What Did Christie Apologize For?

Jim Burroway

February 1st, 2012

Last week, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie really stepped in it when he announced that he would veto any legislation granting marriage equality that reaches his desk. The serious controversy arose when he added, about African-American’s civil rights, “The fact of the matter is, I think people would have been happy to have a referendum on civil rights rather than fighting and dying in the streets in the South.” Right. As if that would have worked out. As one of our commenters pointed out, when Alabamans had the opportunity to remove segregationist language from their state constitution, they rejected the idea. In 2004! The lunacy of Christie’s idea should be self-evident to anyone with a glancing familiarity with history.

Last night, Christie sought to put the controversy to bed during an appearance on talk radio with an apology that looks like this:

“Anybody who was offended by what I said, if you’re listening out there tonight, I apologize for that,” he said on New Jersey 101.5’s monthly radio call-in show. “I didn’t mean to offend anybody, and if I did I’m sorry.”

According to Politico, he explained:

“I also recognize that my job, one of my jobs as Governor, is to clearly communicate to people what I’m thinking, every time I open my mouth. And I try to be very good about being very direct about what I say so that there’s no ambiguity but obviously when I was talking last week at the town hall meeting about the civil rights movement in the South, I wasn’t clear enough. I just wasn’t.

“And what I did was, by saying those things, I left them open to misinterpretation and obviously there are some folks out there whose feelings I hurt or sensibilities I offended. And I apologize for that, because that’s my job. My job is to clearly communicate all the time. And so to those folks out there who were somehow offended or concerned about the ambiguity in my statement, I apologize for that because very clearly what I was trying to say, I said yesterday at the press conference about 5 or 6 times.”

I’ve read this several times, and for the life of me I can’t figure out what Christie’s actually apologizing for. Near as I can tell, he’s only apologizing if anyone who was offended. He apologized for being “misinterpreted” and for “sensibilities I offended.” It’s like he stomped on someone’s foot and apologized that they were hurt by it. What I don’t see is any sense that he recognizes the sheer folly of putting a reviled and stigmatized minority’s rights up for a vote and expecting that minority’s rights to be magnanimously granted. The history of that actually happening is sadly sparse, as sparse in the new millennium as it was in the last. I don’t see any recognition in Christie’s words that he understands that. It looks like, at most, he’s apologizing for opening his big mouth, but not for the beliefs that we now know he holds.


February 1st, 2012

He’s just another one of those “socially progressive fiscally conservative” northeastern Republicans that we keep hearing so much about. Kind of like the socially progressive New England Republicans (like the ones in New Hampshire) that gay Republicans having dancing around in their imaginations like sugarplum fairies.

Timothy Kincaid

February 1st, 2012

I think you pegged what he believes: that it would have been much better for the good people of Alabama to vote in civil equality. Sure. It would have. And then we could all join hands and sing Kumbaya as we burned the last KKK robes.

But like you noted, that wasn’t exactly very likely.

However,it does raise what I have suspected for a while. I think Christie believes that a New Jersey vote would approve marriage. If you take that assumption, what he says makes more sense.

And it is true that if the electorate voted in equality then it would be more easily accepted by those who officially disapprove but don’t much care. Which doesn’t make voting on civil rights appropriate.


February 1st, 2012

Sounds like a sort of non-apology “apology” my ex-wife was famous for. Oh sure, I did wrong because you were offended…but MY actions weren’t wrong. That’s the vibe I get out of what he said. Funny how the same kind of people harp on how people shouldn’t be offended (unless of course it’s religious indignation, which usually seems to go their way, in their minds.)



February 1st, 2012

And if New Jersey rejects gay marriage, he’s got a nifty populist reason to veto any future bills with the usual tune “the people have decided!” that he can campaign on, which won’t be a good turn of events for gay advocates as they’ll antagonize by being painted as trying to circumvent the voters.

It’s a rather smart move for a Republican, because when he does launch a campaign for presidency as Mitt Romney 2.0, he will deflect attacks during primaries with “It wasn’t me who approved same-sex marriage; the people called for it and my job demanded I listen to them.”

A coward’s approach. He’s all about pantomime ferocity and conviction as long as it gets him votes from his base.

Priya Lynn

February 1st, 2012

Jim said “I’ve read this several times, and for the life of me I can’t figure out what Christie’s actually apologizing for”.

What I got from it was that he’s saying is he didn’t communicate clearly and he apologizes for not communicating clearly. In other words he didn’t say anything wrong, he was misunderstood and he apologizes for allowing that to happen.

Eric in Oakland

February 1st, 2012

” And I apologize for that, because that’s my job. My job is to clearly communicate all the time”

Well, I guess he is still not doing his job well. I have no idea what he was trying to communicate then or now. Wouldn’t this have been an ideal time to clarify his previous comment which he admits was not clearly communicated?

Eric in Oakland

February 1st, 2012

Timothy said: “However,it does raise what I have suspected for a while. I think Christie believes that a New Jersey vote would approve marriage. If you take that assumption, what he says makes more sense.”

That would appear to be a very naive view for Mr. Christie to hold. He doesn’t strike me as naive.

Regan DuCasse

February 1st, 2012

He’s vowing to veto a bill passed by the legislature, who ARE representing their people, right?
Certainly was true here when the CA legislature voted to pass marriage EQ, and did so twice.
And Gov. Arnold Schwartzeneggar vetoed it twice.

Christie doesn’t support marriage equality, I’m sure he’s COUNTING on the popular vote to ban it. Kinda contradicts that he believes it won’t be banned, don’t cha think?


February 1st, 2012

Don’t compare Schwarzenegger to Christie. Had he signed gay marriage legislation it would’ve been overturned in court since Prop. 22 banned it. He simply did it to avoid legal wrangling.

