New Jersey Governor Chris Christie on
Tuesday said that if one of his four children came out gay, he would
hug them and tell them they could not marry.
Christie, a Republican, made his
remarks during the second and final televised gubernatorial debate
against his Democratic challenger, state Senator Barbara Buono.
Christie, who last year vetoed a bill
allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry and is defending
the state's ban in court, reiterated his belief that the issue of
whether to legalize gay nuptials should be decided “by the people,
by referendum,” not politicians or judges.
Buono, whose youngest daughter, Tessa
Bitterman, is gay, said that marriage equality is a “human rights
Noting Buono's gay daughter, Brigid
Harrison, a professor of political science and law at Montclair State
University, which hosted the debate, asked: “I want to ask you if
Andrew or Sarah or Patrick or Bridget came to you and said, 'Daddy,
I'm gay. And I want to marry the love of my life,' what would you
say to them?”
“If my children came to me and said
that they were gay, I would grab them and hug them and tell them I
love them,” Christie answered. “But what I would also tell them
is, that dad believes that marriage is between one man and one woman.
And that's my position. And my children understand that there are
going to be differences of opinion in our house and in houses all
across this state and across this country.”