- (Photo: Reuters/Mike Segar)
The openly gay daughter of Barbara Buono, the Democratic challenger against New Jersey Governor Chris Christie in the state's upcoming gubernatorial election in November, recently attacked the state's current governor due to his history with same-sex marriage legislation. Christie vetoed a gay marriage bill last year, saying he wanted the public to decide on the subject via a voter referendum.
Tessa Bitterman, the daughter of Buono, criticized Christie's stance on same-sex marriage in a fundraising email sent out to her mother's supporters on Monday.
Buono, a Democrat who serves in the New Jersey State Senate as a representative for Middlesex County, openly supports the legalization of same-sex marriage.
"As governor, he has been a giant roadblock to New Jersey achieving equality for all," Bitterman wrote in the email, the full text of which was posted by The Philadelphia Inquirer.
Bitterman, a 22-year-old law student at the University of San Francisco, went on to accuse Christie of posing as a moderate when he is really a conservative, a move which she argues could be dangerous if the governor chooses to run for the presidential election in 2016.
"I have also seen Chris Christie misrepresent himself as a moderate to New Jersey – that's why it's even more important to stop him before he takes his radical show on the road when he goes national after this election," Bitterman stated in the email, where she also encouraged readers to donate to her mom's fundraising campaign for governor.
The Buono for Governor campaign also released a YouTube video on Monday in which Bitterman discusses her sexuality and encourages voters to choose her mom over Christie due to the Republican governor's stance on same-sex marriage.
Bitterman says in the video that the "fight for 2016 has started," and the battleground for the presidential fight begins in New Jersey where voters can choose Buono over Christie.
As The Huffington Post points out, critics argue that Bitterman's recent criticism of Christie is largely designed as a fundraising technique for her mother, who is trailing Christie by more than 30 points, both in the polls and in fundraising points.
Christie has repeatedly stated that supporting same-sex marriage goes against his personal beliefs, telling WCBS 880 in January 2012: "I've been very clear on my view on this since I ran for office that I'm not a supporter of same-sex marriage."
In February 2012, the governor vetoed a bill which would legalize same-sex marriage in New Jersey, saying that it should instead be put up for a voter referendum in the November election.
"I am adhering to what I've said since this bill was first introduced – an issue of this magnitude and importance, which requires a constitutional amendment, should be left to the people of New Jersey to decide," Christie said in February 2012, as reported by CBS.
"I continue to encourage the Legislature to trust the people of New Jersey and seek their input by allowing our citizens to vote on a question that represents a profoundly significant societal change. This is the only path to amend our State Constitution and the best way to resolve the issue of same-sex marriage in our state," Christie added.
Supporters of the bill disagreed, however, arguing that they believe same-sex marriage is a civil rights issue and therefore should not be put up for a ballot vote.
The Chris Christie campaign has yet to respond to the comments recently made by Bitterman.
This week, the New Jersey state assembly voted to approve a bill which bans licensed mental health experts from using reparative therapy on gay minors in the state.