Booker: Public Should Not Vote on Same-Sex Marriage Rights
Mayor calls ongoing debate 'ridiculous and offensive'
Civil rights issues like same-sex marriage should not be put to a popular vote, Newark Mayor Cory Booker said Wednesday, in opposition of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's push to put the matter to voter referendum.
"No minority should have their rights subjected to the actions and sentiments of the majority," said Booker at an unrelated press conference in Newark. "This is a fundamental bedrock of what our nation stands for."
Calling the current debate on same-sex marriage rights in New Jersey's capitol "ridiculous and offensive," the Democratic mayor lambasted Christie's proposal to the legislature to put the issue on the fall ballot.
Christie, a Republican who opposes gay marriage, said at a town hall meeting in Bridgewater Tuesday that "the institution of marriage is too serious to be treated like a political football" and that it should be decided by voters.
Such debate perpetuates second-class citizenship in which certain people are not allowed the same rights as others, argued Booker, who some have speculated is eyeing a gubernatorial run.
"I've got a right … that if I die and I'm married, this first-class citizenship that I have says that wife will get to avoid the estate taxes," said Booker, who has voiced support for gay rights. "The second-class citizens in our country don't have those rights."
"It's about time we create first-class citizenship for every American, every New Jerseyan," he added.