N.J. governor issues "conditional veto" of gay marriage

Fri Feb 17, 2012 5:30pm EST

New Jersey governor Chris Christie introduces Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney during a campaign rally in West Des Moines, Iowa December 30, 2011, ahead of the Iowa Caucus on January 3, 2012.  REUTERS/Rick Wilking

New Jersey governor Chris Christie introduces Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney during a campaign rally in West Des Moines, Iowa December 30, 2011, ahead of the Iowa Caucus on January 3, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Rick Wilking

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(Reuters) - Republican New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie vetoed a bill legalizing same-sex marriage on Friday, one day after the state Assembly voted in favor of the measure that had been previously approved by the Senate.

In issuing what he called a "conditional veto," Christie called for the creation of an ombudsman for civil unions of same-sex couples who would "carry on New Jersey's strong tradition of tolerance and fairness."

"The ombudsman will be charged with increasing awareness of the law regarding civil unions, will provide a clear point of contact for those who have questions or concerns and will be required to report any evidence of the law being violated. In this way, we can ensure equal treatment under the law," Christie said in a statement.

Christie had promised to veto the bill for weeks, saying voters should decide the issue in a referendum. A supporter of Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney, Christie is often mentioned as a potential vice-presidential candidate.

(Reporting Dave Warner; Editing by Daniel Trotta)

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