In the span of four days last week, both houses of the New Jersey State Legislature approved a bill that would legalize same-sex marriage.
Within 24 hours, Gov. Chris Christie had vetoed it, as he'd promised, saying that he would prefer the issue be decided in a November ballot referendum. Proponents of the bill say it’s a civil rights issue and shouldn’t come to that.
In Collingswood, residents and visitors are trying to figure out what to make of the news, which came and went inside of a very busy week for lawmakers.
A Merchantville resident who identified himself only as Larry said, “I never really think about it. I don’t really see what the big deal is.”
“Get over it,” said his companion, Jody, also of Merchantville, who believes that future generations will come to regard marriage as a civil right.
“I’m very happy that there’s been progress,” said Mike Snyder of Grooveground. Snyder said he was pleased that both houses of the State Legislature approved the measure and that Christie’s veto of the measure “was not unexpected.”
Snyder said he can’t wait until the day same-sex marriage is legalized. Although he is disappointed by the veto, he says Christie "is a man of his word” who also has one eye on the national Republican stage.
“He’s not going to sign it into law until his presidential aspirations have failed,” Snyder said.
Jim Brown of Mays Landing, who was visiting his daughter Amanda for dinner at Woksabi, said he thinks that same-sex marriage should be "up to the localities" to decide.
“I don’t believe that’s an issue that the government should legislate,” he said. “People should be free to do what they want as long as they don’t hurt anybody."
Joe Bonaparte of East Knight Avenue said the governor’s veto “doesn’t seem fair.”
“To paraphrase Newark Mayor Cory Booker: You cannot dictate civil rights to the whim of the day,’” Bonaparte said.
Candice Kirkride and Kevin Parra of Southampton are also in favor of same-sex marriage. Kirkride suggested that Christie’s perspective might soften if the issue were more personal to him.
“People want to get married for love, not money,” she said. “They should be able to do that.”
Kevin Wallace of Philadelphia said he’s “not the biggest fan” of same-sex marriage, but added that couples who want to marry should be able to have the option.
“I don’t know how I feel about legalizing it,” Wallace said, but “the way the word love’s thrown around today, anything that puts a little less hate in the world can’t be bad.”