New Jersey Governor Chris Christie's
signature on a gay marriage bill remains a viable option, Senate
President Stephen Sweeney said in unveiling the proposed legislation
on Monday, The
Christie, who supports the state's
civil unions law, has previously threatened to veto a marriage bill
if it reaches his desk.
Sweeney, however, believes the governor
could be persuaded to back the measure.
“It's going to be a fight,” said
Sweeney, a Democrat. “We expect it to be a fight. The governor's
a decent person, and I think we can work on educating him to the fact
of what it means.”
He added during the press conference
introducing the bill that he made a mistake in opposing the
legislation in 2010.
“It's not easy to admit when you make
mistakes,” Sweeney told reporters. “I made a terrible mistake.
A political calculation. And I didn't look at the issue for what it
was. Marriage equality is not about religion, because there's
exemptions for that. It's about civil rights. It's about everyone
having the same rights to get married and to be happy.”
“I made a mistake,” he added, “but
I can tell you I'm going to fix that.”
Sweeney said the bill would go to the
appropriate committee “immediately.”
New Jersey is the third state behind
Maryland and Washington to announce the introduction of a gay
marriage bill during the upcoming 2012 legislative session.