by Jeremy Leaming
Earlier in the week N.J. Gov. Chris Christie drew some plaudits from civil liberties advocates for making an effort to diversify that state’s highest court with the nomination of a gay man. Quickly on the heels of the announcement, however, Christie reaffirmed his opposition to the state legislature’s effort to pass a bill advancing equality, specifically granting gay couples the right to wed. Instead Christie said that marriage equality should be placed before voters. The move, according to The New York Times reporter Kate Zernike “highlighted the considerable political skills that have made him one of the Republican Party’s rising stars.”
But, The Daily Beast blogger Andrew Sullivan lauds Newark, N.J. Mayor Cory Booker’s recent comments on marriage equality calling them among the “best defenses of marriage equality from a public official,” as well as a “great rebuttal” to Christie’s “deft but cowardly attempt to put civil rights in front of a referendum – even though the legislature is in favor.”
Taking questions from reporters earlier this week, Booker said there are some very appropriate things to put before voters, such as measures requiring the super wealthy to pay more in taxes. Protections of civil rights, however, should not be placed within voters’ crosshairs, he said.
“We should not be putting civil rights issues to a popular vote, to be subject to the sentiments, the passions of the day,” he said. “No minority should have their rights subject to the passions and sentiments of the majority.”
See Booker’s comments below. Booker provided the closing speech at the 2010 ACS National Convention, in which he urged citizens to help advance equality.