New Jersey Governor Chris Christie killed same-sex marriage in New Jersey with his conditional veto last week. It is an interesting reminder of the fact that while same-sex marriage may be popular among judges and in some legislatures, it has never passed in a referendum.

In his veto Governor Christie very sensibly said that in a matter of such importance to society voters should be consulted.  

“While the wisdom of, or need for, same-sex marriage can be debated, it is beyond dispute that such a step represents a profoundly significant societal change. The framers of our State Constitution created the referendum process in Article IX as the sole mechanism by which the Constitution can be amended to consider precisely such important issues. I have repeatedly encouraged, and continue to ask that, the Legislature trust the people of New Jersey and seek their input by allowing our citizens to vote on the question of same-sex marriage.

“This path of amending the State Constitution, which embraces our most cherished democratic ideals and is enshrined in our guiding legal document, is the only way to amend our Constitution and the best way to resolve the issue of same-sex marriage in our State.

He also pointed out that New Jersey has already legalised same-sex partnerships (or civil unions, as they are called in his state). But people seem happy with the status quo. If it ain’t broke, why fix it?

“Since 2007, the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights has received over 1,300 complaints related to disability, over 1,200 complaints related to race, and hundreds of complaints in each of the protected areas of national origin, age, and sex. Civil Rights During this same time period, the Division on received only 13 complaints related to civil unions.”

Reuters, Feb 17  

Michael Cook

Michael Cook is the editor of MercatorNet. He lives in Sydney, Australia.