N.J. Voters Favor Gay Marriage

But should the decision be made at the ballot box?

Courtesy of Garden State Equality

A new poll says that more than half of voters in New Jersey (54 percent) now favor same-sex marriage. The poll, conducted by Rutgers-Eagleton, comes just one day after the state senate passed a bill to legalize same-sex marriage. While we’re expecting a vote from the assembly on Thursday (another thumbs up for gay marriage, experts are predicting) before it lands on Gov. Chris Christie’s desk (he’s said in the past he wouldn’t legalize it), voters seem to be siding with him in at least one way. They say they’d like to vote on the legislation at the polls.

Christie actually wants the issue to be handed to voters in a referendum this November. But it’s a move that Democrats in the state have strongly opposed, saying that civil rights issues should not be decided in the polls. We tend to agree, but with so many people in favor of same-sex marriage, the legislation could have a better chance of passing by voters than it would by the Republican governor.

The big push against voting on this legislation in the Garden State is coming from the black community and many African-American leaders who also don’t believe that a civil rights issue should be decided in such a way. The last time it was, voters were asked in the early part of the 20th century if women should have the right to vote. They said no and it would only be later that the right to vote would be granted to both men and women on a federal level.

Of course, even if Christie vetoes the law, there is a way that the legislature could override him and make the bill law anyway, but that would still require a good deal of Republican support (or the two-thirds majority) which is, we’re sad to say, presently lacking.