New Jersey State Senate President Stephen Sweeney blasted Gov. Chris Christie on Saturday, accusing the governor of placing “his feet firmly on the wrong side of history” by vetoing a bill to legalize same sex marriage.
The bill, the Marriage Equality and Religious Exemption Act, was approved by the New Jersey legislature two weeks ago. But Christie quickly vetoed the bill, insisting the issue needed to be put to a statewide referendum.
“Anyone who is a student of history knows that you never, ever put the rights of the minority up for a vote of the majority; the majority will almost always vote it down,” Sweeney wrote at the Huffington Post. “Not only was Governor Christie clearly ignorant of history on this issue, but his newfound sense of populism (the governor never seems to ask for a public referendum on any other issue) was also a way to relieve his Republican colleagues in the Legislature of their duty to serve the people.”
Democrats did not immediately have the two-thirds majority in both the Assembly and the Senate needed to override the governor’s veto, but have vowed to change Republicans’ stance on the issue.
“I know many of my Republican colleagues believe marriage equality is the right thing,” Sweeney said. “Unfortunately, Governor Christie has put political pressure on them to keep them from voting how they wish. I know we can change their mind. I know they are good people who want to do the right thing. And I know that in the end what is right and fair will ultimately win out. Though the governor has placed his feet firmly on the wrong side of history, he simply cannot stop the tide of fairness and equality that is rising not just in New Jersey but across the country. We are going to get this done.”
Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Vermont, Washington and the District of Columbia have legalized same sex marriages. In addition, Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) has pledged to sign into law a recently-passed bill that grants same sex couples all the marriage rights currently enjoyed by opposite sex couples.