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Newark, New Jersey Mayor Cory Booker was asked at a general press conference today about New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's proposal to put marriage equality on the ballot for a referendum. 

He begins by saying, "I've got very, very strong feelings about this ..."

Then he proceeded to demonstrate that he did. He delivered a barn-burner of an address to the gathered press. 

Transcript after the fold. 

There isn't much I could add to improve on this except to say thank you Mayor Booker. 

Mayor Booker: 'I've got very, very strong feelings about this... [...] But dear God, we should not be putting civil rights issues to a popular vote subject to the sentiments of the day. No minority should have their rights subject to the passions and sentiments of the majority. This is a fundamental bedrock of what our nation stands for. And I get very concerned that we have created in our state, we refuse to address, call it like it is... that we've created a second class citizenship in our state. That's what we have in America right now. We have two classes of citizens. Jackie Robinson said that the right of every American to first class citizenship is the most important issue of our time. Let's stop the ruse. We have two types of citizens right now in our state: citizens like me, who, if I choose to marry somebody, I can marry somebody from a different country and they have a right to United States citizenship. I talked to somebody last night, his spouse is looking to be deported.. their SPOUSE is looking to be deported. I've got a right, people against taxes, that if I die, I'm married, this first class citizenship that I have says that my estate taxes, my wife will get to avoid my estate taxes. The second class citizens in this country don't have those rights. There's over a thousand federal things, federal laws that create different classes of American citizenship because we're not treating everybody equally under the law. I read the 14th amendment clearly. It talks about "equal protection under the laws." And that was never something that should go up to a popular vote, whether blacks, women or other minorities should be equal first class citizens. Thank God Jackie Robinson, there wasn't a popular vote whether he should join.. be a professional baseball player. And so, to me this is INFURIATING.. that we are still in the 21st century and we haven't created equality under the law. And so I will be fundamentally in the fiber of my being supportive of equal citizenship for all people in this country because I know at the end of the day I would not be here, my family would not be able to put food on the table for me, if it wasn't for that ideal in America.
 Don’t just point to the Governor – we had the chance to do this under the last Governor, and we didn’t have the courage to stand up and do the right thing.  So I'm tired and exhausted that we have a country that has been able to overcome women having a second class position in this country, blacks having a second class citizenship in this country, latinos having a second class citizenship in this country, blacks and whites who want to marry having a second class citizenship in this country.  It’s about time we create first-class citizenship for every American, plain and simple. Every New Jerseyan.  This should not be a popular vote.  This is something we should do now... to me it's ridiculous and offensive that we're still having this debate in Trenton. It should have been done months, if not years ago.”

h/t indiemcemopants for typing the transcript

Originally posted to Milk Men And Women on Thu Jan 26, 2012 at 05:11 PM PST.

Also republished by LGBT Kos Community, Black Kos community, and Daily Kos.

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