Sunday, April 20, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Governor and presidential candidate Chris Christie on marriage equality

Christie not only did the honorable thing, he also did the Christian thing.
Christie not only did the honorable thing, he also did the Christian thing.

I promise that this will be the last time you read this from me. I predicted there would be marriage equality in New Jersey. With that said, let's look at the way in which Governor Chris Christie handled the situation and what it means for the presidential candidate.

When Christie entered the Governor's mansion about four years ago, New Jersey already had civil unions for LGBT people. Civil unions are essentially separate-but-equal marriages for same sex couples. While the LGBT community was pushing for full marriage equality, Governor Christie made it clear that while he supported civil unions, he did not stand for marriage equality. 

Inevitably, legislation to allow marriage equality came up in New Jersey.  It passed in the legislature, and Governor Christie vetoed it. Simultaneously, a court case on marriage equality was working its way up the NJ court system.  The question was which would happen first, the court ruling or enough state senators voting to over ride the Governor's veto? The answer last week was the New Jersey court system.

In this case, a lower court ruled in favor of marriage equality being constitutional in New Jersey and Governor Christie challenged that ruling to the State Supreme Court.  The court allowed for marriage equality to take place on October 21st.  Gov. Christie asked for a stay, meaning that there would be no marriages until after the Supreme Court hearings later in the year.

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  • With the request for a stay from Christie in hand, the Court had to act. So instead of just ruling on the stay, they made a statement that they would not only offer the stay, but foreshadowed what their ruling would be after a hearing.  They would rule in favor of marriage equality. To make victory even sweeter, it was a unanimous vote of the Supreme Court. Christie knew he didn't have a prayer.

    So he did what I believe is the decent thing and took the dignified route.  He told all state departments that while he disagreed with the Court, they have ruled and therefore he ordered them to not hinder marriage equality in any way. He also decided not to take the one avenue open to him, an appeal to the US Supreme Court. 

    Christie not only did the honorable thing, he also did the Christian thing. Many of those getting married will or do have children. Marriage equality is about family and the rights and privileges married couples receive from both the state and federal governments.  Thanks to Christie withdrawing the appeal, LGBT families in New Jersey will no longer live under a cloud of inequality under the law. They will have the legal tools necessary to exist on an equal plane with their non-LGBT neighbors. 

    What does this mean for presidential candidate Christie? Christie doesn't seem to have a good shot at the nomination with the Republican Party acting as batty as can be.

    However, the candidate who can please the right-wingers enough and score a nomination will need a running mate who can draw from independents. That VP could be Christie. If Christie pulls off a big enough win for re-election, the republicans will think they have a shot at New Jersey and it's 14 electoral votes. 

    Mark Segal
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