At 11 a.m. Tuesday morning, Gov. Chris Christie stepped up to the podium at Livingston High School in New Jersey and finally made the announcement we pretty much all knew was coming: he's officially running for president in the 2016 election. Wondering what Christie White House would look like? Well, let's just say that if you're looking for a prez who's going to be progressive on social issues, this is probably not your guy. Case in point: in an interview following last Friday's SCOTUS ruling, Christie said gay marriage should be in the state's hands, not the federal government's; indicating his strong opposition to same-sex unions is never really going to budge.
According to NJ.com, Christie shared:
I think this is something that should be decided by the people of the state and not imposed upon them by a group of lawyers sitting in black robes at the Supreme Court. ... So I agree with the dissent that Chief Justice Roberts authored today.
Ugh. Of course he wants it to remain in the hands of the state — because that would continue to allow anti-gay marriage governors such as himself to thwart it, whenever they see fit. And a quick look at his own track record on this front pretty much proves that point: in 2012, Christie vetoed a gay marriage bill a mere six hours after it came to him. The veto was a conditional one, meaning he sent it back to lawmakers and asked them to get something called an ombudsman (which is a fancy word for an investigative official) to look into things further; but still — the move made it pretty clear that Christie didn't exactly want it to ever pass.
Officially, the governor remains fiercely anti-gay marriage, but pro-civil union. (I for one have always been mystified by how you could be pro-civil union and not actually make the short leap to supporting gay marriage, but I digress...) Following the veto in 2012, he said in a statement, "I have been just as adamant that same-sex couples in a civil union deserve the very same rights and benefits enjoyed by married couples — as well as the strict enforcement of those rights and benefits."
A year after he vetoed the bill in 2013, NJ.com reports that the Christie administration came down on gay marriage again, appealing to the state's Supreme Court after a lower court ruled saying New Jersey must recognize same-sex marriages. He did eventually drop the appeal, and eventually relent, though. "Discrimination should not be tolerated and any complaint alleging a violation of a citizen's right should be investigated and, if appropriate, remedied," he said in a statement at the time.
Hmmm... so he didn't think vetoing a same-sex marriage bill (which, ahem, was all about equal rights) was in any way discriminatory in the first place? And as for letting the people of the state vote on such a social issue — did he not get the memo that long before SCOTUS' ruling on June 26, the people did want this? According to the latest polls by the Pew Research Center, 57 percent of Americans support gay marriage. (And I'm willing to bet that after last Friday's love-fest and explosion of happiness over the gay marriage ruling, a few more have come around to getting that, yep, love is love.)
As for Christie, though, I'm guessing he didn't exactly get the warm and fuzzies on Friday like the rest of us. In his response to the SCOTUS ruling last week, Christie continued to rail against the justices who get to decide the fate of the people, and not the other way 'round. "Those five lawyers get to impose it under our system and so our job is going to be to support the law of the land, and that under the Supreme Court's ruling is now the law of the land," he said, according to NJ.com. "But I don't agree with the way it's been done."
When it comes to Christie's race to the White House, though, his conservative history on important social views isn't the only that could potentially harm him. NJ.com reports that the governor already has many hoping he doesn't make it to the Oval. In fact, his long-awaited announcement itself was greeted with a fair amount of jeers, and not just cheers. Teachers protested the governor outside Livingston High School Wednesday morning, unleashing their anger over a new state budget bill Christie signed which took out portions that taxed the wealthy, and funded pensions for public workers. Their chant? "Hey hey, ho ho, Christie for president. ... Hell no!"
Yep; looks like this might be an uphill battle for Christie. (But hey, at least he's probably getting better press out of the gate than Trump?)