Although voters in three states approved same-sex marriage legislation Tuesday, New Jersey lawmakers are still balking at putting up the measure for a statewide vote — a decision state and national gay rights advocates support.
"It would be a terrible road for New Jersey to go down," Evan Wolfson, a civil rights lawyer and founder and president of Freedom to Marry, a national gay-marriage group, told the Philadelphia Inquirer
Thursday. He said campaigning would involve "a huge amount of work and money, and time and nervousness, that nobody should have to go through."
Wolfson and other supporters of same-sex marriage said lawmakers should continue the fight in the statehouse and the courts, rather than giving in to pressure to put on the ballot.
This past February, the state’s Democratic-controlled legislature approved a same-sex marriage bill, but Republican Gov. Chris Christie vetoed it, saying voters should decide the issue.
State Democratic leaders, however, argue that a voting majority shouldn’t be allowed to determine rights for a minority group.
Nine states and the District of Columbia allow same-sex marriages, and on Tuesday voters in Maryland and Washington also upheld legislation legalizing gay marriage. In Maine, voters also agreed to legalize same-sex marriage three years after blocking it at the polls. And in Minnesota, meanwhile, voters rejected a constitutional ban on gay marriage.
Wolfson said the victories were expensive. His organization spent roughly $23 million between the four states.
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