My five minutes with Chris Christie

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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/Philly.com)

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.

 

--KEVIN RIORDAN

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