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Having a Referendum on Gay Marriage is Wrong

The ongoing struggle for gay marriage in this country has been called the last push of the civil rights movement. So let’s compare the two.

Gay Marriage Debate NJ
Jeff Fusco/Getty Images

Can you imagine what would have happened in the deep south had we simply allowed white majority in states like Mississippi or Alabama to decide on the legitimacy of the black minority? When the very problem is that a minority isn’t being given the same first class citizen rights as the majority, how do you justify allowing the majority to decide the issue? Talk about stacking the deck.

This might backfire in Governor Christie’s face. The tide has never turned as quickly on social issues before as it has on gay marriage. National polls now show the majority of Americans support gay marriage and full rights. In the latest poll out this month, so does New Jersey. The Quinnipiac poll shows 52 to 42 % in favor. That acceptance not only seems to grow year by year but even month by month. Where will it stand by the fall, when Governor Christie wants a referendum?

A civil rights issue such as this should not be determined by the majority, although the majority in this case might just pass it anyway. A real leader’s job is to do the right thing, not always the popular thing, but according to the latest numbers Governor Christie’s veto will be wrong either way.

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