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New Jersey governor would veto gay marriage bill

Chris Christie wants the issue to be decided by vote of the people

A day after nominating a gay man for his state's highest court, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said Tuesday (24 January) that he will veto a same-sex marriage bill even if it passes the state legislature.

Christie said he would rather put the issue before a vote of the people in the fall.

'This issue that our state is exploring - whether or not to redefine hundreds of years of societal and religious traditions - should not be decided by 121 people in the Statehouse in Trenton,' Christie said during a press conference on Tuesday. “Let’s let the people of New Jersey decide what is right for the state.'

His comments came the same day as a Senate Judiciary Committee advance the bill by a 8-4 vote. A full hearing before the Legislature must now be scheduled.

Same-sex marriage is already legal in six states -- New York, Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont -- and the District of Columbia. This week, a bill in the state of Washington state got enough votes for passage and Gov. Christine Gregoire has vowed to sign it into law.

On Monday, Christie had made Chatham Borough Mayor Bruce Harris, 61, one of his two appointments to the State Supreme Court. Harris would be the state's first openly gay justice.

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