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Chris Christie nominates out gay African-American for New Jersey Supreme Court

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie today nominated an openly gay African-American Republican mayor to serve as a justice on the state’s Supreme Court.

The head of the state’s LGBT advocacy group was stunned when the governor’s office called to inform him about the nomination.

“As I told the governor right then and there, you could have picked me up off the floor,” said Steve Goldstein, CEO of Garden State Equality.

Bruce Harris, the nominee, was elected mayor of Chatham Borough in November. The 60-year-old Harris graduated magna cum laude from Amherst College, and with honors from Boston University Graduate School of Management before earning a law degree from Yale.

Before his election as mayor of Chatham, Harris worked for area law firms.

Despite his reputation as a firebrand conservative, Christie has good relations with Garden State Equality, Goldstein told Ner Jersey’s Star Ledger.

He said that although Christie has made it clear he opposes same-sex marriage, the governor also said  “he wanted his administration to have a good working relationship with Garden State Equality.”

“That has been the case every step of the way," Goldstein told the paper. “Since Gov. Christie took office, his administration has treated us with warmth and responsiveness. Yes is yes, no is no, and we’ll get back to you means they get back to you faster than you thought, usually with invaluable help.”

Christie also nominated Phil Kwon, who would become the first Asian-American to sit on the state Supreme Court.

“I am honored to nominate these two gentlemen,” Christie said at a Statehouse news conference. “I trust the Senate will take into account their extraordinary backgrounds and experience and will give them swift hearings.”

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