This morning New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie joined Morning Joe to talk about last night's Arizona debate and his reasons for vetoing a bill that would allow same-sex marriage in his state.
Aside from Christie, the day's panel included New York Magazine's John Heilemann, former DLC chair Harold Ford Jr., and the Washington Post's Jonathan Capehart, who is openly gay and frequently writes about gay issues.
Here's how some of the conversation went (We'll be adding to the conversation):
Joe Scarborough: I had heard before just generally, because we don’t focus a whole lot on social issues here. But I had heard generally that you were pro-life but when it came to gay marriage you were a little more libertarian about it.
Scarborough: Is that not the case?
Christie: Not the case. Obviously.
Scarborough: Do you support civil unions?
Scarborough: So you’re like the president. You support civil unions but not gay marriage.
Christie: I have the exact same position as the president.
Scarborough: But you're called a bigot for taking that position and the president's called enlightened because he really doesn't believe what he's saying.
Christie: Because I'm a Republican and he's a Democrat. The Democrats in my state who are criticizing me are saying my feet are firmly planted on the wrong side of justice. I said yesterday my feet are firmly planted next to President Obama's. And they don't criticize him.
Harold Ford Jr. joins the discussion:
Harold Ford Jr.: In fairness to President Obama, he did applaud the decision in New York by Gov. [Andrew] Cuomo to sign the bill. [To Christie] I don’t know if you applauded that or not.
Christie: So he applauds other people’s courage, but he doesn’t have any of his own.
Ford: Governor, you can’t have it both ways. Did you applaud Governor Cuomo’s decision?
Christie: No I didn’t.
Scarborough: We’re talking about words versus actions. The POTUS could today come out and say this: ‘I support gay marriage.’ And it’s over. He won’t do it. He’s scared to do it. Because he doesn’t have the courage to do it.
The Washington Post's Jonathan Capehart, who is openly gay, joins the discussion:
Scarborough: Jonathan, would you compare the civil rights struggles of African-Americans over 300 years in America to marriage equity?
Jonathan Capehart: Yes. It’s an issue of civil rights, as you said. It’s an issue of equality. It’s an issue of equal treatment under the law. It’s an issue of whether I were to get married to my partner and we were to have children that my children would have the same protections have because you’re able to legally marry. No one is asking for special rights. No one is asking for any kind of special favors. We’re just looking for the same rights and responsibilities that come with marriage and also the protections that are provided under marriage. In that regard overall we’re talking about a civil rights issue and what African-Americans continue to struggle with is exactly what LGBT people are struggling with today.