By Lois Rogers | Features Editor
Just hours after the measure landed on his desk, Feb. 17, Chris Christie made good on a long standing promise by vetoing a bill which would have legalized same-sex “marriage” in New Jersey, drawing thanks from Patrick R. Brannigan, executive director of the New Jersey Catholic Conference.
“We are very appreciative to the governor for his action,” Brannigan said. “We were always confident that he would veto the measure. That is what he said he would do and we believed him.”
In vetoing the bill, the governor also affirmed his call for the Legislature to put a referendum on same-sex “marriage” on the ballot in November. He suggested naming an ombudsman to address the complaints of same-sex couples in civil unions.
At the same time, the low number of formal complaints filed since civil unions became law in New Jersey would tend to indicate that the civil union statute did not discriminate, Gov. Christie said.
He noted that since civil unions became legal in 2007, the state’s Division on Civil Rights since 2007 has received 1,300 complaints related to disability, 1,200 related to race and just 13 related to civil unions.
The veto could be overridden by a two-thirds vote in each house of the legislature – 27 votes in the Senate and 54 in the Assembly – any time through January, 2014, but at the present time it appears supporters of the bill in both houses are shy of the votes needed for an override, said Brannigan.
While Brannigan expressed doubts that legislators would move quickly to override the veto, he encouraged the faithful to refer to the statement by New Jersey’s Catholic bishops on marriage as a union of one man and one woman for information and insight into Catholic teaching on the sacramental nature of marriage. Find a digital copy of the bishops’ statement at: www.trentonmonitor.com
He also encourages Catholics to make this reprieve an opportunity to support the institution of marriage as a union between one man and one woman. “This is natural law,” said Brannigan. “You cannot redefine natural law. What we should be doing is supporting marriage, reaching out to our children, helping them to understand that the family is the first place to learn how to love and to be loved.
“We need to reach out as a Church and as a community to support marriage and the family,” he said.
The progress of the New Jersey bill is one of several recent instances around the nation where legislators have been working to write same-sex “marriage” into law.
On Feb. 13, Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire signed a measure legalizing marriage for same-sex couples, making Washington the seventh state, along with the District of Columbia where same-sex “marriage” is legal.
That law will take effect 90 days after the governor has signed it but opponents have promised to fight it with a ballot measure similar to the one Christie has proposed for New Jersey.
In Washington, if opponents gather 120,000 signatures, the measure will be on the ballot in November. This bill is modeled after similar legislation approved in New York in June, which allows churches and religious groups to choose not to perform same-sex “marriages.” They can also deny same-sex couples access to their facilities for weddings.
In Maryland, Catholic leaders continued their campaign in support of traditional marriage Feb. 10, testifying before members of the House of Delegates against a bill that would legalize same-sex “marriage” in the state.[[In-content Ad]]