(Photo: Reuters/Mike Segar)
Gay marriage is supported by a majority of New Jersey voters, according to recent Quinnipiac poll, but the statistics have not changed the firm stance of Governor Chris Christie against it. His opponent in the gubernatorial race, Barbara Buono, has challenged him on the issue, but so far he deems it an issue voters should decide.
Gay marriage sentiments in the state of New Jersey were tested by a Quinnipiac University poll, which found that 61 percent think Christie should drop his appeal of a state judge's ruling that gay couples should be able to marry. 32 percent believe he should continue to seek a stay on the ruling, which would go into effect Oct. 21.
Similarly, the poll stated that 59 percent of likely voters want the state legislature to override Christie's veto of a bill that allows same-sex marriage. The survey polled 1,144 N.J. residents from Oct. 5-7 and has a margin of error of 2.9 percentage points.
Nevertheless, the popular and often blunt politician remains steadfast in the face of opposition. In a debate Tuesday against state Sen. Buono, he said he would rather the people of the state make the decision than politicians.
"I trust the people of New Jersey to make this judgment," Christie said.
"It is a human right," Buono, who has a gay daughter, responded.
Christie was also challenged on the campaign trail. While doing a meet-and-greet at the Edison Diner with mostly his own supporters, one woman, Bert Bueno, confronted him about his traditional marriage stance.
"I think marriage should be between a man and a woman," the governor said. "My view is: if you want to change it, put it on the ballot."
"It's a human rights issue," Bueno pushed.
"Says you," Christie replied. "I have relatives who are gay, I have friends who are gay. I think I have an understanding. … We have a difference of opinion. The fact is, I'm open to having conversations with anybody, but I don't think it's going to change my point of view."
Despite same-sex marriage advocates' insistence that most of New Jersey is in favor of scrapping traditional marriage, few, if any, have supported putting the measure on the ballot, saying residents shouldn't vote on civil rights issues.
Christie's support of traditional marriage has not hurt him in the polls. He is currently estimated to be leading 58 percent to 25 percent, according to a Farleigh Dickinson University poll.
NJ residents will vote on their new governor Nov. 5.