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Rachel Maddow Criticizes Gov. Chris Christie For Wanting To Put Civil Rights Bill Up For Popular Vote (VIDEO)

Posted: 02/17/12 10:36 AM ET  |  Updated: 02/17/12 12:55 PM ET

Rachel Maddow

Rachel Maddow laid into Republican Gov. Chris Christie on her MSNBC show Thursday night for what she called his "mindblowingly bad" argument for putting a bill legalizing same-sex marriage up for a popular vote.

The New Jersey Assembly approved a bill legalizing same-sex marriage on Thursday. The bill now heads to Christie's desk to get signed into law. Christie is expected to veto the bill and put it on the ballot for New Jersey voters to decide this fall. According to the Associated Press, "Christie and most state Republican lawmakers want gay marriage put to a popular vote. Democrats say gay marriage is a civil right protected by the Constitution and not subject to referendum."

Maddow seemed taken aback by Christie's argument defending his desire to put this particular bill up for a popular vote.

Christie said, "the fact of the matter is that 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."

"Seriously?" Maddow asked with a skeptical look on her face. "Yeah, some people would have been happy to put African American civil rights up for a popular vote in the South, but the people who would have been happy with that were not the people who were sitting in at the lunch counter, if you know what I mean."

Maddow added that Christie's argument "to put minority rights up for a majority vote" was "the antithesis of the whole idea of rights being enshrined inalienably in our Constitution."

After playing footage of Christie attempting to further explain his controversial statement, Maddow said, "whatever Chris Christie meant to say about civil rights, what he has decided to do today in New Jersey, is to veto a civil rights bill passed by the Legislature and put it up for a majority vote instead. Rights be damned."

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Maddow on the job:
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  • Iowa Caucus Coverage

    Rachel Maddow, host of MSNBC's "Rachel Maddow Show" (center), moderated coverage of the 2012 Iowa caucus with her fellow network hosts.

  • Comparing GOP Candidates From 2008 And 2012

  • Mocking Herman Cain

  • On Cover Of The Hollywood Reporter

  • Interviewing Joe Miller Supporter

  • At New Yorker Festival

  • On 'Meet The Press'

  • On 'Meet The Press'

  • At The State Department

    Rachel Maddow attends a luncheon hosted by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in honor of British Prime Minister David Cameron on March 14, 2012, at the State Department in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Karen Bleier/AFP/Getty Images)

  • At The State Department

    Rachel Maddow arrives for a lunch in honor of Prime Minister David Cameron at the State Department on March 14, 2012, in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images)

  • In Conversation With David Letterman

    Rachel Maddow and David Letterman discuss the headlines of the day in Emens Auditorium at Ball State University, Letterman's alma mater, on Dec. 2, 2011, in Muncie, Ind. (Photo by Ron Hoskins/Getty Images)

  • In Conversation With David Letterman

    Rachel Maddow discusses the headlines of the day in Emens Auditorium at Ball State University, David Letterman's alma mater, on Dec. 2, 2011, in Muncie, Ind. (Photo by Ron Hoskins/Getty Images)

  • In Conversation With David Letterman

    Rachel Maddow and David Letterman discuss the headlines of the day in Emens Auditorium at Ball State University, Letterman's alma mater, on Dec. 2, 2011, in Muncie, Ind. (Photo by Ron Hoskins/Getty Images)

  • 2011 Summer TCA Tour

    MSNBC President Phil Griffin and MSNBC hosts Rachel Maddow and Lawrence O'Donnell (left to right) speak during the NBC Universal portion of the Television Critics Association's 2011 summer tour, held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Aug. 2, 2011, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

  • 2011 Summer TCA Press Tour

  • At The White House

    MSNBC hosts Rachel Maddow (left) and Keith Olbermann (second from left) talk with White House Communications Director Anita Dunn (second from right) and Deputy Press Secretary Bill Burton (right) outside the White House on Oct. 19, 2009, in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

  • At The White House

    MSNBC hosts Rachel Maddow (left) and Keith Olbermann (second from left) talk with White House Communications Director Anita Dunn (second from right) and Deputy Press Secretary Bill Burton (right) outside the White House on Oct. 19, 2009, in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

  • Nancy Pelosi, Rachel Maddow

    House Minority Leader Leader Nancy Pelosi of Calif. accompanied by MSNBC's Rachel Maddow, participates in a conversation moderated by Maddow, in Washington, Wednesday, June 6, 2012, to talk about her experiences and achievements over 25 years in Congress. (AP Photo/Haraz N. Ghanbari)

  • NAACP-Holder

    Jo Ann Wright, of Southfield, left, gets her photo taken with political commentator Rachel Maddow who was the recipient of the Ida B. Wells Freedom and Justice Award at the 57th annual NAACP Fight For Freedom Fund Dinner at Cobo Hall in Detroit Sunday May 6, 2012. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder was the keynote speaker. (AP Photos/David Guralnick / The Detroit News)

  • David Brooks, George Stephanopoulos, Rahm Emanuel, Rachel Maddow, Alex Castellanos

    Mayor Rahm Emanuel, second from left, shares a stage with George Stephanopoulos, left, David Brooks, center, Rachel Maddow and Alex Castellanos, right, during a panel discussion, "2012: The Path to the Presidency", at the University of Chicago in Chicago on Thursday, Jan. 19, 2012. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

  • Rachel Maddow

    Rachel Maddow, host of "The Rachel Maddow Show" on MSNBC, shares a stage with pundits during a panel discussion, "2012: The Path to the Presidency", at the University of Chicago in Chicago on Thursday, Jan. 19, 2012. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

  • Rachel Maddow, Lawrence O'Donnell, Chris Matthews

    MSNBC hosts Rachel Maddow, left, Lawrence O'Donnell, center, and Chris Matthews take part in a panel discussion at the NBC Universal summer press tour, Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2011, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)

  • Lawrence O'Donnell, Rachel Maddow

    Lawrence O'Donnell, right, host of the MSNBC show "The Last Word," answers a question as Rachel Maddow, host of "The Rachel Maddow Show," look on at the NBC Universal summer press tour, Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2011, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)

  • David Letterman In Conversation With Rachel Maddow

    MUNCIE, IN - DECEMBER 02: Rachel Maddow and David Letterman (R) discuss the headlines of the day in Emens Auditorium at Ball State University, Letterman's alma mater, on December 2, 2011 in Muncie, Indiana. (Photo by Ron Hoskins/Getty Images)

  • David Letterman In Conversation With Rachel Maddow

    MUNCIE, IN - DECEMBER 02: Rachel Maddow and David Letterman (R) discuss the headlines of the day in Emens Auditorium at Ball State University, Letterman's alma mater, on December 2, 2011 in Muncie, Indiana. (Photo by Ron Hoskins/Getty Images)

  • Alaska's Three Senate Candidates Debate In Anchorage

    ANCHORAGE - OCTOBER 26: Television and radio personality Rachel Maddow (R) speaks with supporters of Republican candidate Joe Miller prior to his debate with write-in candidate Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), and Democratic candidate Scott McAdams hosted by The Alaska World Affairs Council and Rotary Clubs of Anchorage at the Dena'ina Convention Center October 26, 2010 in Anchorage, Alaska. Voters will go to the polls on November 2, 2010. (Photo by Clark James Mishler/Getty Images)

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Filed by Rebecca Shapiro  |