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TRENTON, N.J.— New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is referring to an openly gay state lawmaker as “numb nuts” for comparing him to former segregationist governors from the South.

The governor wants the issue of gay marriage put to a public vote. Democrats have criticized him for comments that people involved in the civil rights movement of the 1960s would have been happier to put the matter to public vote than die on the streets of the South.

Christie says his comments have been misconstrued. He says it’s clear that option would not have been available.

In a statement attacking the governor’s comments, Democratic Assemblyman Reed Gusciora (Goo-SEE-ora) says Christie would have found allies in late Alabama Gov. George Wallace and late Georgia Gov. Lester Maddox, both segregationists.

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