Gay nominee would sit out N.J. high court cases on same-sex marriage

Gov. Chris Christie said Monday one of his nominees to the New Jersey Supreme Court will not participate in the case if the same-sex marriage issue comes before the court.

Attorney Bruce Harris would recuse himself if he’s confirmed and New Jersey’s highest court considers marriage equality, Christie said.

“He told me that he favored same-sex marriage, had advocated for it in his political capacity, and that as a result if he were confirmed to the court that he would recuse himself on that matter because he did not want there to be the appearance of bias on his part on that issue,” Christie.

Harris would be the first openly gay justice on New Jersey’s high court.

Christie, who says Harris would bring diversity to the court, is urging the Senate to act quickly to confirm him.

Christie, who opposes gay marriage, suggested last week that the issue be posed as a ballot question. After calling for a voter referendum on whether to legalize gay marriage, Christie suggested participants in the civil rights movement would have welcomed a referendum.

On Monday, Christie clarified those remarks.

“What I said was I’m sure that civil rights advocates would have like this as another option, but it was not available to them,” Christie said. “And the reason it wasn’t, although I didn’t say this, was because the political climate was not advantageous to even consider doing it.”

Christie said the African American mayors and representatives of the NAACP he met with said they understood he was not being critical about the civil rights movement. He says the only complaints he’s heard about his remarks come from Democrats in the Legislature who, he said, want to make it a political issue.

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