Recently, Gov. Chris Christie sidestepped taking a stance against gay marriage by saying he’d veto the measure, but not necessarily because he’s anti-marriage-equality: He just wants New Jersey voters to make the decision, not lawmakers.Openly gay legislator Reed Gusciora thought that route was similar to wanting to put segregation to a vote in the South. Gusciora even issued a release last week comparing Christie to segregationist politicans: “Govs. Lester Maddox and George Wallace would have found an ally in Chris Christie over efforts by the Justice Department to end segregation in the South.”
Now Christie is firing back, calling Gusciora a “numbnuts” and telling reporters to “call B.S.” on press releases like Gusciora’s.
“The political climate in the South didn’t give them the option to have a referendum back then,” Christie said, adding later: “They wished they would have had the option, but the political climate did not permit it, meaning they would not win.”
Christie is right that the climate for gay rights is better than civil rights in the ’50s and ’60s (about 52% of NJ voters support gay marriage), but that doesn’t mean that lawmakers shouldn’t do their job and advance today’s civil-rights issues when they see fit.
He’s accusing his opponents of playing politics here, but he’s doing the same: If he doesn’t support marriage equality himself, he should use that as his reasoning to veto gay marriage, not pretend to support the right of voters to decide on civil-rights issues.
Christie has also said that Bruce Harris, the openly gay African-American whom he appointed to the state Supreme Court, should not rule on gay-rights issues. “If confirmed to the court,” Christie said, “[Harris] would recuse himself from that matter because he did not want there to be the appearance of bias on his part on that issue.”