As promised, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has vetoed the state’s marriage equality legislation that passed on Thursday.


“I am adhering to what I’ve said since this bill was first introduced—an issue of this magnitude and importance, which requires a constitutional amendment, should be left to the people of New Jersey to decide,” Christie said in a statement. “I continue to encourage the Legislature to trust the people of New Jersey and seek their input by allowing our citizens to vote on a question that represents a profoundly significant societal change. This is the only path to amend our State Constitution and the best way to resolve the issue of same-sex marriage in our state.”

“Don’t be fooled by the governor’s call for a public referendum or his idea of an ombudsman for civil union—it is nothing more than a political smoke screen designed to cover the tracks of those retreating from their leadership and lawmaking responsibilities,” Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg said. “Civil unions have already proven to be a failure and no ombudsman can change that.”

In the meantime, couples will continue fighting in courts. Seven gay couples and their children have sued, claiming that the state’s civil union law does not provide the intended benefits, with the couples backing up their statements with testimony.

Lawmakers in the Garden State will have until the end of the legislative session in January 2014 to override the Republican governor’s veto, which will require two-thirds of the lawmakers in the Assembly and Senate to support.