Gov. Chris Christie says he's being "magnanimous" in his offer to help Democrats get a gay marriage referendum on the ballot by guaranteeing enough Republican votes for the proposed constitutional amendment.

Speaking before a friendly crowd in his home county of Morris Thursday, Christie was asked whether he would stick to his promise to veto a gay marriage bill if it comes to his desk. He said he would.

In a mocking tone, Christie asked how much more "magnanimous" could he be than offering the referendum. The governor says recent polls show a majority of New Jerseyans support gay marriage and voter turnout in November should be large because of the presidential election.

The governor's comments in Denville come as Democrats consider a bill to legalize gay marriage.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

SWEENEY ISSUES STATEMENT ON MARRIAGE EQUALITY REFERENDUM

Senate President Steve Sweeney issued the following statement today regarding Governor Christie’s proposed marriage equality referendum:

"It's time for everyone, from the governor to the chattering observers, to stop talking about a marriage equality referendum in terms of 'if.' There will be no referendum on marriage equality in New Jersey, period.

"Someone once said that 'the rule for effective government is simple: When you see a problem, you fix it.' Unfortunately, the governor is failing to live up to his own words. He and some of his colleagues could stand to learn from Washington State, where yesterday the Senate passed marriage equality. They did it with the votes of four Republican Senators who stood up for justice and equality, rather than simply shrug off their responsibility as legislators to act.

"Real leaders take action. When the Senate votes on this issue on February 13, it will be a very simple choice: you either support marriage equality, or you don't. There is no third option.”