A Republican lawmaker has submitted a proposal for a ballot question that would ask New Jersey voters to approve gay marriage.

Sen. Kip Bateman says putting the question to voters would allow proponents and opponents of same-sex marriage to register an opinion at the ballot box.

Gov. Chris Christie, a Catholic who opposes gay marriage, also wants the issue put to referendum.

Meanwhile, Christie met with a gay lawmaker with whom he exchanged barbs over putting the issue of same-sex nuptials to a popular vote.

While articulating his position, he called Assemblyman Reed Gusciora "numb nuts" after the Democrat compared the governor to Southern segregationists.

Democrats want the issued decided by legislation, or, failing that, through the courts.

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