The governor of New Jersey has ordered flags at government buildings to fly at half-staff on Saturday in honor of Whitney Houston's funeral. It is a decision that has met with much criticism, mostly because of her drug-addicted past.
The Associated Press reports that Gov. Chris Christie is defending his move, calling the Newark-born Houston 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. I just reject that on a human level," Christie said on Wednesday.
"What I would say to everybody is there but for the grace of God go I," he added.
Christie pointed out that he ordered flags lowered following the death of Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band saxophonist Clarence Clemons last year and no one said a word.
However Clemons did not have the negative history that Houston had, which some say disqualifies her for the honor which is normally reserved for fallen soldiers, police officers or prominent lawmakers and officials.
"It's just such a bad example for people," said Heather Clause, a blogger about teen mom issues.
"It should be for major events," upstate New York newspaper editor Rebecca Eppelmann tweeted. "It's horrible that she passed away. It's not something that should warrant this."
Newark resident Anna Simpson cannot disagree more with those assessments.
"She never forgot where she came from," she said. "She was real. We would see her and be like, 'She's one of ours,' and she always made us proud, no matter what happened."