Civil Rights Leader to Enter NJ Gay Marriage Battle

Rep. John Lewis, a former Freedom Rider, will travel from Georgia to Jersey to talk gay marriage

Monday, Jan 30, 2012  |  Updated 6:36 AM EDT
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Civil Rights Leader to Enter NJ Gay Marriage Battle

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Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) is expected at a pro-gay marriage rally in New Jersey on Monday.

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A Georgia congressman who is widely regarded for his courage during the Civil Rights Movement is making a trip to New Jersey to discuss the right of gay couples to marry.

Rep. John Lewis will appear with Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver and fellow Congressman Rush Holt at a news conference Monday afternoon.

Lewis was a Freedom Rider and student activist who was beaten for leading protests against racial discrimination. He will discuss a comment by Gov. Chris Christie insinuating that equal rights for minorities could have been gained through referendum rather than bloodshed.

Christie wants gay marriage put to a popular vote. The governor has vowed to veto the marriage bill making its way through the Legislature.

Democrats who control the Legislature say gay marriage is a civil right.

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