’s legal.”
The legislature has until Jan. 14 to override Christie’s veto. In order to be successful, they will need 27 votes in the Senate and 54 in the General Assembly. If every Democrat voted in favor of the override, three Republican senators would also have to support it, as would six GOP Assembly members.
“Although the governor strongly disagrees with the court substituting its judgment for the constitutional process of the elected branches or a vote of the people, the court has now spoken clearly as to their view of the New Jersey Constitution and, therefore, same-sex marriage is the law,” said Christie spokesman Michael Drewniak in a statement. “The governor will do his constitutional duty and ensure his administration enforces the law as dictated by the New Jersey Supreme Court.”
Not every same-sex marriage proponent agrees that an override is necessary. A lawyer for Lambda Legal says gay marriage is now legal, and nothing more needs to be done. However, the founder of Garden State Equality thinks a law is needed to clarify religious exemptions and other issues.
The head of New Jersey United for Marriage says groups are trying to sort out their next step, if one is necessary.