My five minutes with Chris Christie

Gov. Christie, seen here at the opening for MD Anderson Cancer Center at Cooper in Camden on Monday, meet with GOP senators at the Capitol on Wednesday. (Stephanie Aaronson/

Chris Christie hasn't changed his (or my) mind about marriage equality.

But I'm glad we had a chance to talk about it.

New Jersey's Republican governor was in Philadelphia Friday to meet with the Inquirer's editorial board. His Democratic challenger -- state Sen. Barbara Buono, who supports same-sex marriage  -- visited while I was away, but I sat in on the session with Christie.

When my turn came, I asked the governor why he believes it's necessary for gay people in New Jersey to obtain permission to marry from the electorate, via a referendum, when states like Massachusetts have had gay marriage for years without causing the calamities opponents predicted.

"I believe when you change the core definition of marriage...[it] should not be left for politicians to decide,"  Christie said. "I think politicians manipulate this issue...My view is, take this out of [politics]...put it on the ballot, and let's see.

"I'm not saying, put a ban on the ballot. I'm saying, put a [neutral] question on the ballot. I think that makes the tenor of the discussion different.

"In the end, it may get taken out of my hands...either by the courts, or by an override of my veto. I don't think that will happen with a vero override, but with the courts, who knows?

"My view is, if courts want to do this, it shouldn't be [done] by a trial-level court judge. So that's why we appealed to the Supreme Court ...if the courts of this state, which I think would be wrong for them to do, are going to [permit same-sex marriage], then the Supreme Court has to do it. Not a triaI-level court in Mercer County." 

Christie concluded, "I know there are a lot of people who feel differently about it."

One of those people is me.

But for a few minutes on a rainy Friday afternoon, people on opposite sides of a contentious issue were in the same room, at the same table, talking and listening. Respectfully.

Now there's a concept.