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Buono’s Openly Lesbian Daughter Blasts Christie For Marriage Stance

Tessa Bitterman Calls Christie A 'Giant Roadblock' To Equality
St. Sen. Barbara Buono and Gov. Chris Christie (credits: Barbara Buono for NJ, Tim Larsen / Governor's Office)

St. Sen. Barbara Buono and Gov. Chris Christie (credits: Barbara Buono for NJ, Tim Larsen / Governor’s Office)

TRENTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — The openly lesbian daughter of New Jersey gubernatorial candidate Barbara Buono criticized Gov. Chris Christie Monday for his opposition to same-sex marriage.

Tessa Bitterman sent an e-mail to her mother’s supporters Monday, saying she has a stake in the election because she is a gay American. Buono, a Democrat, supports same-sex marriage. The governor, a Republican, does not.

“As governor, he has been a giant roadblock to New Jersey achieving equality for all,” she wrote.

Christie vetoed the gay marriage bill last year, saying the matter should be put to referendum.

“I am adhering to what I’ve said since this bill was first introduced — an issue of this magnitude and importance, which requires a constitutional amendment, should be left to the people of New Jersey to decide,” Christie said in a statement in February 2012. “I continue to encourage the Legislature to trust the people of New Jersey and seek their input by allowing our citizens to vote on a question that represents a profoundly significant societal change. This is the only path to amend our State Constitution and the best way to resolve the issue of same-sex marriage in our state.”

Democrats have since said they plan to try for an override, but have not yet done so. They have never been successful at overriding a Christie veto, which would require some Republican support.

Meanwhile, interest groups such as the New Jersey chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union have taken up a push for gay marriage in New Jersey.

Most Democrats reject the idea of putting the matter to popular vote.

Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-Gloucester), a Democrat who was opposed to gay marriage in 2010 but has said he now regrets that decision and supports it, has previously refused to put the question to voters. He has said same-sex marriage is a civil rights issue that does not belong on the ballot.

Bitterman said Christie has misrepresented himself as a moderate. She said his record scares her, especially because he may run for national office.

Christie has a commanding lead over Buono in public opinion polls. He is considering a run for president in 2016, and wants to rack up big numbers against the lesser-known Buono that could bolster his chances nationally.

Civil unions, which Christie favors, are legal in New Jersey.

Christie’s campaign did not immediately return a request for comment Monday.

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