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BREAKING NEWS: Republican governor of New Jersey vetoes marriage-equality bill

TRENTON, N.J. – As promised, Republican Gov. Chris Christie has vetoed the marriage-equality bill that was sent to his desk today.

The Democratic-controlled New Jersey Assembly voted 42-33 on Thursday to approve a bill legalizing marriage equality in the Garden State. On Monday, the state Senate voted 24-16 to approve the bill.

Christie has said that the issue should be put to a public vote, but critics say that civil rights should never be voted upon.

Currently, it does not appear that the New Jersey Legislature has the two-thirds votes in both chambers to overturn the threatened veto. The Senate needs 27 votes to override the veto, and the Assembly needs 54 votes. The legislature would have until January 2014 to override the veto.

The latest poll by Quinnipiac University showed that New Jersey voters approved marriage equality by a margin of 52% to 42%.

New Jersey legalized civil unions in 2007, and several attempts to approve same-sex marriage have faltered.

On Monday, Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire signed into law a bill that legalizes marriage equality in that state. Washington becomes the seventh state to legalize marriage equality, joining Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York and Vermont, along with the District of Columbia.

Gov. Gregoire, a Catholic like Gov. Christie, send a letter on Jan. 31 to her colleague in New Jersey, but he has failed to respond to her request to talk about how she has evolved on the issue of marriage equality during her eight years as governor.

Maryland and Illinois are soon to debate same-sex marriage, and California residents are awaiting a final decision on Proposition 8 after the District Court and the Appeals Court found that the law is unconstitutional. Marriage-equality supporters in Hawaii and Rhode Island are planning to push their state lawmakers to upgrade civil unions to full marriage equality.