Advocates urging N.J. lawmakers to override gay marriage veto

Sept. 23, 2013 at 12:37 PM
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TRENTON, N.J., Sept. 23 (UPI) -- Activists are edging closer to getting New Jersey lawmakers to override Gov. Chris Christie's veto of a bill legalizing same-sex marriage, officials say.

New Jersey allows civil unions, but Christie vetoed a gay marriage bill in 2012, saying the issue should be decided in a public referendum, The (Newark) Star-Ledger reported Monday.

Three more votes are needed in the Senate, and 12 in the Assembly, to override Christie's action, but advocates believe their campaign can be successful. They point to Republican legislators who have changed their position and Democrats who say they weren't present for last year's vote on the bill.

Republican Assemblywoman Holly Schepisi, who missed the 2012 vote on the bill, says she would now vote to override the veto after the U.S. Supreme Court threw out the Defense of Marriage Act in June, which had defined marriage as being between a man and woman.

The court also ruled civil unions do not provide the same benefits as marriage.

The court's decision made the issue "a little clearer than it was," said Jeff Cook-McCormac, senior adviser to the American Unity Fund, which is engaged in a nationwide drive to get GOP lawmakers to support same-sex marriage

Still, other groups are fine with Christie's veto.

The New Jersey Policy Council, the National Organization of Marriage and the New Jersey Catholic Conference are part of a coalition working against the override attempt, Len Deo, president of the policy council, says he expects "a battle for both sides."

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