Chris Christie Vetoes Gay Marriage in New Jersey

Katie Pavlich

2/18/2012 1:11:00 PM - Katie Pavlich

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has vetoed a bill that would legalize gay marriage in the Garden State, saying he is open to  civil unions providing the same rights to same-sex couples as to married couples.

Delivering on his promise of swift action, Gov. Chris Christie this afternoon conditionally vetoed the gay marriage bill and suggested appointing an ombudsman to address complaints of same-sex couples and strengthen New Jersey’s civil union law.

Christie conditionally vetoed the bill six hours after it reached his desk, a day after the state Assembly gave the final legislative approval that he said he would not support.

"I have been just as adamant that same-sex couples in a civil union deserve the very same rights and benefits enjoyed by married couples — as well as the strict enforcement of those rights and benefits,’’ Christie said in a prepared statement.

"Discrimination should not be tolerated and any complaint alleging a violation of a citizen’s right should be investigated and, if appropriate, remedied."

The bill was the last chance for the legalization of gay marriage in New Jersey until 2014 when an override vote can be taken.