News24

NJ legislators OK gay marriage, veto looms

2012-02-17 12:33

New York - Lawmakers in the US state of New Jersey on Thursday approved a bill legalising same-sex marriage, but the measure appeared likely to stall as Republican Governor Chris Christie has pledged to veto it.

The state's General Assembly voted 42-33 in favour of the measure, following the Senate's approval earlier this week. The measure is now to be sent to Christie on Friday.

Christie, a rising star in the Republican party who supports White House hopeful Mitt Romney and has been mentioned as a possible vice-presidential candidate, has repeatedly said he will not approve the bill.

"I am not a fan of same-sex marriage," Christie said in a recent television interview.

"It's not something that I support. I believe marriage should be between one man and one woman. That's my view. And that'll be the view of our state because I wouldn't sign a bill like the one that was in New York."

Christie has said he would support a referendum on the issue.

So far, seven US states - Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Vermont and Washington - and the District of Columbia have legalised same-sex marriages.

A group of 80 US mayors - including New York's Michael Bloomberg, Chicago's Rahm Emanuel, Antonio Villaraigosa from Los Angeles and Annise Parker from Houston - last month unveiled a campaign to win support for same-sex marriage.

Gay marriage was briefly authorised in California in 2008, but later banned by a referendum re-writing the state's constitution to restrict marriage to unions between a man and a woman.

A US federal appeals court earlier this month declared the California ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional.

Opponents are expected to appeal, and the legality of same-sex marriage will likely be decided by the US Supreme Court.