Should same-sex marriage in New Jersey be put to a vote?

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Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., blasts a recent comment by N.J. Gov. Chris Christie on civil rights in the south, during a press conference at the Trenton Transit Station on Monday. Christie wants the issue of gay marriage put to a public vote. Democrats have criticized him for comments that people involved in the civil rights movement of the 1960s would have been happier to put the matter to public vote than die on the streets of the South. Christie says his comments have been misconstrued. He says it's clear that option would not have been available. (AP Photo/Rich Schultz)

Hour 1

Last week, Governor Chris Christie called for the voters of New Jersey to have the final say in the fight to legalize same-sex marriage rather than having the Legislature decide. He proposed that the issue be put on the ballot, giving it “the weight that it merits.” He went on to say that he thought that in the 1950s and 1960’s civil rights pioneers “would have been happy to have a referendum on civil rights rather than dying in the streets of the South.” Democratic politicians and marriage-equality advocates argue that denying the right of gay people to marry is a violation of their civil rights and have vowed to press on in the Legislature. And on Tuesday, civil rights leaders from New Jersey and across the country joined in agreement and raised objections to the Governor’s remarks, saying that civil rights have historically been achieved not at the voting booth, but through the legislative process.  We’ll talk about the definition of same-sex marriage as a civil rights issue and how it should be decided in New Jersey — by referendum or by the legislative process — with RONALD CHEN, vice dean and clinical law professor at Rutgers School of Law in Newark, and New Jersey Assemblyman MICHAEL PATRICK CARROLL.

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[audio: 020112_100630.mp3]

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