Republican Gov. Chris Christie referred to a New Jersey assemblyman as “numbnuts” as he defended his call for a referendum on marriage.
Christie has said that he will veto a marriage equality bill in the Garden State because he believes that voters should have a direct say.
Recently, in explaining his position, Christie said that he thought a referendum also would have been a good alternative for black civil rights advocates in the 1950s and a 1960s.
Activists then, he said, “would have been happy to have a referendum on civil rights rather than fighting and dying in the streets of the South.”
The governor’s remark prompted criticism from Democrats in the legislature, who said that civil rights should not be put to a majority vote and that his statement seemed racially insensitive.
Christie then said he met with some black leaders who accepted his explanation of the comment, but he remained annoyed with at least one critic, according to NJ.com.
“What I said was I’m sure that civil rights advocates would have liked to have this as another option but it was not available to them,” Christie said. “Yet you have numbnuts like Reed Gusciora who put out a statement comparing me to George Wallace and Lester Maddox.”