NJ gov wants referendum on marriage

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie apologized Tuesday night for suggesting that blacks would have “been happy” to put their civil rights up for a vote rather than “fighting and dying” for those rights in the South.

Christie made his remark on January 24 to explain why he was advocating that New Jersey include a referendum on marriage licenses for same-sex couples on this November’s ballot.

“People would have been happy with a referendum on civil rights rather than fighting and dying in the streets of the South,” he told reporters, according to a number of news reports.

Former U.S. Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), a prominent civil rights activist working for equality for African Americans, chastised Christie, saying, “Apparently, the governor of this state has not read his recent history books.”

Others complained, too, including the openly gay State Assemblyman, Reed Gusciora, who is the chief sponsor of the bill currently in the legislature seeking to enable gay couples to obtain marriage licenses.

Christie shot back, calling Gusciora a “numb nut” and refusing to apologize for that. Christie also reiterated he plans to veto any marriage equality bill that the legislature sends to his desk. But he said he would abide by the results if voters supported same-sex marriage.

A Senate committee has approved a marriage equality bill and an Assembly committee is expected to do so February 2, according to Bloomberg.com.

Three-fifths of the state legislature would have to agree to put a referendum on the ballot.

Just one day before proposing the referendum and making his controversial remark, Christie appointed an openly gay man, Bruce A. Harris, to the New Jersey Supreme Court. Christie told reporters Harris said he would recuse himself from hearing any cases related to same-sex marriage because he has supported allowing gay couples to marry.

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