The latest Kean University/NJ Speaks poll found 57 percent of voters support a public referendum on whether to allow same-sex couples to get married, while 32 percent oppose such a measure. However, public support for a vote on the issue and support for gay marriage are by no means equivocal. “A lot of opponents of gay marriage also favor putting it on the ballot because they think their side is going to win,” said Terry Golway, Director of the Kean University Center for History, Politics and Policy. When asked simply if they favor or oppose gay marriage, 48 percent of those polled favor it while 37 percent are opposed.
Proponents of marriage equality want their freedoms upheld in the courts or the legislature. They argue that marriage is a civil right and as such should never be put to a vote before the general public. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who personally opposes gay marriage and is prepared to veto the bill currently before the state legislature, has called for the issue to be put on the ballot – echoing what many opponents of gay marriage have been arguing for years.
Democratic members of the Assembly are meeting this afternoon to discuss the bill, which has already cleared the Assembly and Senate judiciary committees. Senate President Stephen Sweeney says he has at least the 21 votes needed to pass the bill in the upper house and has scheduled a State Senate vote a week from today. Supporters are still trying to line up the 41 votes needed for the bill to pass in the lower house.
While most voters support Christie’s position on the gay marriage referendum, there was less support for the Governor’s proposed cross-the-board 10 percent income tax cut. Thirty-nine percent of voters think such a cut would help the state’s fiscal crisis. But the majority of voters said the proposed tax cut would either worsen economic conditions or have no impact. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus three percentage points.