New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie tells CNN’s Piers Morgan that as someone who believes marriage is between a man and a woman and who holds that position guided by his religious beliefs, he “won’t compromise my principles for politics” on the issue.
In an interview before he vetoed a same-sex marriage bill on Friday, Christie reiterated that he supports a statewide voter referendum on the issue.
“I know that this is a very emotional issue and a divisive issue in my state,” Christie said in the interview to air on Piers Morgan Tonight on Tuesday but parts of which were released by CNN earlier in the day. “And so what I’ve suggested to the legislature is, in a way, the only way we have to amend our constitution in New Jersey - which is by referendum - let’s put it on the ballot, let’s let people decide.”
“And if the people in New Jersey, as some of the same sex marriage advocates suggest the polls indicate are in favor of it, then my position would not be the winning position, but I’m willing to take that risk because I trust the people of the state,” he said.
When asked if he would ever change his mind on this issue as public opinion swings to supporting same-sex marriage — Washington state recently became the seventh in the nation, along with the District of Columbia, to allow gay marriage — Christie said he would not.
“I won’t compromise my principles for politics,” he said.
“You would never change your mind about this?” Morgan asked.
“I would not compromise my principles for politics. You’re saying, will it become politically unpopular to have the position I’m having? If it does, so be it. I don’t compromise my principles for politics,” Christie said.
Christie admitted he has gotten some flak from gay friends for his stance, but said it is guided by his Catholic faith. The governor added that his position is “absolutely not” bigoted and slammed the suggestion that anyone might say otherwise.
“It’s my belief, it’s my core belief,” he said. “And I tell people that. And my friends, whether they be homosexual or not, they know me and they know I’m not bigoted.”
The New Jersey legislature has until January 2014 to muster enough votes for an override.