NJ Legislature Plans Vote to Override Christie’s Gay Marriage Veto

New Jersey's legislature is planning votes in both the Senate and Assembly to override Chris Christie's February 2012 veto of a marriage equality bill that passed both houses there, Politicker NJ reports:

Gusciora[Reed] Gusciora (pictured), an openly gay lawmaker who sponsored the bill in the Assembly, said he met with both Senate President Steve Sweeney and Assembly Majority Leader Lou Greenwald and both men were committed to putting the bill up for an override.  The bill did not pass in either house with enough votes to override the governor's action, but gay rights advocates have been working the phones for a year trying to turn lawmakers in their favor.

The bill passed 24-16 in the Senate and 42-33 in the Assembly.  In the Senate, three additional votes are needed to pass an override, while in the Assembly an additional 12 are needed for the two-thirds majority required to override.

"I think we can get the three in the Senate," he said.  "But the Assembly is a different story.  I can name five who might switch their vote, but it stops there."

Gusciora said he spoke to both men about the possibility of a ballot initiative to legalize same sex marriage, however Gusciora said Sweeney was against the idea.

Sweeney says he wants to wait to have the override vote until June when Republicans will feel free to vote without retribution.


  1. matt says

    Well, it would be best if Gov. Christie just dropped his opposition. He’d draw even more support from Democrats in his re-election bid, and it would allow him to portray himself as a real maverick among GOP contenders for president. He demonstrated that he’s very comfortable with the latter when he stood with President Obama in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. So, just do it, Chris Christie. People would admire you for it.

  2. Stefan says

    Here’s what I predict will happen:

    They will indeed hold the veto override vote after the June primaries and also after the Supreme Court rules in our favor. This will give our side much more support, since civil unions would not recieve the federal benefits of marriage. Christie may even work behind the scenes to ensure the veto is overriden.

  3. simon says

    The numbers in the assembly don’t add up. 42-33 means 75 voted in the assembly last time. Two third is 75×2/3 = 50. It means only 8 members need to switch to get two third majority. They have also factored in those who didn’t vote?

  4. Kelly in Atlantic City says

    Simon, there were 5 assembly members who did not vote, so the total number of assembly members is 42+33+5=80.

  5. Stefan says


    They would need 54 in the Assembly since it’s a total number of legislators not just those present. However, the actual number needed is 9, not 12, since there were 2 Republicans and 1 Democrat who were absent from the vote but indicated their support. Given the events likely to occur in the next 6 months (Supreme Court ruling in our favor, increased public support, post-primary pressure off of Republicans, election day being near=voting No would cost votes for Democrats and Republicans in moderate/swing districts).

  6. Bill S. says

    What is that status of that New Jersey Supreme Court case? Has it been argued in front of them? It seemed to totally drop off the radar.

  7. Jeff says

    So they are “against” the idea to allow the PEOPLE of the state to vote on something? Doesnt that pretty much go AGAINST the best interests of the people? What a bunch of douchebags! NJ needs to see how these people work and vote their asses OUT!

  8. Jeff says

    So they are “against” the idea to allow the PEOPLE of the state to vote on something? Doesnt that pretty much go AGAINST the best interests of the people? What a bunch of douchebags! NJ needs to see how these people work and vote their asses OUT!

  9. Lars says

    @Jeff: uhhh yeah. It is morally repugnant to put basic civil rights for a minority up to a popular vote.

  10. Pete N SFO says

    Whatever they’re up to… I REALLY dislike putting Civil Rights up for popular vote.

    I’m hoping that when the decisions come from the SCOTUS that they send a loud & clear message that that shouldn’t happen.

  11. johnny says

    Civil rights should never be put up for popular vote.

    Imagine where we’d be still on that whole slavery thing. There were MANY politicians in the north that had no problem with it and vast swaths of people throughout the north that didn’t care one way or another.

  12. Patric says

    Stefan, you sound knowledgeable about what is going on in New Jersey and have provided some useful information, but your suggestion that Chris Christie might actually work behind the scenes to procure the votes needed to override his veto is laughable. Let’s not all drink the Christie Kool-Aid. However high he may be riding presently among “moderates” and Dems following his embrace of the President post-Sandy, he remains a Republican who is not now and never has been a friend to our community. Any dreams of securing his support in this struggle are just baseless fantasies. Our efforts are better directed elsewhere, including to, if necessary, displacing anti-equality incumbents in this year’s primaries and general election (so that, if we don’t succeed this year and don’t prevail in the lawsuit, we can override next year when, sadly, Christie will almost certainly still be Governor).

