Sweeney to Christie: ‘Right the wrong that we both enabled to occur’ regarding gay marriage

TRENTON – The verbal back-and-forth over gay marriage continued Wednesday with the Senate president firing back at the governor for his comments Tuesday.

Senate President Steve Sweeney said today that Gov. Chris Christie can help right a wrong and make marriage equality in the state a reality.

Christie chastised Sweeney on Tuesday, pointing out that in 2009 Sweeney abstained from a gay marriage vote and yet now Sweeney is criticizing the governor, accusing him of holding GOP lawmakers back from voting their conscience.

“The governor is right: three and a half years ago, I made the biggest mistake of my career by abstaining from a vote on marriage equality,” Sweeney said Wednesday.  

“But I realized the error I had committed, as have many others who at the time did not support the issue.”

On Tuesday, Sweeney and key Democratic leaders called for GOP lawmakers to help override a gubernatorial veto of an earlier gay marriage bill.

And Sweeney said today that “Governor, for you, it is not too late.  You can release the Republican members of the Legislature to vote as their conscience tells them and establish marriage equality in New Jersey.  

“You can help right the wrong that we both enabled to occur.  You can tell Minority Leaders (Tom) Kean and (Jon) Bramnick that they and their members are free to vote as they want on this issue.” 

“At the end of the day, this is not about me or the governor.  It is about our family members, friends, coworkers and neighbors who cannot get married to the person they love.  It is about the people we care about being treated as second-class citizens.  It is time to finally right this wrong.”

On Tuesday, Christie said it was an insult to Republican lawmakers to accuse them of not having previously voted their conscience on the marriage equality issue.

Since the Democratic-controlled Legislature has never successfully overridden a Christie veto, some supporters of gay marriage believe their best avenue to success may be through the courts.

Christie reiterated on Tuesday that although he opposes gay marriage, if it was put to a referendum and voters OK’d it he would abide by their decision.

Sweeney to Christie: ‘Right the wrong that we both enabled to occur’ regarding gay marriage