Chris Christie | Gay Marriage | New Jersey | News

NJ Diner Customer Engages Chris Christie In Same-Sex Marriage Debate At Campaign Stop

A New Jersey diner does not necessarily conjure images of political debate, but Governor Chris Christie found himself embroiled in one on Tuesday morning. When Bert Bueno, a customer at an Edison, NJ diner decided to question Christie about his same-sex marriage politics, the resulting conversation was remarkably calm and reinforced much of what we already knew about the Republican's stance. 

ChristieChristie vetoed same-sex marriage legislation last year and, in response to the recent court ruling which affirmed the rights of same-sex couples to marry in the Garden State, he has said that he would like the issue to be decided at the ballot box. His critics believe that same-sex marriage, as a human rights issue, has no place being voted on as a general ballot measure. 

The Star-Ledger reports:

"How come you're in opposition?" Bueno, a straight woman, asked.

"Listen: Lots of different people have different views on this," Christie responded. "I think marriage should be between a man and a woman.

"My view is: If you want to change it, put it on the ballot," he continued. "Let everybody decide. It shouldn't be decided by courts, it shouldn't be decided by politicians in Trenton. It should be decided by everybody. If the majority of the people of New Jersey want same-sex marriage, I'll enforce the law."

BarbbuonoNew polls suggest that a ballot measure in support of same-sex marriage would likely be passed. Nearly two-thirds of those polled agreed with Judge Jacobson's decision to legalize gay marriage, and Christie's opponent in the upcoming election, State Senator Barbara Buono (right) is defiantly pro-gay rights.

"It's a human rights issue," Bueno insisted.

"Says you," Christie responded. "The fact is: We've been very supportive of a lot of other things, like banning gay conversion therapy. This is an issue where we have an honest difference of opinion. Okay, so you put it on the ballot — you vote your way, I vote my way. And whoever gets the most votes wins."

When asked whether or not he would engage with the LGBT community in order to understand their feelings on the issue, Christie replied:

"I have relatives who are gay, I have friends who are gay," Christie said. "I think I have an understanding. That's not the point. We have a difference of opinion.

He continued: "The fact is: I'm open to having conversations with anybody, but I don't think it's going to change my point of view."

"I appreciate this interaction," Bueno told Christie.

"Sure," the governor said. "Me too."

Kudos to Bueno for utilizing a campaign stop, usually reduced to mundane cheering and celebration, for the furthering of a political cause. What do you think of their interaction? Will this press impact his campaign bid negatively? 

(Photo of Governor Christie via Facebook)

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  1. Christie appears to have a lock in his re-election campaign over his Democratic opponent. However, I find it amazing that so many New Jersey Dems and Independents find Christie's GOPer credentials so much to their liking - including his anti-SSM position - that they'll give him another term as their governor. Moderate or not, he IS a Rethuglican in a blueish state. Remember that when you keep his GOPer star burning bright on the national stage as he prepares his 2016 presidential run.

    Posted by: HadenoughBS | Oct 9, 2013 9:05:25 AM

  2. Marriage isn't a human right because gays aren't human?

    Posted by: rick scatorum | Oct 9, 2013 9:06:17 AM

  3. Since New Jersey doesn't have a statewide initiative and referendum process, is Christie Kreme alluding to a vote on a state constitutional amendment? That's the only way I can think of this being put "on the ballot".

    Posted by: NotSafeForWork | Oct 9, 2013 9:08:36 AM

  4. Yes, civil rights should be decided by the masses. We knew that slavery was ok because the majority thought it was right at the time. Making colored people use different toilets was ok because the majority of people believed it at the time. Yes, the majority is always right in these things, so let's definitely vote on it instead of taking a stand for what's morally right.

    Posted by: JWL | Oct 9, 2013 9:08:56 AM

  5. Gov Christie may or may not personally support marriage equality. He is putting it to a vote of the people to save himself from the Teavangelicals in a Republican presidential primary. When they complain about SSM he can shrug and say it was the will of the people of New Jersey, states rights, mumble, mumble.

    Posted by: Gus | Oct 9, 2013 9:10:42 AM

  6. He is pig scum.

    Human or civil rights are not determined by public vote.

    Posted by: MaryM | Oct 9, 2013 9:15:38 AM

  7. Ah yes, ending slavery, anti-miscegenation laws, women's suffrage - all decided by public ballot - NOT. The rights of a minority CANNOT be decided by the majority.

