The passage of a marriage equality law in Delaware last week leaves New Jersey the only Atlantic coast state north of Virginia to retain a discriminatory marriage law.
“[V]acationers this summer can travel anywhere from Portland, Maine, to Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, and all the way to Ocean City, Maryland, to enjoy the Atlantic coastline in destinations that treat all people equally — that is, only if they bypass New Jersey,” said Garden State Equality in a press release.
“It is a blight on our state’s record of leadership and social justice, and on our economy, that Governor Christie has vetoed marriage equality and that the legislature has not yet overridden that veto.”
The New Jersey state legislature passed a marriage equality bill in February, 2012. Gov. Christie vetoed it immediately. Since the bill wasn’t passed by a veto-proof majority, the race is on to secure 12 additional votes in the House and 3 in the Senate before the legislative session ends in January, 2014.
This may be possible if Gov. Christie, who is known for enforcing party discipline, allows Republican legislators to vote their conscience. It would be in his best interest to do so, because he’s giving himself and New Jersey a retrograde reputation.
Since his veto last year, Washington, Maine, Maryland, Rhode Island and Delaware have doubled the number of marriage equality states to 11. Minnesota is expected to become the 12th state on Monday, March 13, with Illinois following suit in the next few weeks.
In contrast, New Jersey keeps its loving, committed same-sex couples segregated into separate and unequal civil unions. Thanks to Gov. Christie’s veto, New Jersey embraces a discriminatory past while the rest of the country moves on. Eleven (soon to be 13) states plus the District of Columbia, President Obama, prominent Republicans including former NJ Gov. Christine Todd Whitman, Fortune 500 companies and the country as a whole have evolved on this issue.
Those so inclined can encourage Gov. Christie to get with the program by signing this petition sponsored by Garden State Equality and American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey.