When New Jersey Governor Chris Christie vetoed the marriage equality bill passed by the legislature earlier this year, he said the issue should be put to voters in a referendum.
"The fact of the matter is, I think people would have been happy to have a referendum on civil rights rather than fighting and dying in the streets in the South," he said at the time.
Lawmakers and advocates expressed offense at the idea of putting civil rights to a popular vote, and the recent success of marriage equality referendums in Maine, Maryland and Washington has not changed their minds.
"I still don’t believe we should put civil rights onto a referendum," Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg, a sponsor of the marriage equality legislation, told the Star-Ledger.
While some observers say New Jersey voters would pass such a referendum, Democratic legislative leaders and advocates prefer the potential routes of a veto override or a case pending in state Supreme Court. The legislature has until January 2014 to find the two-thirds majority needed to override Christie’s veto, a move that would require more support from Republican lawmakers.