New Jersey Republican Governor Chris Christie has been the public face of the opposition to marriage equality in that very blue state. He personally believes in an exclusionary definition of marriage, vetoed a marriage equality bill passed by the legislature in February of 2012, and has gone to court to defend marriage discrimination.
Gov. Christie is currently running for re-election, and in a debate Tuesday night with Democratic challenger Barbara Buono, he claimed that his feelings about marriage are so strong that they wouldn't change even if one of his children came out of the closet.
Professor Brigid Harrison of Montclair State University asked Christie how he would respond if one of his four children came out as gay and told him they wanted to get married. Christie responded:
"[If] my children came to me and said that they were gay, I would grab them and hug them and tell them I loved them, just like I would do with any of my children who came to me with news that they wanted to give to me that they thought were important enough to open themselves up in that way. But what I would also tell them is that Dad believes that marriage is between one man and one woman. And that's my position... And I know what [my child] would understand is that their father loves them, and that's the most important thing."
Buono, who has a lesbian daughter, declined to respond to Christie's remarks. But Jody Huckaby, Executive Director of PFLAG National, the nation's largest organization for parents, friends, and allies of the LGBT community, provided the following statement to The Bilerico Project:
"We commend Governor Christie, as a parent, for expressing his unconditional love should one of his children come out to him. We would ask him as an elected official, however, to have as strong a love for the Constitution, which dictates that our institutions and elected officials lead with the Founding Fathers' vision of nothing less than liberty and justice for all."
Video of the New Jersey gubernatorial debate is embedded after the jump. Harrison's question and Christie's response begin at the 47:45 mark.