TRENTON – Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean (R-21) of Westfield, fired back Tuesday at Senate President Steve Sweeney’s public request about Kean and Senate Republicans voting their conscience on a vote to override Gov. Chris Christie’s veto of the marriage equality bill.
Kean accused Sweeney of lecturing and as unable to garner full support from his own party on the issue. He added that the Senate leader does not trust the voting people, given Sweeney’s opposition to letting the voting public decide the issue in November.
“Legislators should vote their conscience on every issue,” Kean said in a statement. “We do not need lectures from a senator who did not take a stand in 2010 and cannot rally full support from his entire caucus for this legislation.
“Republicans and Democrats from both houses of the legislature believe that this issue should be put before the voters of New Jersey this November,” Kean continued. “Sen. Sweeney is exhibiting a complete lack of faith in the people to offer a permanent solution, one outside the whims and politics of future courts and legislatures.”
Both Senate leaders have had a volatile relationship of late. The contentiousness reached a boiling point last month, prompting Sweeney to pull several Republican-sponsored bills.
But at least one of those, a bill giving the DEP more authority over the Fenimore Landfill in Roxbury, has been voted on and signed into law.
Sweeney acknowledged Tuesday afternoon he and the party made “a mistake” in 2009 by not moving forward on the same-sex marriage bill.