NJ Governor Chris Christie Vetoes Marriage Equality Bill

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has vetoed a marriage equality bill passed by both houses of the legislature, the AP reports:

ChristieThe Republican governor returned the bill to the Legislature, saying he wants voters to decide whether New Jersey changes the definition of marriage. Democratic lawmakers say it's a civil rights issue that shouldn't be put up for a public vote. Lawmakers have until the end of the January 2014 legislative session to override the veto.

Read the veto document HERE.

Christie said in his veto that he would be creating an Ombudsman to enforce civil unions in the state:

"I include in my conditional veto the creation of a strong Ombudsman for Civil Unions to carry on New Jersey’s strong tradition of tolerance and fairness. The Ombudsman will be charged with increasing awareness of the law regarding civil unions, will provide a clear point of contact for those who have questions or concerns and will be required to report any evidence of the law being violated."

Christie promised earlier this week to take "swift action" to veto the bill if it reached his desk.

A two-thirds vote in each chamber is necessary to override Christie's veto, and can be attempted as many times as necessary until January 2014. A veto override in the House would require 12 more votes, and 3 more votes in the Senate.

GoldsteinGarden State Equality's Steven Goldstein released a statement earlier today, which read, in part:

Frankly, I don’t think Chris Christie has an anti-gay bone in his body, however much I cannot say the same about his impending veto.  His veto will be a brutally anti-gay act, pure and simple.

The Governor keeps calling for a referendum, which everyone knows will never happen in New Jersey.  To borrow the Governor’s words, it’s time for him to stop engaging in political theater.  Our lives are not La Cage Aux Folles:  LGBT people fall in love, raise families, often children whom the rest of society shuns, and pay taxes in what is still one of the most heavily taxed states in the country.

Our Governor knows our contributions to society.  He won’t veto the bill because he’s anti-gay.  He’ll veto the bill because the 2016 South Carolina Republican Presidential primary electorate is anti-gay.  And if I get flooded with letters now from Charleston, so be it.

And that’s what hurts so badly.   I like this Governor and am able to see him beyond the headlines.  When you are rejected by someone you want so badly to love you unconditionally – my own parents have taught me what that’s like – the pain is searing.  Rick Santorum I can live with.  Gerry Cardinale I can live with, too.  But Chris Christie’s rejection?  That hurts.

Governor, rest assured that even though I came of political age in an era where political adversaries could be friends – and if you’re game, we’ll continue that good relationship – Garden State Equality and I will continue to fight you on marriage equality with every bone in our bodies.  You would expect no less.

For us, this is not about politics.  This is about our fundamental American right to conduct our lives with a full life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  Equality.

And until we achieve it, we will fight with our every last breath.  And we will win, so help me God.


  1. Frank OFile says

    The statement that Christie “doesn’t have an anti-gay bone in his body” is disingenuous, to say the least. His actions speak for themselves over the last weeks, from his characterization of his opponents to his selling out gay people to cover his ass if he wants to run for office. You don’t slap people in the face and then tell them you’re on their side. Shameful.

  2. jaragon says

    Christie is an interesting character ( and yes I do live in NJ) He had to veto the bill as longs as he is a potential GOP vice presidential candidate. Perhaps once the election is over he moight change his mind- of course he is never getting the gay vote

  3. KP says

    He doesn’t have an anti-gay bone in his body but doesn’t mind stepping all over our rights for his political career. Get real. I imagine when Steve Goldstein tells Christie how hurt he is over this, Christie will pretend to care for half a second and then move on with his life.

  4. yonquersconquers says

    Hang this lika an albatross around his neck. Let him be hooted and jeered where ever he shows his face. Chris Christie (the redundantly named) is a man who puts politics before principal. He stands in the way of love and life to do it.

