Assemblyman who originally opposed same-sex marriage bill will support veto override

A GOP Assembly lawmaker who originally opposed a bill to permit same-sex marriage in New Jersey now says he will vote to override Gov. Chris Christie’s veto if a bill hits the Assembly floor.

Assemblyman Chris A. Brown said during a Wednesday evening legislative debate he would vote to override the Republican governor’s veto. Brown’s announcement marks the first time during the lead up to an override vote that a lawmaker who voted against the same-sex marriage bill last year publically announced they would change their vote.

“This is a decision I came to on my own,” Brown said following the debate after telling Atlantic City residents civil rights shouldn’t be decided by a ballot referendum – as Christie has advocated.

“I just believe when it comes to civil rights, I don’t believe it’s appropriate for the public to vote on it,” he said.

Supporters of same-sex marriage in the state have indicated recently they are growing increasingly confident they will garner enough votes to override Christie’s veto. However, they still have ground to make up in persuading more lawmakers to join their cause.

Republican Assembly lawmakers Declan O’Scanlon and Holly Schepisi have both said publically they would vote in favor of an override. Both lawmakers were absent during the same-sex marriage vote last year.

Brown would be the first lawmaker who cast a “no” vote in 2012 to vote in favor of same-sex marriage if an override is posted for a vote in the coming months.

"He’s obviously working very, very hard at it. I mean he’s traveling all over the country as chairman of the [Republican Governors Association] and I think at this point he has as good a chance or better than anybody else. His name is household word all across the country, and I think he would make a great president."
—former U.S. Rep. Jim Saxton (R-3), on Gov. Chris Christie