Gov. Christie: ‘Let People Decide’ If Gay Marriage Allowed in New Jersey

By James Beattie | September 30, 2013 | 5:26 PM EDT

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie

( -- New Jersey Republican Gov. Chris Christie said he intends to appeal a Superior Court ruling mandating that his state allow gay marriages as of October 21 and “let people decide” whether they want the current ban on same sex-marriage to continue.

Speaking to “CBS Sunday Morning,” Christie, a Catholic, remained firm on his earlier opposition to same-sex marriage and called for a constitutional amendment to be voted on by the people of Garden State, as required by Article IX of the New Jersey Constitution.

“I understand that good people of goodwill have a difference of opinion on this, and so my view on it is, put it on the ballot.” Christie said. “Let people decide.”

Last Friday, Judge Mary Jacobson of the New Jersey Superior Court in Mercer County ruled that “same-sex couples must be allowed to marry in order to obtain equal protection of the law under the New Jersey Constitution.”  Gov. Christie vowed to appeal the ruling.

This was not the first time Christie dug in his heels on same-sex marriage. In February 2012, Christie told CNN’s Piers Morgan: “My view and my position is that marriage should be between one man and one woman.  It always has been my position and remains so.  I ran that way in 2009, told people that it was an issue in the campaign, made myself very clear, now that the legislature has passed that piece of legislation, I will veto it because that’s what I promised to do and that’s what I think is the right thing to do.

“However I know that this is a very emotional issue and a very divisive issue in my state, and so I what I’ve suggested to the legislature is in the only way we have to amend the constitution, which is by referendum, let’s put it on the ballot and let’s let people decide.”

The governor said later in the same interview that he gets blowback from his gay friends, but that he would not put politics ahead of his principles.

Later that month, Christie vetoed a bill passed by the New Jersey legislature that would have legalized same-sex marriages.  The state curremtly recognizes civil unions, and the State House has until January 2014 to override the governor’s veto.

Steven Goldstein, chairman of the gay rights group Garden State Equality, said at the time, “Frankly, I don’t think Chris Christie has an anti-gay bone in his body,” but nonetheless called the veto “a brutally anti-gay act, pure and simple.”

In an 2011 interview with David Gregory on NBC’s "Meet the Press," Christie pointed out that same-sex marriage also failed in the state legislature under Democratic Governor Jon Corzine. "And so my view on it is, in our state we're going to continue to pursue civil unions."

According to on Christie’s 2009 campaign website, he said: "I believe marriage should be exclusively between one man and one woman. While, I have no issue with same sex couples sharing contractual rights, I believe that marriage should remain the exclusive domain of one man and one woman. If a bill legalizing same sex marriage came to my desk as Governor, I would veto it. If the law were changed by judicial fiat, I would be in favor of a constitutional amendment on the ballot so that voters, not judges, would decide this important social question."

However, Christie has come under fire from conservatives for signing a bill banning the use of gay conversion therapy, making New Jersey the second state in the nation to do so besides California.

In a statement, Christie said: “Government should tread carefully into this area,” adding, “I believe that exposing children to these health risks without clear evidence of benefits that outweigh these serious risks is not appropriate.”

The measure resulted in a federal lawsuit filed by two New Jersey psychologists, as well as The National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality of Utah and the Virginia-based American Association of Christian Counselors, who argue that the new law violates residents' freedom of speech and religion.