TRENTON – As expected, Gov. Christie has issued a conditional veto of the Marriage Equality law.
Christie had promised to veto the bill allowing same sex marriage, which passed Thursday in the Assembly by a vote of 42 to 33 after having been approved by the Senate on Monday.
But while advocates of the proposal rejoiced, they knew the bill was likely dead on arrival in the governor’s office.
“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 issued Friday. “Discrimination should not be tolerated and any complaint alleging a violation of a citizen’s right should be investigated and, if appropriate, remedied.”
As part of his veto, Christie recommended the creation of an ombudsman to monitor the state’s civil union law, which advcocates for same sex marriage say does not work.
“The Ombudsman will be charged with increasing awareness of the law regarding civil unions, will provide a clear point of contact for those who have questions or concerns and will be required to report any evidence of the law being violated,” Christie said in the statement. “In this way, we can ensure equal treatment under the law.”
The bill will now head back to the Legislature, where it is unlikely supporters will be able to muster the votes for an override. Supporters have said, however, that they are looking long term and have until January 2014, the end of the current legislative session, to produce the votes required for an override.