Religion

NJ Gov. Chris Christie Vetoes Gay Marriage Bill

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As promised, popular New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie vetoed the same-sex marriage bill passed earlier this week by the state legislature.

The state Senate passed the bill on Monday and the Assembly followed suit yesterday, sending the bill on to its inevitable demise at the Republican governor's desk.

Christie, who has stated his personal opposition to same-sex marriage, pledged a swift veto earlier in the week.

After rejecting the will of the legislature, Christie told the press that he would prefer the issue of same-sex marriage in New Jersey be handled through a voter referendum in the fall. Polling suggests that a slim majority of New Jersey residents favor recognizing same-sex unions in their state.

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Democrats, who control both houses of the state legislature, reject the idea of a ballot initiative. Senate President Steve Sweeny said that the Democrats would fight to override Christie's veto before the current legislative session ends in 2014. The liberal state senator had harsh words for the Governor, saying today, "He had the chance to do the right thing and failed miserably."

However, some political insiders gave Governor Christie credit for a savvy political move. Seen by many as a likely future Republican Presidential or Vice Presidential candidate, Christie had much to lose by a misstep surrounding such a hot-button, Culture War issue.

By vetoing the gay marriage bill and delegating the decision to the New Jersey voters, Christie preserves his conservative bona fides, which he'll need to emerge victorious from a 2016 GOP primary fight - just ask Mitt Romney.

Seven states and the District of Columbia currently allow same-sex marriage within their jurisdictions. Washington was the most recent state to join the club when Governor Gregoire signed their same-sex marriage bill into law last week.