    Posted by: Jeff | Oct 9, 2013 9:32:45 AM

  8. "Says you". Christie can never be challenged without giving a jerk response.

    Posted by: Dastius Krazitauc | Oct 9, 2013 9:37:47 AM

  9. @Jeff, actually the end of Suffrage in the USA, as brought on by the 19th amendment was an example of the will of the people. The amendment had to be ratified at the ballot box and as part of the ratification process, required a significantly higher majority than a simple vote. Of course, it started because someone thought women were lower in standing then men.

    However, your point is valid. Your examples are the perfect model of our system of checks and balances and why entrusting civil rights to a whim of the people isn't appropriate.

    Posted by: NotSafeForWork | Oct 9, 2013 9:49:01 AM

  10. @Jeff I also very much like your comparison to the miscegenation laws. By the time Loving v Virginia was decided by the SCOTUS, all but 16 states had repealed their laws and 9 never had them in the first place.

    Another perfect example of the unequal standing that happens when Constitutional Civil Rights issues are left up to the interpretation of the states and why it's imperative the SCOTUS steps in and levels the field to ensure equality for all.

    Posted by: NotSafeForWork | Oct 9, 2013 9:57:12 AM

  11. So because NJ has been supportive of "other things," gay people should not be entitled to marriage equality? No, Governor Christie. Banning gay conversion therapy is as much a human rights issue as marriage equality. But this cretin doesn't get that.

    Posted by: Larry | Oct 9, 2013 9:59:59 AM

  12. Nothing says Jersey like a mom & pop (how do you say "mom & pop" in Greek?) diner!

    Chris Christie vetoed same-sex marriage in a state where the populace is quite progressive on social issues because his every action is motivated by his delusion that he has even a snow ball's chance in hell of becoming the Republican party's nominee for President of the USA in 2016 and to go on and win the general election. He is pandering to the nations' theocratic Christian fundamentalists who long ago hijacked the Republican party. His aspirations will be in vain. The Republican party is in an even greater state of disarray than in 2012 and even more beholden to extremists. Chris Christie will be the flavor of the week and at the top of the polls for a short while, probably early in the campaign, and then go down in flames when the primary process moves to more fundamentalist parts of the nation like South Carolina where, no matter what he says and does, a New Jersey Catholic will not win the vote. Chris Christie's veto of same-sex marriage will be his life-long legacy just as Alabama's Governor George Wallace's legacy is his infamous "Stand in the Schoolhouse Door" to prevent African-American students from registering at the University of Alabama. The Vivian Malone Jones's, James Hoods and James Merediths of the 21st Century are the same-sex couples standing outside the County Clerk's office asking for a marriage license. Chris Christie is on the wrong side of history, plain and simple, and his actions will eventually be universally viewed as cruel and wrong-headed. I would like to see New Jerseyans asked what Chris Christie has done for NJ. I bet they would be unable to offer a single answer. Chris Christie is popular in NJ because Chris Christie is blusterous in a state that likes that and he has garnered nation-wide attention for a state that has low self-esteem and an inferiority complex. For all his bluster he still hasn't done anything to ease the state's highest in the nation property tax. Doing so will require proposing difficult and unpopular measures that won't pave the way for a politician to set his sites on higher office. After a quarter of a century living there I left NJ last year and haven't looked back except to speak the truth to anyone who will listen about this flash-in-the-pan politician.

    Posted by: Bill | Oct 9, 2013 10:06:14 AM

  13. "A New Jersey diner does not necessarily conjure images of political debate"

    Clearly you have never been in a Jersey diner.

    Posted by: Rich F. | Oct 9, 2013 10:09:14 AM

  14. "Says you" says it all.

    Posted by: David Groff | Oct 9, 2013 10:09:21 AM

  15. I would suspect the entire thing was staged.

    Posted by: MEMARCH | Oct 9, 2013 10:32:15 AM

  16. I'd like to place on the ballot a law that says anyone over 250 pounds can be denied a marriage license in the State of New Jersey based upon my belief that obese people will pass their obesity gene to other generations and that will cost taxpayers money in the future.

    Hey, it is just a difference of opinion if you don't believe we should treat obese people differently than other people.

    Let's put it on the ballot, and if I lose, so be it, but if I win, I get to legally discriminate against the obese.

    Sound fair Gov. Christie?