Timothy Kincaid

February 1st, 2012


It may not be an accurate assessment, but considering that the polls show that New Jersey residents support marriage equality by about 55% to 40% it certainly isn’t naive to assume that the voters would approve such an initiative.

Timothy Kincaid

February 1st, 2012


Schwarzenegger vetoed the marriage bills because they contradicted an initiative and could not do so. When the court found that the marriage ban was unconstitutional, they specifically stated that the legislature could not reverse a vote of the people and that Schwarzenegger was correct.

He opposed Proposition 8.


February 1st, 2012

The latest poll I saw was more like 49% for and 47% against. Hardly numbers that would make Christie feel would pass by a vote of the people.

I think you give Christie too much credit.

I think he DOES support marriage equality but, like the president, he’s a politician first and a defender freedom, liberty, equality and the constitution second.

Timothy Kincaid

February 1st, 2012

Zeke, maybe. It’s all a bit of a guess at this point.


February 1st, 2012

Christie’s comments have added one important bit to the discussion.
As a Republican Governor (and presumably state party spokesperson) he has explicitly framed marriage equality as a civil rights issue. NOM, FRC and others must be miserable as they realize that Christie has, in a couple of comments, shot huge holes in years of “but it’s not anything like civil rights” arguments.
Maybe this is his stealth contribution to marriage equality?

Graham Shevlin

February 2nd, 2012

So let me see if I get this right…he started out by being a bloviating idiot, and now he is merely a sort-of-apologetic bloviating idiot?

Leave A Comment

All comments reflect the opinions of commenters only. They are not necessarily those of anyone associated with Box Turtle Bulletin. Comments are subject to our Comments Policy.

(Required, never shared)

PLEASE NOTE: All comments are subject to our Comments Policy.


Latest Posts

The Things You Learn from the Internet

"The Intel On This Wasn't 100 Percent"

From Fake News To Real Bullets: This Is The New Normal

NC Gov McCrory Throws In The Towel

Colorado Store Manager Verbally Attacks "Faggot That Voted For Hillary" In Front of 4-Year-Old Son

Associated Press Updates "Alt-Right" Usage Guide

A Challenge for Blue Bubble Democrats

Baptist Churches in Dallas, Austin Expelled Over LGBT-Affirming Stance

Featured Reports

What Are Little Boys Made Of?

In this original BTB Investigation, we unveil the tragic story of Kirk Murphy, a four-year-old boy who was treated for “cross-gender disturbance” in 1970 by a young grad student by the name of George Rekers. This story is a stark reminder that there are severe and damaging consequences when therapists try to ensure that boys will be boys.

Slouching Towards Kampala: Uganda’s Deadly Embrace of Hate

When we first reported on three American anti-gay activists traveling to Kampala for a three-day conference, we had no idea that it would be the first report of a long string of events leading to a proposal to institute the death penalty for LGBT people. But that is exactly what happened. In this report, we review our collection of more than 500 posts to tell the story of one nation’s embrace of hatred toward gay people. This report will be updated continuously as events continue to unfold. Check here for the latest updates.

Paul Cameron’s World

In 2005, the Southern Poverty Law Center wrote that “[Paul] Cameron’s ‘science’ echoes Nazi Germany.” What the SPLC didn”t know was Cameron doesn’t just “echo” Nazi Germany. He quoted extensively from one of the Final Solution’s architects. This puts his fascination with quarantines, mandatory tattoos, and extermination being a “plausible idea” in a whole new and deeply disturbing light.

From the Inside: Focus on the Family’s “Love Won Out”

On February 10, I attended an all-day “Love Won Out” ex-gay conference in Phoenix, put on by Focus on the Family and Exodus International. In this series of reports, I talk about what I learned there: the people who go to these conferences, the things that they hear, and what this all means for them, their families and for the rest of us.

Prologue: Why I Went To “Love Won Out”
Part 1: What’s Love Got To Do With It?
Part 2: Parents Struggle With “No Exceptions”
Part 3: A Whole New Dialect
Part 4: It Depends On How The Meaning of the Word "Change" Changes
Part 5: A Candid Explanation For "Change"

The Heterosexual Agenda: Exposing The Myths

At last, the truth can now be told.

Using the same research methods employed by most anti-gay political pressure groups, we examine the statistics and the case studies that dispel many of the myths about heterosexuality. Download your copy today!

And don‘t miss our companion report, How To Write An Anti-Gay Tract In Fifteen Easy Steps.

Testing The Premise: Are Gays A Threat To Our Children?

Anti-gay activists often charge that gay men and women pose a threat to children. In this report, we explore the supposed connection between homosexuality and child sexual abuse, the conclusions reached by the most knowledgeable professionals in the field, and how anti-gay activists continue to ignore their findings. This has tremendous consequences, not just for gay men and women, but more importantly for the safety of all our children.

Straight From The Source: What the “Dutch Study” Really Says About Gay Couples

Anti-gay activists often cite the “Dutch Study” to claim that gay unions last only about 1½ years and that the these men have an average of eight additional partners per year outside of their steady relationship. In this report, we will take you step by step into the study to see whether the claims are true.

The FRC’s Briefs Are Showing

Tony Perkins’ Family Research Council submitted an Amicus Brief to the Maryland Court of Appeals as that court prepared to consider the issue of gay marriage. We examine just one small section of that brief to reveal the junk science and fraudulent claims of the Family “Research” Council.

Daniel Fetty Doesn’t Count

Daniel FettyThe FBI’s annual Hate Crime Statistics aren’t as complete as they ought to be, and their report for 2004 was no exception. In fact, their most recent report has quite a few glaring holes. Holes big enough for Daniel Fetty to fall through.