New Jersey State Senator Christopher
“Kip” Bateman on Thursday introduced a measure which would amend
the constitution to permit gay marriage in the state.
Bateman's resolution would ask voters
to decide whether gay and lesbian couples should be given the right
“Let's stop the political games and
let the people of New Jersey decide,” Bateman said in a statement.
“Marriage equality advocates and opponents would both have the
ability to register their opinion at the ballot box. Nobody would be
disenfranchised on either side of the issue.”
Republican Governor Chris Christie
recently called on Democratic lawmakers to abandon passage of a
marriage bill and ask voters instead to decide.
The Senate and Assembly are expected to
vote on the legislation next week, despite a threatened veto from
Bateman said his measure was modeled
after a similar question in Maine proposed by gay marriage advocates.
“This amendment is unique in that,
unlike in other other states that have put the issue before voters,
it would permit same sex marriage rather than prohibit it,” said
Bateman, a Republican from Somerset. “This is not a so-called
'Defense of Marriage Amendment.' I am not sure why putting this to
voters is acceptable to advocates in Maine, but not in New Jersey.”
Democrats have previously said that
civil rights should not be put up for a popular vote.
“I'm disappointed that Sen. Bateman
would rather politicize an issue that should be a legislative vote of
conscience rather than an opportunity by him and his allies to lessen
the status and human dignity of gays and lesbians,” Assemblyman
Reed Gusciora, chief sponsor of the bill in the Assembly, told the
“Any time you provide voters an opportunity to make a judgment of
one group over the other, it violates the Madisonian principle that
are meant to protect majority whims over a given minority.”