Christie tries to duck marriage equality with referendum proposal

Chris Christie, usually one to rush to put his stamp on any given issue, is scared of marriage equality.

So scared that he doesn’t want to be the one who decides it.

This is how he probably figures it:

1. He realizes he is on the wrong side of history here and how damaging outright opposition to marriage equality could be to his political fortunes in the long term.

2. But he has to placate the parts of the Republican base which are rabidly anti-marriage equality.

3. So he tries to claim that he takes a middle road by letting people vote on it.

4. And he tells Republicans who are caught in a similar bind – like Kip Bateman, scared of support for marriage equality in places in his district like Princeton and South Brunswick – to do the same.

But civil rights aren’t for the ballot box. Should the right to interracial marriage have been decided at the ballot box forty years ago? The right of Muslim-Americans to enjoy equal rights as Americans be decided that way today? What makes marriage equality different from those scenarios?

Governor, this is your chance to lead – not to cower behind leaving the decision to others. There’s still time.

Comments (26)

  1. Rosi Efthim

    GOP members of Senate Judiciary repeated their boss’ call for referendum today. Apparently the only civil right they think the public should vote up or down.  

  2. the pollster

    Didn’t the Supreme Court already say that same-sex couples have the right to marriage? And that it was up to the leg to determine CU or ME?

    They gave us CU, which has been shown, time and time again, not to work and isn’t equal. My email from Citarelli said that he prefers buffing up CU (that old canard), or, failing that, the great and glorious referendum.

    It strikes me that a referendum goes against the Supreme Ct decision.

    Lawyers? What say you?


  3. carolh

    was brought up twice today and how that is supposed to work.  I forget who was speaking – I was listening in from home, but I think one was Sweeney.  The reference to the fact that “this isn’t California”, may have been lost on some, but I think this should be a good starting point to argue from.  We elect folks to make these decisions for us, otherwise, why have a legislature?  The danger of referendums on civil rights is that you can have popular opinion on one hand and justice on the other.  The two are not mutually exclusive but sometimes they don’t agree.  We shouldn’t wait to give justice to all  just because some folks want to preserve the right to discriminate.

  4. carolh

    “torture” as one Senator said. Get a veto-proof majority and let Christie off the hook.  Christie can look at his rightwing friends and shrug and say it’s out of his hands.  

  5. Bertin Lefkovic

    If Bateman and any other pro-referendum advocates in the Assembly and the Senate wrote a constitutional amendment bill, is there any mechanism through which they could get a floor vote other than  the normal channels?

    What leverage does Christie have to force Oliver and Sweeney (in addition to their bosses, Adubato and Norcross) to bring a referendum bill to the floor for a vote?

    It would be great if SML Weinberg and/or Steven could educate us about the avenues that Christie and his allies might have to get a referendum bill to the floors of the Assembly and the Senate for a vote  so that we can put pressure on the right people to prevent this from happening.

  6. Bertin Lefkovic

    I’ll bet that the title of this comment is going to shock firstamend07.

    But Senate President Steve Sweeney said “Let me address this issue right now. Civil rights is not to be placed on the ballot.”

    Let’s hope that he sticks to his guns on this position.

  7. Nick Lento

    ….and Christie at his worst.

    Calling for a referendum will not give Republicans the cover they desire.

    Being against Marriage Equality is both politically and morally bankrupt.  

    Bigotry is wrong.  Period.

  8. Helios

    Today a progressive colleague of mine told me he thought it would be good for ME to come up for a vote, because it would certainly pass in New Jersey. I had to set him straight:

    1) It’s absolutely insulting to a minority to have their civil rights put up for a majority vote. We wouldn’t think of asking majority white resident communities to vote on whether they believe their public schools should be segregated (I dare say I fear how some might vote even today!) Separate but equal is wrong because it is inherently unjust – no matter how many people support it.

    2) A positive outcome is by no means assured. Even though a good margin of NJ residents express support for ME, they may not be committed enough to come out and vote. Which voters would be committed? Those who ME affects directly (gay voters) and those who are motivated to stop it (backed by large institutions like the Catholic and LDS churches). In order for a ME referendum to succeed, all those armchair supporters who think ME is OK would have to bother to get off their butts to vote. Sorry, but I’d rather not trust my civil rights to our lazy electorate.

    There are many people who see this as a good idea. We need to let them know why it’s not.

  9. True Sue

    been put on ballots in over 30 states …if it’s good enough for over half the country it should be good enough for this state ! Put it to a vote  

  10. True Sue

    CC will veto the bill ,and once again Sweeney is putting his interest above the gay community .When will you people ever learn with this guy ,Sweeney only serves his own interests . We all know he never posted this bill two years ago because it felt it would hurt his reelection chances ,well now that that has past he’s back on the band wagon to garner all the votes he can for his shot at being Governor ,at all our expense  

  11. True Sue

    Sweeney refuses to let the people decide because of his fear the conservative vote will come out in droves to vote it down and ,this this being a election I’m sure Obama told Sweeney …NO WAY ….so now we all lose .again  


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