Newark Mayor Cory Booker and New Jersey
Senate President Steve Sweeney are among the Democrats criticizing
Governor Chris Christie's call to let voters decide on gay
Christie made his remarks as a bill
that would make New Jersey the seventh state to legalize gay marriage
cleared the Senate Judiciary Committee with an 8 to 4 vote.
Christie broke weeks of silence on the
issue on Tuesday, calling on lawmakers to put the question before
voters and vowed to veto the measure if it reached his desk.
“Let the people of New Jersey decide
what is right for the state,” he said.
cheers Chris Christie's decision to veto New Jersey gay marriage
“I shudder to think what would have
happened if the civil rights gains, heroically established by
courageous lawmakers in the 1960s, were instead conveniently left up
to popular votes in our 50 states,” Booker said in a statement.
“Equal protection under the law –
for race, religion, gender or sexual orientation – should not be
subject to the most popular sentiments of the day. Marriage equality
is not a choice. It is a legal right. I hope our leaders in Trenton
will affirm and defend it.”
Booker earlier appeared
in a video for the Human Rights Campaign's (HRC) Americans for
Marriage Equality campaign.
“We vote on issues here, we don't put
civil rights on the ballot,” Sweeney said during a press conference
in response to Christie.
When a reporter suggested that
lawmakers were wasting their time debating a bill that the governor
has pledged to veto, Sweeney responded: “The point of going through
a fight for civil rights, are you kidding me? For standing up for
people to give them the same rights? I'm offended by that.”
“[I]f the governor wants to stifle
and silence his colleagues that's one thing, but he's not going to
stifle or silence us. Someone has to stand up for equality and
fairness.” (The video is embedded in the right panel of this page.
our video library for more videos.)