New Jersey governor Chris Christie said Tuesday that if one of his children came out as gay, he would “grab them and hug them and tell them I love them,” but that “Dad believes that marriage is between one man and one woman.”
The Republican governor squared off Tuesday against Democrat challenger Barbara Buono during their second and final debate at Montclair State University.
Christie has come under fire from gay rights advocates for filing an emergency appeal with the state Supreme Court seeking to invalidate a lower-court ruling last month that the state must legalize same-sex marriage starting Oct. 21.
“My children understand that there are going to be differences of opinion in our house and in houses all across this state and across this country,” Christie said Tuesday.
Christie has said he thinks the issue should be decided by voters, and would respect that outcome if voters approved same-sex marriage. He said the decision does not belong to the courts or the legislature.
Buono, who has an openly gay daughter and who supports marriage equality, declined to respond to Christie’s statement.
At a previous debate, Christie dismissed the issue of same-sex marriage as a “political agenda,” to which Buono replied, “My daughter … is not a political agenda.”