Click here for the full text in pdf format.
Here’s the accompanying statement from the Governor’s office:
Today, I am adhering to what I’ve said since this bill was first introduced – an issue of this magnitude and importance, which requires a constitutional amendment, should be left to the people of New Jersey to decide. I continue to encourage the Legislature to trust the people of New Jersey and seek their input by allowing our citizens to vote on a question that represents a profoundly significant societal change. This is the only path to amend our State Constitution and the best way to resolve the issue of same-sex marriage in our state.
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. Discrimination should not be tolerated and any complaint alleging a violation of a citizen’s right should be investigated and, if appropriate, remedied. To that end, I include in my conditional veto the creation of a strong Ombudsman for Civil Unions to carry on New Jersey’s strong tradition of tolerance and fairness. The Ombudsman will be charged with increasing awareness of the law regarding civil unions, will provide a clear point of contact for those who have questions or concerns and will be required to report any evidence of the law being violated. In this way, we can ensure equal treatment under the law.
Based on the votes cast this week, it does not seem as though the Democrats will be able to garner enough votes to override the veto any time soon. However, the veto can be overridden any time between now and January 2014.
Garden State Equality did not lobby the Governor to avoid the veto, and instead has taken Christie at his word. They have already begun lobbying Democrats who voted against the bill and targetted Republicans for what will be a long term PR push on this issue. Long story short, this issue is not going anywhere.