Addressing the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce dinner in Washington Thursday night, Gov. Chris Christie spoke of “saving (social issues) until we can get everybody back to work in New Jersey,” an apparent reference to the Democratic-controlled Legislature effort to legalize same-sex marriage in the state.
Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg (D-Bergen) reacted to the comment Friday declaring that the way she sees it, “the normally straight-talking and strident governor is simply afraid of the issue.”
“The governor’s show is getting staler than the left-over pastries from last night’s Chamber of Commerce dinner,” Weinberg said. “It’s time to fess up, governor, you just don’t want to touch this issue because you’re afraid of what it will do to your national aspirations.”
Christie has stated that he will veto the same-sex marriage bill the Democrats are acting on. Instead, he has proposed that voters decide the issue via a referendum on the November ballot. The Democrats oppose a referendum.
“I know the governor can certainly work on more than one issue at once, as he has often pushed us to do just that,” Weinberg said. “Now, all of a sudden, he’s afraid to walk and chew gum at the same time. I know Senate President (Steve) Sweeney and my Democratic colleagues can focus on more than one thing at one time, including social issues and economic issues. We’ll be happy to fill the leadership void the governor created by deciding to abandon his constitutional responsibility to all residents to uphold their rights. No issue facing our state is mutually exclusive of another.”
Weinberg also questioned who, exactly, would be the one to determine when social issues might again be worthy of discussion.
“There is never a bad time to ensure people’s rights,” the senator said. “I don’t believe the suffragists stopped working because they thought they had to wait until the end of World War I. The 1960’s saw tremendous progress in numerous areas of social issues, and I don’t recall ever hearing anyone saying they should be punted until after the Cold War was over. The fact of the matter is the governor is simply too scared to deal with this issue head on, and the more he waffles the more obvious and tortured it becomes.”
—TOM HESTER SR., NEWJERSEYNEWSROOM.COM