As expected, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie announced a veto of the just-passed marriage bill. Freedom to Marry, the national group that's been directly involved with securing passage, just issued this statement:
Today, Governor Chris Christie vetoed a freedom to marry bill that would make New Jersey the eighth state in the nation to end the exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage, setting the stage for work to line up the votes needed to override the veto and make the bill law. The bill passed in the Assembly in a vote of 42-33 on Thursday, following the state Senate's bipartisan approval by 24-16 on Monday. Below is a statement by Freedom to Marry founder and President Evan Wolfson in response to Governor Christie's veto:
"By vetoing the bill that would ensure that all loving, committed New Jersey couples and their families can share in the freedom to marry, with all its protections and meaning, Governor Christie planted his feet firmly on the wrong side of history. Fortunately, his 'no' will not be America's - or New Jersey's - last word. It is simply an obstacle we overcome as we continue on the road to liberty and justice for all.
"Freedom to Marry will work steadily over the next months - and throughout the entire remainder of the legislative session, as necessary - supporting local families, leaders, and advocates as they make the case to their lawmakers and win the extra handful of votes needed to override the veto and do right by all families.
"Our experience is that heart-to-heart conversations and getting to know our families beats political pressure over time, especially when there's enough time to organize, as we now can. That is why Freedom to Marry and Garden State Equality will be deploying skilled organizers to organize committed couples and other voices in key districts to help couples, families, civic leaders, business and labor voices, and clergy make the case to individual lawmakers that this is the right vote to take. A majority of New Jerseyans support the freedom to marry, the Supreme Court has said the constitution commands equality, and we will bring an end to marriage discrimination in New Jersey."
Advocates and legislative leaders have the entire remainder of the legislative session, until January 2014, to make the case to override the veto, as Freedom to Marry and its partners in Vermont did when needed in 2009. A Rutgers-Eagleton poll released on Tuesday shows that 54% of New Jersey voters support the freedom to marry. New York ended marriage discrimination in July 2011.