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NJ Gov. Christie Throws In Marriage Discrimination Towel

Governor of New Jersey Chris Christie is cutting his losses and has “advised” the state’s attorney general to withdraw his appeal to a lower court’s order that allowed same-sex couples to begin marrying in New Jersey starting at midnight last night.

Last year Gov. Christie vetoed a marriage equality bill duly passed by the New Jersey state legislature, then appeared to block Republican legislators from voting their conscience on any veto override vote.

The following is Gov. Christie’s statement about withdrawing his administration’s appeal, courtesy Washington Blade:

“Chief Justice Rabner left no ambiguity about the unanimous court’s view on the ultimate decision in this matter when he wrote, ‘same-sex couples who cannot marry are not treated equally under the law today,’” Christie spokesperson Colin Reed said, referring to the state Supreme Court’s unanimous decision on Friday that denied the governor’s request to postpone Mercer County Superior Court Judge Mary Jacobson’s Sept. 27 ruling that found the state’s civil unions law prevents same-sex couples from obtaining federal marriage benefits until the justices rule on his administration’s appeal of it. “Although the governor strongly disagrees with the court substituting its judgment for the constitutional process of the elected branches or a vote of the people, the court has now spoken clearly as to their view of the New Jersey Constitution and, therefore, same-sex marriage is the law.”

Update: National Organization for Marriage president Brian Brown has responded to Gov. Christie’s capitulation, asserting that Gov. Christie’s withdrawal from the marriage case has disqualified him from the GOP presidential nomination (emphasis added):

[W]e are extremely disappointed in Governor Chris Christie for withdrawing the state’s appeal of the underlying decision, effectively throwing in the towel on marriage. The mark of a leader is to walk a principled walk no matter the difficulty of the path. Chris Christie has failed the test, abandoning both voters and the core institution of society – marriage as the union of one man and one woman. [snip]

Regrettably, Governor Christie’s decision to surrender on marriage reveals him to be a man who lacks the courage of his supposed convictions. As far as we are concerned, it’s a disqualifying failure. His surrender on marriage effectively surrenders any chance he might have had to secure the GOP nomination for president.

Family Research Council’s Peter Sprigg expressed a similar opinion:

We are glad that Gov. Christie vetoed the legislature’s attempt to redefine marriage, and that he was initially willing to defend the state’s marriage law in court. However, conservatives are looking for leaders who will sustain their commitment to unchanging principles. Combined with his signing of a radical bill to outlaw even voluntary sexual orientation change efforts with minors, today’s action has given conservatives serious pause about Gov. Christie’s reliability.

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Pam Spaulding

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