  5. willbnyc says

    Just called his office – wisely, he dropped this bomb at 5.30 on a Friday, when calls are transferred to voicemail.
    I don’t even live in NJ and I will spend what I can to try to get him unseated in the next term. This is bigotry plain and simple.
    And for the Garden State Equality guy – yes, Christie has an anti-gay bone or two in his body. Enough with the political BS – he just entered the history books as the Bull Connor of Trenton.

  6. Taylor says

    He will ALWAYS be on the wrong side of history, with this veto. It is now a part of his legacy.

    Congratulations, Chris. If you do get the VP nod, this veto will still be a stain on your record. Well done! Coward.

  7. Rick says

    Goldstein is correct. This is simply about the political reality of the situation. Christie wants to be President and if he signed this bill, he could forget ever getting the nomination of his party, given its current demographic at the national level. It is unrealistic to think that he would give up his dream for the sake of signing a bill that he knows perfectly well will eventually become law, one way or another.

  8. Joseph says

    So fat-boy Christie, acting cowardly, mistakenly thinks this veto will endear him to evangelicals & their ilk in 2016? Given his health problem, he may not make it that far.

  9. Gregoire says

    This has stained his record, permanently — not only defying the wishes of the legislature, but slapping progress in the face.

    He will now NEVER be the president of the United States. By 2016, marriage equality will be in over half the U.S. states. He is an absolute bellyflop of a fool.

  10. Contrarian says

    Unless I’m misreading Mr. Goldstein’s statement, he wants and needs Christie’s unconditional love. Am I the only one who had a creepy WTF moment after reading that? The LBGT community needs a fighter and they get a needy male version of Oprah. The most charitable thing I can say about Mr. Goldstein is that he is trying to keep lines of communication open but for pete’s sake that’s a two way street Mr.G.

  11. says

    Can we get over the crap of “love the sinner, hate the sin”……as in, “we can be friends while you deprive us of our rights”.

    Our rights are not some chip that can be cashed in by the tokenism of a Governor’s bogus appeal to the lowest common denominator of the electorate.

    Our rights are not not negotiable; not tradable; not for sale; not subject to any one’s approval.
    We are not asking for Equality; it is an inalienable right……

    Christie, “inalienable” means neither you nor your tokenist majority can deprive us. You have just shown yourself to be yet another fascist degrading a minority with your faux democratic pretensions.

    Read more: http://www.towleroad.com/2012/02/nj-governor-chris-christie-vetoes-marriage-equality-bill.html#ixzz1mgLt0Df3

  12. says

    @ RICK :

    So he Christie has sold his soul for some future power ambition;

    As Thomas Moore has said;

    “What does it profit a man to gain the whole world if he lose his soul. But for Attorney General for Wales ?”

    He has sold his soul and now we all know the price.

  13. Matt26 says

    “has an anti-gay bone in his body”, what a delusional statement. Perhaps he did it to get the big ticket, but he won’t. Thankfully also liberals and dems can vote. Make him one term gov.

  14. says

    Garden State Equality is the same group that put out a giant press release praising Chris Christie for nominating a gay black man to NJ’s Supreme Court. Who then turned out to be an arch-conservative who vowed to recuse himself from any gay marriage cases. Oh, a day after that press release? Christie did a press conference promising to veto gay marriage. I am starting to think New Jersey’s premier gay rights group is thoroughly manipulated, or outright in the pocket of our conservative governor. What should we New Jerseyans do?

  15. anthony says

    That release from Mr. Goldstein was TERRIBLE. Unconditional love? Bringing his parents into it? Who is this guy? They need a serious Communications Director over there…

  16. TJ says

    Craven politician scum. But I’m just being redundant. And why would anyone who works as a servant of the people ever be expected to put doing the right thing ahead of his personal ambition? That’s just business as usual. So understandable.

  17. TJ says

    I don’t want unconditional love. I want the unconditional respect and rights that I’ve earned and deserve.

  18. say what says


    vp for who?

