Chris Christie Says Anti-Gay Marriage Battle Is Still Worth Fighting. It Isn't.
While it’s becoming more and more obvious by the week that gay marriage will ultimately be the law of the land, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie seems to have missed the memo. In a speech to governors, Christie said that Republicans shouldn’t stop opposing gay marriage, because the issue isn’t yet resolved. Never mind the fact that state gay marriage bans are dropping like flies — Christie wants Republicans to keep up the good fight anyway, and he’s not afraid to say it.
“I don’t think there’s some referee who stands up and says, ‘OK, now it’s time for you to change your opinion,’” Christie told reporters. “The country will resolve this over a period of time. But do I think it’s resolved? No.”
But saying this is a very odd political move, especially for someone who appears to be planning a presidential run. The majority of Americans support marriage equality, for one thing. So does the Supreme Court. So do state courts, and so do lower federal courts. In 2013 alone, the number of states offering gay marriage rights doubled, and marriage equality is now legal in nineteen states, plus the District of Columbia.
You might think that Christie, a moderate governor of a blue state, is simply shoring up his conservative support in preparation for a Republican primary. But that wouldn’t make much sense, either. During the 2012 Republican presidential primaries, Rick Perry’s infamous anti-gay commercial earned him criticism, not praise — and that was before polls showed majority support for gay marriage. Now, even amongst Republicans, opposition to gay marriage is waning.
And even if this was a salient issue for Republican voters, Christie would have a hard time snatching the role of Marriage Defender away from Perry and his ilk. Although Christie did veto a bill in 2012 that would have legalized same-sex marriage, he also ended his state’s legal battle against gay marriage in 2013 and declared that “it is a settled issue in New Jersey.” The Republican base does not take apostasy lightly, and there’s a zero percent chance that Christie won’t be criticized as “soft on traditional marriage” if he runs for president.
It’s unclear, then, what Christie is thinking. He can’t convincingly position himself as either pro- or anti-marriage equality, and it doesn’t seem like his fellow Republicans even want to talk about the issue. Then again, maybe Christie is just honestly speaking his mind. If that's the case, Hillary Clinton is probably hoping he starts speaking his mind with a bit more frequency.