  13. Stefan says

    I meant that Christie may do it to simply get the issue to go away. He won’t want this hanging over him if he runs for President in 2016, especially if he wants to attract moderates (whom now support gay marriage by a large margin).

  14. Patric says

    I agree, Stefan, that there are Republicans who just want this issue to go away and I hope that we’ll be able to use that to our advantage in upcoming votes in Illinois and elsewhere. However, if Christie is going to be influenced in his actions on this matter by 2016 considerations, I think it is far more likely that he will be influenced by the Republican primary voters who will not tolerate anything short of outright, active and vocal resistance from him on this issue than that he will be influenced by how “moderate” voters will view him in a general election. He won’t get to the general election without winning the nominating contest first and, as Willard and Huntsman demonstrated, to do that you need to sign on without exception to the cultural right’s platform. I also suspect that, for “moderate” voters who care enough about marriage equality to allow it to influence their votes, Christie’s veto of the bill will be more significant to their estimation of Christie, as it should be, than whether the New Jersey legislature ultimately overrides that veto. I see no political advantage to Christie on the national stage, as opposed to in New Jersey, from the New Jersey legislature overriding his veto of equality.

  15. Bob says

    Christie, for now, has needed to stick to what pleases conservative catholics in NJ. He MAY join the bandwagon that says “Let’s avoid the ugliness of a very very expensive referendum, for the sake of the State, and put the money into rebuilding”
    NJ does not have a TV market –pro or anti equality commercials would be on New York and Philly stations, and cost a bloody huge fortunes, besides forcing New York and Connecticut, which already have marriage, to endure the ads, making the catholic church look even worse.

  16. antisaint says

    Chris Christie made it very clear before he was elected that he would do the things he said he would do, and that he had no problem with being a one-term governor if that’s what it came to. He tends back up the things that come out of his mouth, seemingly moreso than a lot of politicians.

    He said he would veto if it passed, and people were hoping he would suddenly change his mind. Not going to happen. Expect no help from this man.

    I can’t help but respect my governor, despite my disagreements with many things he has done. Just imagine if we could have politicians like him on the dem side. Imagine a democratic president of his caliber.

  17. Patric says

    You’re a disgrace to our community, Antisaint. Using the example of Chris Christie sticking to his guns by being the one man standing in the way of ending discrimination under the laws of his State against gay and lesbian Jerseyites as a way to praise him and to take a swipe at Democrats is revolting. And, btw, as much as it may pain you to acknowledge it, our Democratic President is doing wonders for our community, but don’t let us stop you from taking shots at him while you praise those who defend bigotry and discrimination. Absolutely nauseating.

  18. rick scatorum says

    I’m glad they did the morally repugnant thing in Maryland, Washington, and Maine, and I bet gay couples (and singles) are too. Congrats folks, and welcome to statewide equality!

  19. antisaint says

    Patric — I’m not praising Chris Christie for holding New Jerseyans back, and I’m a democrat. I’m not using Christie to take a swipe at anyone.

    My point about Christie is broader than this one issue, albeit a big issue. There have been many things that he has done that I disagree with, and I’ll be happy when his time is up here. I didn’t vote for him, and never will. But as a politician, he has stood his ground, from the door and even before that, in a profession that’s full of people who don’t come off as sure-footed as that. If he were a democrat, he’d be a remarkable one. I give him that much.

    People seem to keep thinking he’s going to have this “Grinch” moment and suddenly ease off. Between the time equality passed in New Jersey and his veto, a lot of folks were somehow hopeful that he would pull a “Sike!” at the last second. There are people in this thread suggesting he “drop his opposition,” and my point was that it’s foolish to expect Chris Christie to be anything other than the bad guy here, because he made it very clear where he stands, so there’s no reason to think, hope, or expect any different.

    And NONE of this is commentary on President Obama at all. I didn’t say anything about Obama. You brought him up. It’s pretty clear if you’ve got eyes what good he has done for equality. I was not comparing the two in any case.

    It would be a beautiful thing if we can get the votes to override his veto.

  20. Ted says

    I’d like to see someone tell us who we as a community need to pressure to change their votes – I would be happy to make some campaign contributions or phone calls – maybe Garden State Equality?

  21. Patric says

    My apologies, Antisaint, though I do believe it was reasonable for me to view your wistful imagining of a Democratic President of Christie’s caliber as a swipe at our President.

    Ultimately, I completely agree with the viewpoint you express in the third paragraph of your most recent post above. I think that those who are hoping that Christie could be anything other than an obstacle (a surmountable obstacle perhaps, but nonetheless an obstacle) in this effort are engaged in wishful thinking which is not grounded in any deep understanding of this man.