Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ) defended his call for a ballot referendum on marriage equality, suggesting that the majority should vote on the rights of the minority. “The fact of the matter is,” Christie argued, “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.” Christie opposes marriage rights for same-sex couples and has promised to veto a proposed bill legalizing same-sex marriage.
New Jersey Assembly Speaker Sheila Y. Oliver, the first African American female to hold that post, responds “Gov. Christie better sit down with some of New Jersey’s great teachers for a history lesson, because his puzzling comment shows a complete misunderstanding about the civil rights movement… It’s impossible to ever conceive that a referendum on civil rights in the South would have been successful and brought justice to minorities. It’s unfathomable to even suggest a referendum would have been the better course.”