(CNN) – Leading up to his veto of a same-sex marriage bill passed by his state legislature, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie explained his decision to CNN's Piers Morgan, and said that although he is an opponent of same-sex marriage, he favors putting the policy to the people.
"I know this is a very emotional issue and a very divisive issue in my state," Christie said in an interview to air on Piers Morgan Tonight Tuesday. "The only way we have to amend our constitution in New Jersey - which is by referendum - let's put it on the ballot and let's let the people decide.
CNN LIVE: Tune in Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET for the last presidential debate before Super Tuesday, the CNN/Arizona Republican Party Debate hosted by John King. Follow it on Twitter at #CNNDebate and on Facebook at CNN Politics. For real-time coverage of the Arizona and Michigan primaries, go to CNNPolitics.com or to the CNN apps or CNN mobile web site.
– Follow the Ticker on Twitter: @PoliticalTicker
"And if the people in New Jersey, as some of the same sex marriage advocates suggest the polls indicate are in favor of it, then my position would not be the winning position but I'm willing to take that risk because I trust the people of the state," he continued in the interview.
The governor who was pressured by some conservatives to enter the GOP presidential field said that his personal position is guided by his Catholic faith and that he won't "compromise my principles for politics." He said his position should be no surprise to voters.
"Now that the legislature has passed that piece of legislation, then I will veto it because that's what I promised to do and that's what I think is the right thing to do," he said.
A proponent of civil unions rather than same-sex marriages, Christie said he separates his personal beliefs from his politics, and from his view that voters ought to decide this issue at the polls.
Christie adamantly and consistently said he would not enter the presidential race, and endorsed Mitt Romney in October 2011.
Watch Piers Morgan Live weeknights 9 p.m. ET. For the latest from Piers Morgan click here.