Marriage Equality is This Summer’s NJ Political Football [AUDIO]
Democratic state lawmakers vowed to keep marriage equality in the spotlight in New Jersey and they're keeping their word.
They claim that by vetoing the bill to legalize same-sex marriage, Governor Chris Christie is standing in the way of progress. Christie doesn't see it that way.
"Our Governor has ignored the will of the legislature in enacting marriage equality for the citizens of our state," says Assemblyman Reed Gusciora, one of the prime sponsors of the bill the Governor vetoed.
Another sponsor of the vetoed legislation is Assemblyman Tim Eustace, an openly gay man who has been with his partner for over three decades.
"The problem in this state is one man is holding up progress. He's holding up history," claims Eustace. "The Governor is behind the eight ball on this. He's harming families that live here in the state of New Jersey."
Same-sex couples in New Jersey were thrilled last month after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that legally married same-sex couples should have the same federal benefits as heterosexual married couples. Christie appeared that night on Townsquare Media's 'Ask the Governor.'
"I thought it was a bad decision, but it has no effect on New Jersey at all, so we move from here," said Christie. "If the people of the State of New Jersey want to amend our constitution in order to make same-sex marriage legal and permissible in the state they have every right to do it, and the only people who can give them that opportunity is the New Jersey State Legislature."
State Sen. President Steve Sweeney says he will not put a same-sex marriage question on the ballot because he believes it's the legislature's job to handle civil rights issues.
"To me this Governor is all about his self-serving agenda," says Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle. "He's not serving the people that he represents here in New Jersey."
The Governor has consistently said if the voters decide to amend the constitution to allow gay marriage he would uphold the law.