NJ Senate Leaders Challenge Christie on Marriage Referendum
Following approval of the marriage equality bill in the New Jersey senate judiciary committee on Tuesday, the trio of Democratic leaders backing the measure rejected a suggestion from Governor Chris Christie that the issue be put to voters in a referendum this fall.
“We do not put civil rights questions on the ballot,” said Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg, a co-sponsor of the bill, at an afternoon news conference in Trenton. She had cautioned during the committee hearing that New Jersey voters rejected a ballot question on women’s right to vote in 1915, five years before Congress granted the right.
Weinberg accused Republican members of the panel of taking a “cop out” by saying that even though they may not be opposed to same-sex marriage, they believed the issue should be decided by voters.
“We’re not putting the governor’s appointment to the Supreme Court on the ballot,” she said. The remark stung in the wake of Christie’s announcement Monday that he would nominate Bruce Harris, an African-American Republican mayor of Chatham Borough, as the first openly gay justice on the high court.