Meanwhile, Maryland's House of Delegates was poised to vote on a similar bill Friday afternoon. If it passes, it would then go to the Senate, and the governor, who has vowed to sign it. Opponents have pledged to try and overturn it at the ballot.
The New Jersey bill was a top priority of Democratic leaders in the state legislature, and it sailed through the Senate 24-16 Monday (Feb. 13) and the Assembly 42-33 three days later with little Republican support. Neither margin is veto-proof. No GOP assembly members supported it, and only two Republican senators did.
Christie, a Republican, pledged during his 2010 campaign that he would veto a gay "marriage" bill. The outcome of that election directly impacted the current bill: the Democratic governor he defeated, Jon Corzine, supported gay "marriage."
Despite the veto threat, supporters of the bill celebrated when the bill passed the legislature.
"Without question, this is a historic day in the state of New Jersey," Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver said, according to The Star-Ledger.
Democrats and supporters immediately said they would work on gaining enough votes to overturn a veto, and they have until January 2014 to do so, The Star-Ledger said. That's the end of the session.
Traditionalists took comfort in the veto but also criticized the legislature.
"We believe it to be the highest form of hubris when those in authority tinker with natural law and challenge God in His creation of the natural order. He will not be mocked," said Len Deo, founder and president of the New Jersey Family Policy Council. "... Those in favor of this bill have long argued that the people shouldn't be allowed to vote on retaining marriage as the union of one man and one woman, but rather that the legislature should decide for them. They have tried the courts and now the legislature; however, we believe this is such a huge public policy shift that the people should weigh in."
Yet there probably will not be a vote at the ballot because Democratic leaders oppose it.
Traditionalists warned the legalization of gay "marriage" would have a widespread negative impact on New Jersey society, affecting the tax-exempt status of religious organizations, the religious liberty of private businesses and curriculum in elementary schools.
In Massachusetts -- where marriage has been redefined -- a second-grade class read a book, "King & King," about a prince who "marries" another prince.
In Vermont, where gay "marriage" is legal, the ACLU sued a bed and breakfast after it declined to host a same-sex "wedding" reception. Illinois saw a similar lawsuit, when a male couple filed a discrimination suit against two bed and breakfasts that refused to host their civil union ceremony.
Compiled by Michael Foust, associate editor of Baptist Press.
Copyright (c) 2012 Southern Baptist Convention, Baptist Press www.BPNews.net