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N.J. advocates plan for vote to override Christie’s same-sex marriage veto

Monday, September 23, 2013

TRENTON, N.J. — For same-sex couples waiting to marry in New Jersey, the Legislature’s most important vote will come after the November election.

The lame-duck session is when Democratic leaders have promised to try to override Gov. Chris Christie’s marriage equality veto.

New Jersey marriage

Mel Evans, AP
Marriage equality supporters gather at a launch rally in July for New Jersey United for Marriage.

National advocacy groups like the American Unity Fund that have had success in states like Minnesota, where the legislature approved same-sex marriage this year, are already working to convince targeted legislators to vote yes.

A state campaign entitled New Jersey United for Marriage is now active, for the purpose of winning marriage equality before the legislative session ends in January, said the group’s spokesman Chris Donnelly.

Conservative groups such as the National Organization for Marriage are honing their own appeal to keep New Jersey from joining 13 other states where gay and lesbian couples are allowed to wed.

The veto override requires 27 votes in the Senate and 54 in the Assembly. That’s three additional votes in the Senate and 12 in the Assembly than when it passed last year.

Republican leaders say legislators in their party will be free to vote how they want, without pressure from the governor.

Two Republicans in the Assembly who did not vote on the bill last year, Declan O’Scanlon of Red Bank and Holly Schepisi of Westwood, say they will vote to override Christie’s veto. Schepisi said she was swayed by the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act.

“The narrative that the governor strong-arms Republicans in the Legislature is false,” O’Scanlon said after making his choice known last week. “I think you’ll see some other folks vote for it, but I don’t know exactly how many at this point. We’re some time away from that vote actually happening.”

Christie, a Catholic and potential contender for the 2016 presidential nomination, opposes same-sex marriage. But he supports the state’s civil union law, which gives gay and lesbian couples the benefits of marriage without the title.

He called for the question to be put to voters in a ballot referendum, but most Democrats rejected the idea. In their view, a civil rights issue such as gay marriage does not belong on the ballot.

Several same-sex couples are pursuing a parallel track in court.

Lawyers for gay couples and New Jersey’s government laid out their cases to a judge in August on whether she should order the state to legalize same-sex marriage in light of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling on the matter.

Six couples and several of their children sued in 2011, saying civil unions fall short of marriage. That case is months from going to trial.

In June, the couples asked the court to make a judgment after the Supreme Court ruling invalidated key parts of the Defense of Marriage Act, which had banned the federal government from recognizing gay marriage.

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20 more reader comments:

  1. Ample time for people to clean house . . . and vote for people who are going to do the right thing.

    Posted on Monday, September 23, 2013 at 6:59pm
  2. meanwhile lonely hurting deceived LGBT slipped quietly into an eternal burning lake of fire lost forever…….

    Posted on Monday, September 23, 2013 at 7:07pm
  3. No, that is reserved exclusively for hateful bigots such as yourself. Try walking the walk of your so called savior for once instead of just talking the talk of your equally hateful and bigoted preacher.

    Replied on Monday, September 23, 2013 at 7:57pm

    Replied on Monday, September 23, 2013 at 8:13pm
  5. I can assure you that this is not the case.

    Replied on Tuesday, September 24, 2013 at 7:07pm
  6. Bring Krispie Kreme and a giant fan and blow it towards the NJ Statehouse he might actually come out to make a statement….

    Posted on Monday, September 23, 2013 at 7:07pm
  7. Mark PowersofHolyspirit Terry if we burn its our lives and our soul? So how does gay marriage affect you it doesn’t! !! Keep your religion and hate to yourself!!

    Posted on Monday, September 23, 2013 at 7:25pm
  8. By thinking LGBT humans are abnormal, sinful and wrong you are criticizing and opposing Jesus Christ!

    Posted on Monday, September 23, 2013 at 7:35pm
  9. Men who are afraid that their masculinity is being questioned!

    Posted on Monday, September 23, 2013 at 7:41pm
  10. think they tried it and didn't like it

    Replied on Tuesday, September 24, 2013 at 5:51pm
  11. Who cares??

    Replied on Tuesday, September 24, 2013 at 7:36pm
  12. My husband and I were joined in a civil union in NJ in 2008. Despite what the article states above, we DO NOT have the same benefits afforded to couples who are legally married, be they same or opposite sex. We do not have the right to claim each other on our taxes, or to inheritance or to adopt children as a family if we so choose. Luckliy I work for a company that does provide domestic partner benefits, but even there we had to wait for a full year and prove that we were inhabiting the same household and had joint financial obligations to obtain those. A veto override by the NJ legislature would open the door for us to join the legally married in the US…

    Posted on Monday, September 23, 2013 at 8:02pm
  13. oh Christy…are ya jealous of the handsome and in-shape gay guys?…jus askin’……I SMELL A HUGE RAT….

    Posted on Monday, September 23, 2013 at 8:17pm
  14. Stupid fat jokes aren’t necessary. That said, Christie should listen to the new pope.

    Posted on Monday, September 23, 2013 at 8:20pm
  15. Go NJ…we are finally doing the right thing, we are stronger than the opponents of equality in our state!

    Posted on Monday, September 23, 2013 at 8:40pm
  16. Ashamed of the politics in NJ. The vote is held off until after Christie’s election so he can not be tainted by this.

    Posted on Monday, September 23, 2013 at 10:57pm
  17. There is way too much fucking drama in this world im so fucking sick of it. Live and let live and shut the fuck up.

    Posted on Monday, September 23, 2013 at 11:16pm
  18. Stomp Christie’s supposedly Chrisitian values!

    Posted on Tuesday, September 24, 2013 at 12:43am
  19. The whole argument against is just stupid and is purely personal opinion based upon false presumptions and a few sentences in a book with no legal merit in the 21st century. Whether partners of the same gender/identity or opposite gender/identity marry effects you as much as it effects you when I go to the library, mail a package, drive down the road, ride the train, visit a local park or get a glass of water from the tap. It effects you none.

    Posted on Tuesday, September 24, 2013 at 3:38am
  20. goodluck with that…

    Posted on Tuesday, September 24, 2013 at 4:56pm