Activists attack NJ Governor for suggesting people vote on gay marriage

Thu. January 26, 2012 5:06 PM by News Staff

Newark, N.J. - New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who wants voters to decide on gay marriage, is being blasted by African-American leaders for saying that people "would have been happy" to vote on black civil rights.

"The fact of the matter is, I think people would have been happy to have a referendum on civil rights rather than fighting and dying in the streets in the South," he said.

"[The Governor] better sit down with some of New Jersey's great teachers for a history lesson, because his puzzling comment shows a complete misunderstanding about the civil rights movement," said New Jersey Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver.

Christie said this week he would veto a gay marriage bill, if one were actually passed by the state legislature, and that there isn't anything
"so special about this particular issue that it must be handled by a legislature."

"Dear God, we should not be putting civil rights issues to a popular vote, to be subject to the sentiments, the passions of the day," said Newark Mayor Cory Booker, according to Talking Points Memo.

The New Jersey Star-Ledger said that Christie tried to clarify his position the next day, by pointing out that polls show a majority of New Jersey residents support gay marriage. But gay leaders oppose the idea of a popular vote.

"We oppose a referendum one thousand percent. There would be no civil rights in this country — certainly nowhere near what we have — if it were determined by referendum," said Garden State Equality President Steve Goldstein.