Governor Chris Christie says he will veto a gay marriage bill if it reaches his desk, but he supports putting the issue on the ballot.

Christie says he wants to see a constitutional amendment come up for a vote and encourages Republican lawmakers to support a ballot measure.

Democrats hold a majority in the Legislature.

The governor’s comments come as a Senate committee considers a bill to legalize gay marriage and one day after Christie nominated an openly gay black man to the state Supreme Court.

Christie, a Catholic, has previously said that he believes marriage is between one man and one woman but he supports civil unions, which the state recognizes.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

 

TEXT OF CHRISTIE’S COMMENTS

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 State House in Trenton.

The fact is we’re discussing huge change and I believe we need

to approach this not only in a thoughtful way, not in a rushed way,

but also in a way where we’re able to get the most input that we

can from the public.

So, if New Jersey is seriously looking to overturn hundreds of

years of societal, legal and religious tradition, we need to give

the issue the weight that it merits.

So, I think that this is not an issue that should rest solely in

my hands, in the hands of the Senate President, or in the hands of

the Speaker or the other 118 members of the Legislature.

Let’s let the people of New Jersey decide what is right for the

state.

Let’s put the question of same-sex marriage on the ballot this

fall, in the hands of the people, at the time where the most people

will be voting, in the presidential election year.

I support giving New Jerseyans the ability to give voice to

their support or their opposition to this issue.

We have an opportunity now to take away political maneuvering

and political advantage and the inherent issues that existed the

last time this issue was before the Legislature when it failed.

Let’s make sure that political maneuvering is not what judges

this, and let’s make sure this is not just someone trying to have

fun and create a campaign issue. It’s too serious — the institution

of marriage is too serious to be treated like a political football.

So, my message to the Legislature — and this is simple — and I’m

doing it today because today is the first day they’re beginning to

consider it. Let’s stop treating this like a political football and

let’s let the people of New Jersey decide.

That way those who are in favor, those who are opposed, will

have the opportunity to make their case over the next nine months

to the people of New Jersey. And then, in the year when the most

people will be voting, we get a decision. And the people decide

whether or not they believe same-sex marriage should exist in this

State or not.

I would certainly be willing to be governed by the decision of

the people this State, especially in a year that the most people

will be voting in the State.

And I would hope that the Legislature would be willing to trust

the people, the way I’m willing to trust the people.

This issue is too big and too consequential not to trust the

people who will be governed ultimately by any change in law or

maintenance of the current law.