New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is standing by his decision to lower flags in the state to half-staff on Saturday for Whitney Houston's funeral.
The decision was criticized by those who believe the honor should be reserved for fallen troops, first responders or elected officials, according to the AP. Others said it's inappropriate to offer the tribute in light of Whitney Houston's manner of death, which has been rumored to be the result of drug abuse.
Christie defended Houston, a native of the state, calling her a "daughter of New Jersey." He said her battle with substance abuse doesn't discredit her accomplishments.
"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," Christie said. "I just reject that on a human level."
Christie has ordered the state's flags flown at half-staff for members of the military or police officers killed in the line of duty. He also had the flags lowered last year for Clarence Clemons, the saxophonist for Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band.