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|N.J. Gov. Christie says voters would support gay marriage referendum|
|by Ryan Watkins|
|February 06, 2012 12:09|
New Jersey's Gov. Chris Christie took heat last week for suggesting that the voters of New Jersey be allowed, by ballot referendum, to decide whether the state should allow same-sex couples to marry. Marriage supporters in the state vowed to press on through the state's legislature, despite a promised veto from first-term Republican Gov. Christie.
“If a majority of people want it, prove it,” Christie was reported as saying. “Let them vote on it. They’ll get in the privacy of the voting booth and make their choice.”
The statement outraged the state's legislative leaders, who called a press conference to respond to Christie's idea.
Georgia's U.S. Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga. 5), an ardent supporter of LGBT rights, recently attended the press conference meant to criticize Christie over his suggestion that the marriage equality issue be put to the voters as a referendum rather than through the state's legislature.
A new poll released by Kean University/NJ Speaks found that a majority of the state's residents would support putting the issue on the November ballot, according to the Star-Ledger. Some 48 percent of the state's voters would support a marriage referendum, while 37 of likely voters would not, according to the poll.
“I've said over the years that I fought too long and too hard against discrimination based on race and color, not to stand up and speak out against discrimination based on sexual orientation,” Lewis said at the Jan. 31 press conference.
Lewis also related the LGBT rights movement to the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s and chastised the idea that the voters should decide the issue.
“Apparently the governor of this state has not read a recent history book,” Lewis said. “The action of Congress, executive orders of presidents and the courts brought down those signs that said white men, colored men, white women, colored women.”
Lewis went on to say that marriage equality is a question of “human dignity.”
“The day will come when look back at this time in history and say, 'we were just silly,'” Lewis said. “Let's do what is right, what is fair and what is just.”
Top photo: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (via New Jersey Office of the Governor)
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