A challenger to the Governor of the US state of New Jersey has slammed him for his continuing opposition to equal marriage, responding to say: “My daughter is not a political agenda”.

Democratic Senator Barbara Buono, challenged Governor Chris Christie in the debate, during which he said he thought equal marriage should be on a ballot for voters, because he does not trust politicians who have “political agendas”.

Challenging him on an interaction he had in a New Jersey diner earlier in the day, when he said not even his family or friends would change his mind on equal marriage, Buono said: “Governor, show a profile in courage and do the right thing for our sons and our daughters, our brothers and our sisters. This is a human right and it really should not be on the ballot. We should not have the majority of the people decide the minority’s rights. It’s just wrong.”

The Governor then responded to attempt to justify his reasons for wanting a referendum on the issue. He said: “Thirty-five other states — 35 of the 50 — have put this question on the ballot, and so the idea that this should never be on the ballot is something that is against what 35 other states have done. I trust the people of New Jersey to make this judgment. I don’t trust 121 politicians with political agendas.

She simply replied: “My daughter, who is openly gay, is not a political agenda.”

Back in July, Buono called on Christie to “step out of the way”, and allow Republican legislators to vote on an equal marriage bill.

New Jersey Judge Mary Jacobson recently ruled that because the US federal government now recognises same-sex marriage, the state government in New Jersey would violate its constitution by not doing so. She said same-sex marriages should take place from 21 October.

The administration of Governor Chris Christie has appealed the decision at the state Supreme Court, also asking Judge Jacobson to place a stay on equal marriage until the court rules.

Former cast-member of the popular Jersey Shore television series JWoww last week called the Governor “retarded” for continuing to fight against equal marriage in the state. She later apologised for her use of the word, but stood by her opinion of him.

The US Supreme Court in June struck down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), and ruled that civil unions do not provide the same benefits as marriage.

Christie in June said the opposite, and that the strike-down of DOMA “was wrong”.

Back in February, Democrats in the New Jersey legislature said they would attempt to override Governor Chris Christie’s equal marriage veto from last year, and have now agreed to put the question of marriage equality to voters in November, if they cannot override it.

Alongside Pennsylvania, New Jersey was the only north east state where same-sex marriage is not legal.