    Posted by: DC Insider | Oct 9, 2013 10:54:07 AM

  17. Why does no one blow up that whole 'voting on personal rights at a ballot box' red-herring?!

    Why does another person's Civil Right depend on another stranger's comfort level.

    Pardon my saying so, but a real guy from Jersey doesn't a flying fk about some stranger's comfort level. jeeesh.

    Posted by: Pete N SFO | Oct 9, 2013 11:00:01 AM

  18. "It's a human rights issue," Bueno insisted.

    "Says you," Christie responded

    Says anyone with half a brain and ounce of empathy you self-centered, backwards hick.

    Posted by: Will | Oct 9, 2013 11:10:30 AM

  19. Once again his response is entirely BS and only fitted to his political aspirations and, contrary to his false assertions, it is precisely the role of courts and elected representatives to move civil rights forward. That is how it is done in the US. As it is the only thing currently standing between NJ and marriage equality is the Governor. One man deliberately holding civil rights hostage.

    Posted by: Ernie | Oct 9, 2013 11:13:28 AM

  20. Well, thank you for giving a little exposure to our ally Barbara Buono's massively underfunded campaign. I hope that this site will up its efforts to give her some sorely needed and well-deserved exposure in the coming weeks. She is a great and loyal ally of our community.

    Well said, HADENOUGHBS, Bill and others. While I agree that Christie faces some considerabe hurdles in his efforts to capture the nomination of a party increasingly run by extremists, we can't completely discount the possibility (and he clearly is not). Despite these trends, the party's nomination in each of the past two presidential elections has gone to a candidate, perceived as generally more "moderate" and electable than his rivals, who was deeply distrusted by the Teavangelical base. If Chistie should manage to secure the nomination - and he will have the support of much of the party's leadership and big funders, just as Romney did, because he will be seen as their only credible shot at winning - he will likely be the underdog in a nation which is turning bluer in presidential elections but he will absolutely have a shot at winning (you can't completely discount the candidacy of a man who is currently, and regrettably, ahead by a large margin in an election in one of the country's bluer states). If he should ever get to the White House - and I do not expect that he will - and starts appointing the conservative Republican judges that he no doubt will, we should be very clear that among those who will be the most to blame are those gay and lesbian and allegedly Democratic or progressive or LGBT-friendly New Jerseyans who had a chance to be part of stopping him in his tracks in 2013 and chose not to do so.

    Next month's gubernatorial election is a long, long shot for our side (and, by our side, I mean not Democrats but those who support equality for gay and lesbian people, for whom the clear choice is Barbara Buono). Still, there have been other recent elections where seemingly invincible Republican-ish candidates ended up getting much closer calls on Election Day than expected (1997 New Jersey gubernatorial election, 2009 NYC mayoral election) and where Dems might have actually won had many disillusioned Dems not thrown in the towel and stayed home. Regardless of the odds, this man (who also attacked Justice Kennedy and SCOTUS for what he labeled their "incredibly insulting" decision in Edie Windsor's case has waged war on us and we need to at least have the self-respect to put up a fight in response.

    Shame, shame, shame on all those gay and lesbian or allegedly progresive or LGBT-friendly New Jerseyans who will either vote for this man or sit out this November's election.

    Posted by: Patric | Oct 9, 2013 11:16:16 AM

  21. The bill is being held hostage by the tiff between Christie and the Democratic leader of the state senate. They've been unable to agree on just about anything. My guess is that once the election is over the bill to override his veto will pass.

    Posted by: anon | Oct 9, 2013 11:16:50 AM

  22. I think fat people shouldn't have the right to marry. Because, well, because they're fat. Let's put that to a popular vote. I whittled this down to the simplest of analogies for you there Guv. Do you now get it? Prolly not.

    Posted by: CVP | Oct 9, 2013 11:17:32 AM

  23. Would Christie be okay with the public voting on a ban against fatty foods? I think not.

    Posted by: Andy | Oct 9, 2013 11:17:55 AM

  24. The Supreme Court of New Jersey already ruled in 2006 that the state was unequal and unconstitutional in their administration of marriage. Does Gov. Christie Kreme think they've suddenly changed their mind? He's just puffing hot disco fries scented air.

    Posted by: NotSafeForWork | Oct 9, 2013 11:18:39 AM

  25. He was great in WALL-E...he was the ships captain right??

    Posted by: nefter | Oct 9, 2013 11:33:27 AM

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