In addition to keynoting the Republican National Convention, Gov. Chris Christie will make a stop in Utah to stump and raise funds for Republican Utah Gov. Gary Herbert. Christie has opposed marriage equality and even vetoed a bill passed by the New Jersey Legislature that would have legalized gay marriage.
Christie argued the decision to legalize gay marriage should be made on a ballot initiative and not by elected representatives.
“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,” Christie said after vetoing the bill last February. “I have been just as adamant that same-sex couples in a civil union deserve the very same rights and benefits enjoyed by married couples – as well as the strict enforcement of those rights and benefits.”
Christie will speak at the annual Governor’s Gala held at the Salt Palace Convention Center next month. The event is expected to net more than $1 million for Herbert and sponsorships can cost up to $25,000 each.
“Gov. Christie doesn’t pull any punches; he calls it like he sees it and I’m sure we’re all in for a treat,” Herbert said in a press release.
Herbert is running for reelection against retired Army Gen. Peter Cooke, who angered some gay rights activists when he held a press conference to announce that he is breaking with Democratic Party ranks to oppose marriage equality.
“To me gay marriage is part of my religious belief and I support that and I respect other religious beliefs and I support and love those who are in the gay community,” Cooke said. “I think what needs to be done in Utah is for us to all live together, be compassionate. That’s what the Democratic Party is showing.”
His statements came just two days after the national Democratic Party voted to include marriage equality and defense of legal abortions in its platform.