In online postings, there were two main arguments against the honor for the Grammy Award winner who died over the weekend in California at age 48: One was that it should be reserved for members of the military, first responders and elected officials. The other was that it's wrong to honor a drug addict.
Christie said he was not saying that Houston, who was born in Newark and was raised in nearby East Orange, is a role model. Instead, he said, Houston deserves the honor because of her huge cultural impact and as "a daughter of New Jersey."
"I am disturbed by people who believe that because her ultimate demise - and we don't know what is the cause of her death yet - but because of her history of substance abuse that somehow she's forfeited the good things that she did in her life," said the governor during a briefing in northern New Jersey. "I just reject that on a human level."
The governor noted he has ordered flags flown at half-staff for all 31 fallen New Jersey soldiers and every fallen police officer during his time in office. He also ordered flags lowered last year for Clarence Clemons, the saxophonist for Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band.
The cause of Houston's death at a Beverly Hills hotel has not been determined, and the results of toxicology tests are pending.
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