By Anna Peirano
On Tuesday, hearings were held before the Senate Judiciary Committee to decide whether or not to legalize same-sex marriage in New Jersey. Republican Governor Chris Christie said he would veto a bill legalizing same-sex marriage should it fall upon his desk. Democratic leaders are confident they could collect the 27 votes necessary to override a veto, which makes up the two-thirds majority required in the 40 person state senate. Christie has suggested the decision be put on the ballots instead.
The right of same-sex marriage has been granted mostly by court decision or legislative action rather than by vote.
“It’s a hard dynamic to win at the polls,” said Assemblyman Reed Gusciora, who is openly gay. “At the end of the day, gays are a minority and they can’t match the crazies, who are out there and really motivated to vote against it.”
Democrats accused Christie of trying to punt on a sensitive issue, while Republicans said that people should vote on such a politically charged decision.
“The fact is, we’re discussing huge change,” said Christie. “And I believe we need to approach this not only in a thoughtful way, not in a rushed way, but also in a way where we’re able to get the most input that we can from the public.”
But civil rights issues should be kept off the ballots, Democrats are saying, citing the fact that the last time the state allowed voters to make a decision on a civil rights issue was in 1915. Voters, limited to men, were allowed to decide whether to grant women the right to vote. Men rejected the proposal.