Governor Chris Christie says he will veto a gay marriage bill if it reaches his desk, but he supports putting the issue on the ballot.

Christie says he wants to see a constitutional amendment come up for a vote and encourages Republican lawmakers to support a ballot measure.

Democrats hold a majority in the Legislature.

The governor's comments come as a Senate committee considers a bill to legalize gay marriage and one day after Christie nominated an openly gay black man to the state Supreme Court.

Christie, a Catholic, has previously said that he believes marriage is between one man and one woman but he supports civil unions, which the state recognizes.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)



This issue that our state is exploring -- whether or not to
redefine hundreds of years of societal and religious traditions --
should not be decided by 121 people in the State House in Trenton.
The fact is we're discussing huge change 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.
So, if New Jersey is seriously looking to overturn hundreds of
years of societal, legal and religious tradition, we need to give
the issue the weight that it merits.
So, I think that this is not an issue that should rest solely in
my hands, in the hands of the Senate President, or in the hands of
the Speaker or the other 118 members of the Legislature.
Let's let the people of New Jersey decide what is right for the
Let's put the question of same-sex marriage on the ballot this
fall, in the hands of the people, at the time where the most people
will be voting, in the presidential election year.
I support giving New Jerseyans the ability to give voice to
their support or their opposition to this issue.
We have an opportunity now to take away political maneuvering
and political advantage and the inherent issues that existed the
last time this issue was before the Legislature when it failed.
Let's make sure that political maneuvering is not what judges
this, and let's make sure this is not just someone trying to have
fun and create a campaign issue. It's too serious -- the institution
of marriage is too serious to be treated like a political football.
So, my message to the Legislature -- and this is simple -- and I'm
doing it today because today is the first day they're beginning to
consider it. Let's stop treating this like a political football and
let's let the people of New Jersey decide.
That way those who are in favor, those who are opposed, will
have the opportunity to make their case over the next nine months
to the people of New Jersey. And then, in the year when the most
people will be voting, we get a decision. And the people decide
whether or not they believe same-sex marriage should exist in this
State or not.
I would certainly be willing to be governed by the decision of
the people this State, especially in a year that the most people
will be voting in the State.
And I would hope that the Legislature would be willing to trust
the people, the way I'm willing to trust the people.
This issue is too big and too consequential not to trust the
people who will be governed ultimately by any change in law or
maintenance of the current law.