Surprising no-one, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie bucked the trend of equality sweeping the nation this week by vetoing a marriage equality bill passed by his state’s legislature. Thank you to my friend and LGBT ally Sara Carmona for her nomination of Christie. Despite pressure from advocacy groups, local politicians of both major parties, and a phone call from Washington Governor Christine Gregoire (who had just signed a similar law), Christie played politics with the civil rights of thousands of New Jersey citizens.
The Governor continues to hide behind a two-pronged attack on equality. First, he maintains that changing marriage law should be put to a vote of the people, an absurd claim that civil rights require a stamp of majority approval. This is also an ironic dodge given that all recent polls show a safe majority of New Jersey citizens supporting full marriage equality. Second, Christie points to New Jersey’s civil union law, saying that separate but equal should be just fine for the gays. REALLY? Wasn’t that concept thrown out by the U.S. Supreme Court fifty years ago, Governor?
It’s very clear that Christie is playing the political odds here. He wants to run for president in 2016 (being too afraid to challenge President Obama this year) and can’t risk a pro-equality vote that would alienate the slavering hordes of tea party types that vote in Republican primaries. As equality sweeps the nation, however, that move may be a major miscalculation as equality may well be the standard by the time he tries to run. He certainly wasn’t prepared for the strong backlash as demonstrated in this bloviating, ineffective attempt at defending his position. Christie, yet another Republican on the wrong side of history! Christie better be careful, for the Gay Agenda will be watching his actions!
A sad dishonorable mention this week goes to Daniel Porkorney, the mayor of La Grande, Oregon, who posted anti-equality statements (including approval of Christie’s action) on his Facebook page. He quickly learned the lesson so many celebrities have learned — online words will bite you — as his community mounted a petition demanding his resignation and forced a strong apology.