New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie slammed the Supreme Court decision on DOMA as “wrong” and an example of “judicial supremacy.”
Christie, a former federal prosecutor, made the remarks on his “Ask the Governor” radio show, hours after the U.S. Supreme Court struck a crucial section of the Defense of Marriage Act.
“I don’t think the ruling was appropriate,” said Christie, who is running for reelection in a blue state, one in which Democrats have hailed the SCOTUS decision on gay marriage.
“I think it was wrong,” Christie continued, calling it “typical of the problem we see” in New Jersey’s own Supreme Court.
He blasted the U.S. Supremes for substituting “their own judgment for the judgment of a Republican Congress and a Democratic President. In the Republican Congress in the ‘90s and Bill Clinton. I thought that Justice Kennedy’s opinion was, in many respects, incredibly insulting to those people, 340-some members of Congress who voted for the Defense of Marriage Act, and Bill Clinton.”
“He basically said that the only reason to pass that bill was to demean people. That’s heck of a thing to say about Bill Clinton and about the Republican Congress back in the ‘90s. And it’s just another example of judicial supremacy, rather than having the government run by the people we actually vote for,” said Christie, who recently appeared with Clinton at a Clinton Global Initiative conference.
Clinton himself has walked away from the signing of DOMA, and in a statement said he was pleased with the court’s ruling.
Christie is polling as a top prospect for the GOP presidential nomination in 2016, and a number of evangelical leaders made clear after the SCOTUS ruling that the base of the party will remain opposed to same-sex marriage.
Yet, Christie is running in an overwhelmingly Democratic state, and wooing Democrats has been a huge part of a strategy aimed at driving up his margin of victory, should he win over rival Barbara Buono.
Christie, who already vetoed a gay marriage bill in the past, has said he’d do the same with another one but also has called for a ballot referendum on the issue, and did again on the radio show.
“You’re talking about changing an institution that’s over 2,000 years old. Seems to me that, you know … the Democrats are putting an increase to the minimum wage on the ballot,” Christie said, noting Democratic opposition to a referendum. “That’s important enough to put on the ballot. But gay marriage is not. That’s something the people should decide, but not whether same-sex marriage should happen in New Jersey.”
When the radio host pointed out their argument is that there shouldn’t be a vote on someone’s rights, Christie raised the minimum-wage issue again.
“What I’m saying is that they are both rights,” he said. “I’m not evaluating the depth of the right, but their argument is inconsistent. It’s an inconsistent argument. Listen, Eric, let’s call this for what it is, OK? It’s politics. They don’t want to put it on the ballot.”
He added, “I’ve made it very clear since 2009 that I believe that marriage should be between one man and one woman. I’ve said that, I ran on that, I’ve said it consistently. That doesn’t mean, in any way shape or form, that I have anything against folks who are homosexual. In fact, I’ve said I believe people are born that way. I don’t believe it’s a choice…you were born with your sexual preference. But I believe that the institution of marriage for 2,000 years has been between a man and a woman.”
But he added that if it the state’s residents voted for it, he would be obligated to follow the law of the land of New Jersey.