Chris Christie on Civil Rights
In the past, the governor favored civil unions but not same-sex marriage. He dropped New Jersey's challenge to a court decision legalizing gay marriage in 2013.
Still, he added, the issue is "settled" in New Jersey, unless there's an unexpected change in the state's solidly Democratic legislature. Christie, who opposes same-sex marriage, drew flak from conservatives for deciding to halt a court battle over the issue last year. He said that he made the call because he would have lost anyway: "When I know that I've been defeated, you don't bang your head against the wall anymore and spend taxpayer money to do it," said Christie. He said the issue should be left to the states, noting that "an overwhelming majority of states currently still ban same-sex marriage."
"If my children came to me and said they were gay I would grab them and hug them and tell them I love them," Christie said. "I would also tell them that your dad believes that marriage is between one man and one woman."
Christie noted that DOMA originated with a Republican Congress & Democratic president. "I thought that Justice (Anthony) Kennedy's opinion in many respects was incredibly insulting to those people, 340-some members of Congress who voted for the Defense of Marriage Act, and Bill Clinton," he said. "They basically said the only reason to pass that bill was to demean people."
Christie calls for voters to decide the issue in each state [which pleases liberals]. His opposition to gay marriage could maintain his conservative bone fides while pacifying GOP voters in early primary states.
"While Christie doesn't support marriage equality, he does have a good record," said a spokesman from the gay conservative group GOProud. "He also does a good job of talking about how he's thought about how issues affect gay people."
As a Roman Catholic--and as someone who would have to work hard to earn conservatives' trust in a GOP primary--Christie is not likely to be the first to step out with a personal endorsement of gay marriage. But he could well be the first to argue that his personal opinion doesn't mean gays shouldn't be allowed to marry.
"It has been my view all along that the decision on whether or not to close a developmental center is first and foremost a civil rights issue and not a budgetary issue," wrote Governor Christie. "To ensure a better quality of life for individuals with developmental disabilities, New Jersey must provide these individuals with developmental disabilities with the ability to live in the most integrated setting appropriate to their needs."
A: I'll tell you, in New Jersey we have a civil union law. And we had a very vigorous debate in late 2009, early 2010--before I became governor--about same-sex marriage, and it failed in the state legislature under a Democratic legislature with Democratic Governor Jon Corzine. And so my view on it is, in our state we're going to continue to pursue civil unions. I am not a fan of same-sex marriage. It's not something that I support. I believe marriage should be between one man and one woman. That's my view, and that'll be the view of our state because I wouldn't sign a bill like the one that was in New York.
A: Well, my religion says it's a sin. But for me, I've always believed that people are born with the predisposition to be homosexual. And so I think if someone is born that way it's very difficult to say then that's a sin. But I understand that my Church says that but for me personally I don't look at someone who is homosexual as a sinner.
Q: You support civil unions. You don't support gay marriage. Can you see a situation where you would change your mind about that?
A: I don't think so. I believe marriage is an institution between one man and one woman. I think it's special and unique in society and I think we can have civil unions that help to give the same type of legal rights to same-sex couples that marriage gives them but I just think marriage is a special connotation. I couldn't change my mind on that but I am in favor of making sure that homosexual couples have the same type of legal rights that heterosexual couples have.
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