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Chris Christie Apologizes for Not Being Clear

Chris Christie Apologizes for Not Being Clear

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lucasgrindley

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie apologized late Tuesday for saying that African Americans would have preferred a vote on their civil rights over the danger of the movement that ensued, but he stills wants a referendum on same-sex marriage.

Christie had made the claim as part of his argument that it's voters, not lawmakers, who should decide whether gays and lesbians have the right to marry. And he still plans to veto a marriage equality bill if it passes the legislature while calling for a referendum. Instead he apologized on Tuesday because his underlying assertion had not been understood.

"Obviously when I was talking last week at the town hall meeting about the civil rights movement in the South, I wasn't clear enough. I just wasn't," he told a local radio station, according to a transcript from Politico. "And what I did was, by saying those things, I left them open to misinterpretation and obviously there are some folks out there whose feelings I hurt or sensibilities I offended. And I apologize for that, because that's my job. My job is to clearly communicate all the time."

During a press conference on Monday, Christie made his first try at clarifying his comments that activists "would have been happy to have a referendum on civil rights rather than fighting and dying in the streets in the South." He said he knows a vote wouldn't have had the same outcome as the Civil Rights Movement.

"They wished they would have had the option, but the political climate did not permit it, meaning they would not win," Christie said on Monday.

U.S. Congressman John Lewis of Georgia was perhaps the most prominent of those offended. Lewis, who worked with Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. during the movement, said during a visit this week to New Jersey that Christie and others who oppose marriage equality are being foolish.

"If two men want to fall in love and get married, or two women, it's their business," said Lewis. "I think the day will come in New Jersey and all across our country when we will look back on this period and say, 'We were just silly. We were just foolish.'"

During Tuesday's interview Christie also patted himself on the back for usually succeeding at being "very direct... so that there's no ambiguity."

But that's not how some lawmakers described the "name calling" the governor used on Monday, using the word "numbnuts" to insult gay Assemblyman Reed Gusciora. Christie was retaliating because the state lawmaker was also one of those offended by the original comments on the referendum and had compared Christie to segregationists.

lucasgrindley
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Lucas Grindley

Lucas Grindley is VP and Editorial Director for Here Media, which is parent company to The Advocate. His Twitter account is filled with politics, Philip Glass appreciation, and adorable photos of his twin toddler daughters.
Lucas Grindley is VP and Editorial Director for Here Media, which is parent company to The Advocate. His Twitter account is filled with politics, Philip Glass appreciation, and adorable photos of his twin toddler daughters.