New Jersey Governor Chris Christie on Friday argued that a gay marriage bill he recently vetoed was not about rights.

Christie, a supporter of the state's civil unions law, vetoed the bill as promised the day after lawmakers approved it.

The governor has also called for a public vote on the issue. (A recent poll found that 57 percent of respondents favor marriage equality and 67 percent approve of Christie's proposal to let voters decide the issue at the ballot box.)

When a 15-year-old female student at Fort Lee high school asked Christie about his veto during a town hall broadcast on MSNBC, he argued that the rights of gay and lesbian couples are “aggressively” protected in his state.

“Recently you passed an anti-bullying law, which I really am appreciative for, because bullying should not be allowed in the state of New Jersey, so I really thank you for that. However, one of the main reasons why kids even do get bullied in school is whether or not they're homosexual. And recently there has been a bill to allow gay rights in the state of New Jersey. Can you tell me what was your decision to veto the bill?”

“I did veto a bill on gay marriage, not on gay rights,” Christie answered. “And gay rights are protected and protected aggressively in New Jersey. But listen, this is something I feel strongly about. I think marriage is between one man and one woman, but I also know that people have very different opinions about that in our state. So what I've said to folks after vetoing the bill, let's put it on the ballot. If a majority of people in New Jersey want to have same-sex marriage, then vote for it and I'll be governed by it. But I don't think that's a decision that should be made by 121 people in Trenton alone. It's a major change in the way we've governed our society.” (The video is embedded in the right panel of this page. Visit our video library for more videos.)