    Mitt the mormon can’t have a catholic VP especially a north eastern catholic VP. Any and all catholics for R vp are out, no rubio, no christie, etc

    the southern evangelicals will revolt over a mormon and catholic ticket. romney will have to have a southenr baptist from a southern state

    besides being way too fat to run this cycle. The optics of a fat sweaty christie as vp will destroy whoever is at top of repub ticket

  19. says

    Steven Goldstein’s statement is also a political calculation. It gives Christie (and, by implication, some potential Republican override votes down the line) a benefit of the psychological doubt he may or may not deserve. Frankly, I don’t care about the bones of his big-assed body. I care only about his actions, and his actions were wrong and will always be so.

    But, having been through a veto override process in my state, VT, equality groups need to be careful about who they alienate. Or maybe Goldstein actually believes it. In any case, what will matter is the most effective strategy for overriding the veto or getting equality done another way.

  20. BobN says

    I’m sure Garden State Equality has done good, but what a ridiculous statement for the head of a civil rights group. Same with his praise for Christie’s appointment of a man who would sell his rights for a seat on the supreme court.

    To paraphrase, who needs enemies with leaders like that.

  21. Wavin' Dave says

    Raised in Brooklyn, I’m accustomed to the filthy stink of Jersey. It’s latest source seems obvious: the CRAVEN bulk of its latest governor. (Gee, anyone remember how his predecessors fared?)
    My grandma cautioned “The Devil lives in Jersey” but I didn’t think he’d be their chief executive.

  22. Scott says

    Steven Goldstein’s statement was pathetic and embarrassing, and probably representative of why we have so many abysmal politicians lingering around in the US. Throwing disadvantaged groups under the bus to further one’s political career is not okay. These people do not deserve to have apologies made on their behalf.

  23. mcNnyc says

    Unfortunately I think Steve Goldstein has a man crush on Chris Christie.
    He’s still looking to gain acceptance from someone he aint gonna get. What he refuses to see is that Christie has used the religion card. His own Roman Catholic Dogma to defend his denial of the civil right to marriage equality.
    Sorry Steve he’s not gonna date you but he has you right where he wants you.
    Or were you auditioning for HRC executive director with that?

  24. KP says

    Apparently Garden State Equality is deleted any posts that contain “off-color language or personal attacks, including with regard to appearance”. If you want to vent, their Facebook page is not the place to do it apparently.

  25. B-rod says

    It went unreported, but right after Christie vetoed the bill, he immediately left his office for lunch, had a ham sandwich and choked to death. Or we could only hope.

  26. Matt says

    Watching Christie is like watching someone bend backwards until their spine is ready to snap. He’s so uncomfortable in his position, and he’s desperate to get out of it. He thinks this nonsense of “let the people vote” or this “ombudsman” is a free ticket out, but surely even he can’t be that stupid.

    Or can he?

  27. says

    Dude, if this is an example of how weand our rights are treated by people “who don’t have an anti-gay bone in their body”, then we are tatally fu##ed

  28. h says

    Goldstein has worked tirelessly to bring marriage equality to NJ.

    However, it seems he’s never met a Governor-dem or rep-whose ass he didn’t kiss.

    Steve, we don’t need Christie’s love; we needed his signature.

  29. Brian says

    We knew this was coming. He announced he would do it. Now is the time for true activism. Name-calling and blame-laying will do no good. Write to your representatives. Demonstrate. Show your pride and continue to change people’s minds. Progress is slow and often painful. Don’t make it worse by behaving badly.

  30. says

    For years, I’ve been feeling the effects of outrage fatigue. Seven years in the political trenches reporting on right wingnuttery will take its toll, which is why many bloggers don’t last as long as I have. But tonight I saw a tweet from GOProud that made my blood boil and I was forced to write quite possibly the filthiest, nastiest, angriest post I’ve ever written in seven plus years. Absolutely not kid or work safe.


  31. TJ says

    JURASSICPORK – “Outrage fatigue”: YES! Perfect description. As for your rant on your blog: You GO, friend!

  32. stevenelliot says

    @ jurassicpork. Mister youve said a mouthful in your blog. Most of it Ive believed for a long time. Some of it is hyperbole. just some.

