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

"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)


  1. HadenoughBS says

    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.

  2. NotSafeForWork says

    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”.

  3. JWL says

    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.

  4. Gus says

    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.

  5. Jeff says

    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.

  6. Dastius Krazitauc says

    “Says you”. Christie can never be challenged without giving a jerk response.

  7. NotSafeForWork says

    @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.

  8. NotSafeForWork says

    @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.

  9. says

    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.

  10. Bill says

    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.

  11. Rich F. says

    “A New Jersey diner does not necessarily conjure images of political debate”

    Clearly you have never been in a Jersey diner.

  12. DC Insider says

    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?

  13. Pete N SFO says

    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.