(TRENTON) — Assembly Speaker Sheila Y. Oliver (D-Essex) issued a multimedia package Tuesday on a news conference she held with Congressman Rush Holt (D-NJ) and civil rights stalwart Congressman John Lewis (D-GA).
The trio of lawmakers criticized a comment made by Gov. Chris Christie at a news conference Jan. 24 as he sought to defend his call for putting a marriage equality referendum on the ballot, rather than deciding it legislatively:
“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.”
Lewis led the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee from 1963 to 1965, which was largely responsible for organizing student activism, including sit-ins and other activities. He also helped spearhead one of the most seminal moments of the civil rights movement when he led more than 600 peaceful protesters across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama on March 7, 1965. They were brutally attacked by Alabama state troopers in what became known as “Bloody Sunday.” News broadcasts and photographs of the police attacks helped hasten the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
Despite more than 40 arrests, physical attacks and serious injuries, Lewis remained a devoted advocate of the philosophy of nonviolence and in November 1986 was elected as the U.S. Representative of Georgia’s Fifth Congressional District.
Oliver is the sponsor of marriage equality legislation scheduled to be heard Thursday by an Assembly committee.
Hold has backed New Jersey’s legislative effort on marriage equality and the repeal of the federal so-called Defense of Marriage Act.
The multimedia package consists of a video of the news conference and audio of the same.
The audio file is available upon request.