Christie vetoes N.J. same-sex marriage bill

Feb. 17, 2012 at 6:39 PM
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TRENTON, N.J., Feb. 17 (UPI) -- New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie Friday vetoed a bill legalizing same-sex marriage but said same-sex couples deserve the "very same rights" as married couples.

The veto came one day after the state Assembly gave final passage to the bill by a vote of 42-33. The state Senate had approved the bill 24-16.

"I have been just as adamant that same-sex couples in a civil union deserve the very same rights and benefits enjoyed by married couples -- as well as the strict enforcement of those rights and benefits," Christie said in a statement.

"Discrimination should not be tolerated and any complaint alleging a violation of a citizen's right should be investigated and, if appropriate, remedied."

Gay-rights activists said they would try to have the Legislature override the veto, The (Newark) Star-Ledger reported.

"Thousands and thousands of New Jersey families are denied financial security, health security and fundamental equal rights every day because of a failed civil union experiment," Assembly Majority Leader Louis Greenwald said. "And yet in spite of their second-class citizenship, the governor singlehandedly -- through the stroke of his pen -- seeks to codify discrimination against them."

Christie has said he would prefer to put the matter to a referendum in November.

Supporters of same-sex marriage have until Jan. 14, 2014 -- the end of the current legislative session -- to get enough votes in the state Senate and Assembly to override Christie's veto, the newspaper said.

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