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Christie Vetoes New Jersey Marriage Bill

Jim Burroway

February 17th, 2012

As expected, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie today vetoed the marriage equality bill that passed the House yesterday and the Senate on Monday. In his veto message, Christie asserted that civil unions should be just as good as marriage, and that “Discrimination should not be tolerated and any complaint alleging a violation of a citizen’s right should be investigated and, if appropriate, remedied.” He also continue to insist that putting American citizens’ rights up to a vote is the best way to deal with this issue, and suggested appointing an ombudsman to address problems with New Jersey’s civil union law.

You know, if he had just let the bill become law after 45 days without a signature, Garden Staters wouldn’t have a use for an ombudsman. Christie’s suggestion is pure nonsense. The mere fact that Christie thinks its a good idea to appoint an ombudsman for civil unions is prima facie evidence that civil unions aren’t equal to marriage.

But hey. At least he won’t have a Romney-style marriage problem when he runs for president in 2016. His career is still in the clear.

UPDATE: Garden State Equality’s Steven Goldstein reacted to Christie’s ombudsman proposal:

In vetoing the marriage equality bill, Governor Christie’s offer to create a civil union ombudsman is the very essence of the political theatre he decries.

How in the world would a civil union ombudsman enforce the civil union law for New Jersey couples who work in New York, a state that recognizes marriage equality – would New York State actually deputize a New Jersey civil union ombudsman to work within its own borders?   How in the world would a civil union ombudsman deal with the children being raised by same-sex couples – children stigmatized at school by questions about the perceived inferiority of their families because of the second-class civil union label?   How in the world would a civil union ombudsman deal with the assault on the dignity faced by civil union couples by hospitals and employers who understand the civil union law perfectly well – but sneer at the relationship of couples who aren’t married?

A civil union ombudsman might well be the country’s first-ever Enforcer of Discrimination – and worse.   A civil union ombudsman is nothing more than the shameless dressing up of a veto of people’s dignity and equality – the equivalent of gold-plating a separate water fountain for a specific class of people.

In my opinion, Christie’s ombudsman idea is just as looney as his suggestion that we would have been better off if African-Americans’ civil rights had been put to a popular vote in the South during the 1960s.

Comments

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TampaZeke
February 17th, 2012 | LINK

Except for the fact that by 2016 having opposed marriage equality will serve him well with the homophobic GOP base through the Republican primary but then will hurt him in the general election. By 2016 support for marriage equality will be a clear and expanding majority opinion.

Timothy Kincaid
February 17th, 2012 | LINK

Zeke,

you may be right. I hope so. I would love to see whoever the Republican candidate is in 2016 desperately trying to come up with just why it is that they opposed the constitutional rights of a segment of the citizenry.

However, Christie may be gambling that Perry (or the next one in line) will be settled by SCOTUS by that point and thus he wont have four years of the right hating on him and by 2016 it will be “a settled issue” that doesn’t hurt him with moderates.

In some ways I pity him. This was a decision that was going to cost him in some ways and help him in others, no matter what he did. And I think this gamble was not only wrong in a absolute sense but in a political sense as well. If he wants to go down positively in the history books, he’s going to have to find some way of repairing what future generations – hell, what today’s youth – will see as an unconscionable decision.

Lucrece
February 17th, 2012 | LINK

I just want to save for posterity, that should he “change” his mind when the political winds change, I can tell him the several types of cacti he can go screw himself with.

He’s not looney wrong. He’s machiavellian wrong, and that’s what I truly see as evil. That’s why I detest Romney and Gingrich more than I detest Santorum or Bachmann. The latter two are too dumb to realize what’s going on. Romney, Gingrich, and Christie know full well the harm their doing, harm they’re doing for selfish means.

Christie is perverse.

Dennis W
February 18th, 2012 | LINK

Christie’s action is consistent with politics today. I come first and the national good comes second. If my needs happen to be consistent with the good of the people I will take the high road. If I put my personal agenda at risk for doing the right thing I come first. Change comes in the USA when the old ideas die because those who hold them finally pass. Thoughtful actions that support higher principles have no place in our national discussion. Where will we find real leaders?

Jacqueline
February 21st, 2012 | LINK

Great read…there still could be an override and remember, civil unions in NJ are being questioned right now in court by Lambda Legal, so let’s hope the Ombudsman plan is over — and fast. From my own experience, civil unions in NJ do an adequate job covering matters at the END of a relationship…like division of property, assets, and child issues in a divorce situation (though we can’t really call it that). Here’s a list of the goodies we can get then http://www.weinbergerlawgroup.com/Divorce-and-Separation/Domestic-Partnership-Dissolution/Dissolution-of-a-Civil-Union-or-Domestic-Partnership.html But there are so many other areas — adoption, insurance, etc., where I’ve heard civil unions not recognized. There may also be a problem with couples in NJ who work in NY — where marriage, not CUs are recognized. It’s a big mess that Christie could have avoided by putting aside his political aspirations and doing the right thing!

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