Newark Mayor Cory Booker told WNYC that he “patently disagrees” with New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s call for a voter referendum this November on whether to legalize gay marriage in the state.
“This is not about a choice. This is about a fundamental right,” Booker said on WNYC’s Brian Lehrer Show Thursday. "I shudder to think what would happen if the civil rights gains of the 1960s were consistently subjected to the majority of the states."
Christie told a town hall audience Tuesday he would veto the bill if it reached his desk. Instead, he said he wants to put the issue to voters in a referendum.
"Let's let the people of New Jersey decide what's right for the state," Christie said. "Let's put the question of same-sex marriage on the ballot this fall, in the hands of the people. The time when the most people will be voting in a presidential election year."
The Democrat-controlled Senate Judiciary committee forwarded the bill to the full Senate in an 8-to-4 party-line vote.
Booker said he was not against referendum on issues such as increasing property taxes to pay for police services, something the City of Newark is considering, but civil rights issue such as marriage “should not be subject to popular whim.”
“If [the referendum] does happen on the November ballot, there could be a lot of down-ballot elections that could really suffer because unfortunately many people who are in favor of marriage equality are not as passionate as people who are against it,” Booker said.