Chris Christie | Gay Marriage | John Lewis | New Jersey | News

NJ Governor Chris Christie, in Hot Water Over Civil Rights Remarks, Calls Gay Lawmaker 'Numbnuts'

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, facing criticism over remarks he made last week after calling for a voter referendum on same-sex marriage, in which he suggested African-Americans pursuing their civil rights would have wanted a voter referendum, sought to clarify those remarks in a press conference today.

ChristieSaid Christie last week: "The fact of the matter is I think people would have been happy to have a referendum on civil rights rather than fighting and dying in the streets in the South.”

Following Christie's statement, out gay Assemblyman Reed Gusciora lashed out at him: "Govs. Lester Maddox and George Wallace would have found allies in Chris Christie over efforts by the Justice Department to end segregation in the South."

Christie sought to clarify his remarks in a press conference today: “The political climate in the South didn’t give them the option to have a referendum back then. They wished they would have had the option, but the political climate did not permit it, meaning they would not win.”

He also hit back at Gusciora:

Christie said “numbnuts like (Assemblyman) Reed Gusciora should be ashamed of themselves” for comparing him to Maddox and Wallace.

Watch Christie's press conference earlier today, AFTER THE JUMP...


Meanwhile, today Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver and Congressman Rush Holt will be joined by Rep. John Lewis (D-GA), a Freedom Rider and then student activist who was beaten for leading protests against racial discrimination, at a press conference today to discuss Christie's remarks.

Holt condemned Christie's comments ahead of the presser:

“I just thought it was unbelievable, unreal,” he said. “He’s a lawyer, governor and not to know that putting the issue of civil rights – segregation and racial discrimination in the American south – to a vote?  We would have never made it during the 40s, the 50s or the 60s. Most of the governors except for a few of the states were outright segregationist. And most of these states in the old confederacy, people of color could not register to vote.”

Watch Christie's press conference earlier today, AFTER THE JUMP...

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  1. Baby steps, eh, TJ? Maybe one ahead of the straight homophobes.

    Posted by: Ernie | Jan 30, 2012 11:12:50 PM

  2. Christie is clearly wrong on the referendum issue, but if someone compared me to bigoted segregationists like Lester Maddox and George Wallace , I would have called him a lot worse than "numbnuts".How do you compare Christie who just a week ago nominated an asian man and a gay black man to the New Jersey Supreme Court to those two racists bigots?

    Posted by: Jack | Jan 30, 2012 11:34:21 PM

  3. Gay Republican Rick conveniently ignores the fact that Corey Booker an African American is a staunch supporter of gay rights. Gay Republican Rick also conveniently ignores the fact that the congressional black caucus voted to repeal DADT while his own party overwhelmingly voted against it.
    Poor gay Republican Rick, it's not black people preventing you from getting equal rights, take a look at the bigots in your own party who you vote for every election cycle to keep your tax cut. People like Chris Christie and Mitt Romney who you will be voting for in November.

    If interracial marriages were put up for popular vote in the southern states today, there is no guarantee it will survive the ballot box.

    Posted by: NY2.0 | Jan 31, 2012 1:23:45 AM

  4. @Ernie and NY2.0 First of all, I noted that there are individual African-Americans who are supportive of gay rights and that they should be acknowledged and appreciated......just as there are individual Republicans of whom one can say the same thing. And it is certainly true that many black professional politicians within the Democratic Party understand quite well that they cannot be in favor of homophobic policies publicly and officially if they want to remain in the good graces of the liberal Establishment that dominates the party, regardless of their personal convictions......which undoubtedly at least partially explains the vote that NY2.0 referred to on DADT, as well as Corey Booker's stance (he has much bigger ambitions than being Mayor of Newark)

    But try as you might, the reality is that, out on the street, in real life, where it really matters, most blacks are, as I said, decidedly homophobic....and most opinion polls (as well as the results of referendums of the sort I alluded to) now demonstrate that they are even more homophobic than most Republicans are.

    I realize that that is inconvenient for your highly partisan goals, but I don't care about partisan politics--I care about seeing social change.

    Posted by: Rick | Jan 31, 2012 10:41:33 AM

  5. Republicans don't know they're racist. Look at Gingrich, Santorum, Romney. They're so out of touch with reality that they don't realize that their remarks are offensive. Why should this racist idiot be any different?

    Posted by: wimsy | Jan 31, 2012 11:20:44 AM

  6. @Rick, something tells me that you don't know too many (if any black people). The black people that are homophobic follow christian dogma and thump their bibles just like the vast majority of the GOP base. The only thing is that they don't vote Republican, sucks huh?

    Funny you quote opinion polls but fail to provide any links while ignoring the rampant homophobia in the GOP base that you lovingly support. Black people are not the ones preventing you from gaining any rights Ricky, it's your own party!

    "but I don't care about partisan politics--I care about seeing social change."

    LOL what a load of crap, you vote by your pocket book which is why you support Chris Christie and Mitt Romney, just admit it, you care more about tax cuts than social change.

    Posted by: NY2.0 | Jan 31, 2012 1:01:14 PM

  7. "if someone compared me to bigoted segregationists like Lester Maddox and George Wallace"

    He might not LIKE the comparison but if the shoe fits...

    How exactly does opposition toward full equality for a segment of the population differ from those politicians? Gay rights are the Civil Rights movement of TODAY and he opposes it. And so far as his appointment of the gay, black Republican judge goes, there's good reason to believe that was designed to give himself and other politician political cover for their anti-gay attitudes, for claiming that marriage equality SHOULD be put to popular vote even though he's admitted here it would never have worked for other groups.

    Have you ever looked at the photos of the angry white men and women of the 1950s and 1960s, yelling in support of segregation, and at black students on their way to school? That's what being on the wrong side of history looks like. Christie and others like him would do well to look at that photos because their faces will be there soon enough. Cowardice and craven political ambition are not an excuse.

    Posted by: Caliban | Jan 31, 2012 1:31:02 PM

  8. @NY2.0 Dude, rapsters are not known for their propensity to attend church services come Sunday morning, nor are their audiences.....and they regularly pepper their lyrics with the most blatant homophobic terms in existence (which even the most right-wing Country & Western singers don't do).

    Sorry, but it is not just the Bible-thumpers among black people who are intensely just isn't.

    Posted by: Rick | Jan 31, 2012 2:03:51 PM

  9. @Rick, you're again ignoring the rampant homophobia of your own party by trying to create a boogie man in black people. My gay Republican friend, it is not regular black folks or rappers that are discriminating against you and preventing you from getting married. It's your own Republican family and "friends."

    You are the classic example of a conservative, blaming women and other minority groups for America's problems.

    Posted by: NY2.0 | Feb 1, 2012 1:33:00 AM

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