    I think, as ive said before, that the log cabins are white guys of a very certain age who are in love with the eighties. and the eighties was all about a gay backlash. and we couldnt fight back then because we were battling our own demons….AIDS.

    Now we dont have that distraction and I believe that us mo’s are fighting mad. Let me tell you one thing, peeps I think that our time has come. The Dems need to keep on subject….the economy

    We will win this if we can just hold on and get Obama and as many other Democrats elected as we can.

  33. says

    How’s this for a scenario? If the repeal referendum in Washington doesn’t pass, and if marriage equality passes as the law in Maine (on the ballot in 2012), would enough lawmakers in NJ be able to see which way the tide is turning and change their vote? Apparently the legislature has until Jan 2014 to override the Governor’s veto.

  34. John says

    “I include in my conditional veto the creation of a strong Ombudsman for Civil Unions to carry on New Jersey’s strong tradition of tolerance and fairness. The Ombudsman will be charged with increasing awareness of the law regarding civil unions, will provide a clear point of contact for those who have questions or concerns and will be required to report any evidence of the law being violated.”
    So, Christie is basically admitting that he understands the flawed Civil Union law – if it requires an ombudsman to explain it, he’s proving the point of the need for MARRIAGE equality. And this from the party that espouses less government!

  35. MTiffany says

    I’m not sure who’s more repellent: Christie the evil bigot, or Goldstein the sycophantic bootlicker.

  36. Rick says

    You know, while I understand the anger and the lashing out here, Christie is not doing anything that Barack Obama has done and is doing by deciding what his actions will be on same-sex marriage according to a political calculation rather than principle…..ditto for Hillary Clinton.

    But I don’t see any of you making that connection–gee, I wonder why (especially in the case of highly partisan individuals like Ernie).

    I am sure that if Governor Christie did not have Presidential ambitions, he would either have signed the bill or would have just let it become law without signing it…..which is probably more than we can say for Obama or Hillary.

  37. Ted says

    For years Christie said that the courts should not “decree” gay marriage – that it should happen if at all in the Legislature. We went there. Turns out he was wrong – that really, a referendum should decide. Hmmmm.

    And Steven Goldstein? It reminds me of HRC endorsing Alphonse D’Amato. Is this why I worked all my life for LGBT rights – so that people like this could be our spokespeople?

  38. anon says

    Both sides knew exactly how this would play out. In NJ all political hot potatoes end up in the state supreme court, which is filled up with politicians and not career jurists. Since the justices need to be re-appointed they typically do the heavy lifting of the normally politically impossible (like raising property taxes) to please all the political power brokers in the state. And this issue too will be on their docket again, maybe by September.

  39. says

    Actually, Rick, most people are aware that Gov. Christie’s wholly expected decision to veto the bill was a political calculation. Republicans with oversized ambitions, like Christie (though, frankly, he’s too fat of mouth and body to be President), have to be anti-gay to be accepted by their own backwards party. Whether or not he’s personally homophobic is beside the point, since his veto was anti-gay.

    As for Obama and Hillary. They aren’t governors, so what they would have done is also beside the point. But, in 2012, a northeast liberal Democrat governor would be politically unable to veto a marriage equality bill passed by a Democratic majority. It would be a loser for them. So, no, they, like any other liberal Democratic governor, would have signed it. One more reason why I have no problem being partisan. Majority Democrats pass pro-gay legislation, Majority Republicans do not. Simple as that.

  40. just_a_guy says

    Shame on Chris Christie.

    I see it as a mere lack of leadership skills.

    And if he’s as privately decent as I’d like to imagine him, Chris Christie will one day see this decision to cowtow to haters as a glaring eyesore, one thing he will forever regret in his political career.

    Show ‘im, Jersey! Show ‘im!!!

  41. Robert Cadalso says

    How the people of New Jersey can live looking at Mr. Pig of Lard is beyond me. And then there’s his bullying. . . .