October 21st, 2013
10:19 AM ET
1 year ago

Christie drops challenge to same-sex marriages

Updated 10/21/2013 at 3:54 p.m. ET

(CNN) - New Jersey Republican Gov. Chris Christie is dropping a legal challenge to a court ruling abolishing the state's ban on same-sex marriages.

"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," Christie's office said Monday morning in a statement.

"The Governor will do his constitutional duty and ensure his Administration enforces the law as dictated by the New Jersey Supreme Court."

Friday, the New Jersey Supreme Court declined to temporarily block a lower court ruling knocking down the state's same-sex marriage ban. The state's highest court had been scheduled to hear further arguments in January. With that case dropped, same-sex weddings in New Jersey became legal starting at 12:01 a.m. Monday.

Christie has long said he opposes weddings for gay and lesbian couples. In his first reelection debate earlier this month, he called for a state referendum to decide the issue, although the governor said he would accept legalized same-sex marriages were a majority of Garden State voters to approve it.

In the second debate against state Sen. Barbara Buono, the Democratic challenger, Christie said that if his children came out as gay, he would still love them but his views on same-sex marriage would remain unchanged.

In a Quinnipiac poll earlier this month, New Jerseyans said they preferred Christie drop the challenge by a nearly two-to-one margin. A slight plurality of Republican voters said Christie should continue to pursue the challenge, 49% to 42%.

Christie’s decision to drop the legal challenge comes two weeks before he will face Buono at the ballots. Favored to win reelection by double digit margins in public opinion polls, Christie has worked hard to present himself as a political moderate in a blue-state race widely considered to be a test-run for a possible 2016 presidential bid.

Buono released a statement describing Christie's views as "bigoted. "

"Despite Governor Christie's efforts to block the rights of gays and lesbians at every turn, it took a determined effort by brave individuals and a unanimous decision by the New Jersey Supreme Court to force the Governor to drop his appeal," she said. "I am thrilled the court ended his ability to enforce his bigoted views that are contrary to the values of our state."

The conservative-values organization Family Research Council released a statement Monday expressing "disappointment" with Christie's decision not to pursue the case.

"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," Senior Fellow for Policy Studies Peter Sprigg said in the statement.

"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."

Gay and lesbian couples in New Jersey started getting married 12:01 a.m. Monday, the moment the lower court's ruling went into effect.

The decision was based in large part on the summer's U.S. Supreme Court ruling striking down a key part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act that prohibited discrimination against same-sex couples. In her decision, the New Jersey judge argued that the state's continuing allowance only of civil unions for gay and lesbian couples was discriminatory.

Among those granting the early-morning marriages was Democratic Senator-elect Cory Booker, the Newark, New Jersey mayor who overwhelmingly won his bid last week to fill out the remainder of the term of the late Democratic Sen. Frank Lautenberg, who died in June.

New Jersey's Assembly Speaker, Democrat Sheila Oliver, who had urged Christie to drop his fight, praised the governor's decision in a statement Monday.

"This will long be remembered as a great day for equality in New Jersey," Oliver said.


Filed under: Chris Christie • New Jersey • Same-sex marriage
soundoff (302 Responses)
  1. Rudy NYC

    NameFrank Deery

    Christie, like Obama in 2012, flip-flopped to
    save his political butt. If a President and Governor pander for votes over their principles, we few to lead the way. Senator Cruz did stand his ground, but got clobbered by the very media which gave us four more Lousey years of Obama!
    ---------------------------
    This is a textbook example of the mindset on the extreme right. Compromise is regarded as a flip-flop, which is a cardinal sin.

    October 21, 2013 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  2. Sigh

    @Data
    Historically there were generations upon generations of incestual breeding, for purposes of keeping the "bloodline pure." The incidence of damage and sterility were not significant. There are also studies that indicate homosexual relations are damaging (in a variety of ways, although other studies refute parts of their conclusions) and obviously they don't do anything for the continuation of the species either, yet most people no longer care if homosexuals copulate or marry. Ultimately, people need to reconcile whether we have any business dictating what consenting adults (plural) do in their bedrooms or whom they desire to marry. I think gay marriage is just a first step towards generally stating that, "no, we don't."

    October 21, 2013 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  3. lolobama

    Funny how some people on here are using this forum to paint all Christians as gay-hating bigots.

    Message to you all from a moderate Christian... the majority of us don't hate gays, it's just that traditional marriage is our belief. Me personally I could care less if gays are allowed to marry, it doesn't affect me because I ain't gay. I do not look down upon nor shun gays in any way.

    Most of us do not shove our religion down anyone's throats either. If someone wants to know why I believe in what I do, I'll gladly tell them. The barely masked anti-Christian hate on here is astounding. It must suck to live your life hating a group of others but convincing yourself it's justified lol

    October 21, 2013 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  4. skarphace

    al: "Just another sign of the end times coming!"

    You mean a Republican actually making sense? Yeah, I hear you.

    October 21, 2013 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  5. anonymous

    Dominican mama 4 Obama
    Fair is Fair
    anonymous
    Being gay is a genetic abnormality just as being albino is a genetic abnormality.
    -–
    I doubt it. Such a gene, if it existed, would have been flushed out of the gene pool millenia ago
    -----------------
    Really? The gay gene if it existed would've been flushed out of the gene pool millenia ago?
    Why?
    How so?
    And by whom Fair?
    Your, er, intolerance is showing again Fair.
    --

    Flushed out by the process of evolution. You know, the process liberals and atheists believe in unconditionally. Gay couples would simply not reproduce and their numbers would gradually decline over the ages. Unfortunately they trick other non-gays into procreation and continue the genetic abnormality. Absent this deceit, the genetic abnormaility known as being gay would have disappeared long ago.

    Or do you argue against the evolution process?

    October 21, 2013 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  6. skarphace

    Someonesdad: "Now we get watch the marriages of men who like men, .. and women who like women .. No chance at procreation whatsoever."

    Well, marriage has nothing to do with procreation. You can legally procreate without being married and you can legally be married without planning to procreate. Your point is therefore moot.

    October 21, 2013 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  7. Sheik Abdullah bin Boinkin

    Marriages involving multiple women and one man have been around for centuries in other cultures. They are legal and perfectly normal and very productive. The perfect combination involves a good cook, a good cleaner, a good mother, and a good hussy. A marriage made in heaven. You infidels do not know what you are missing!

    October 21, 2013 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  8. skarphace

    Jack 2: "You straights that are for this, are immoral liberal sellouts. You are the trash of society."

    You mean those of us that are opposed to the government deciding how citizens should lead their personal lives? It seems to me that it is the Tea Party that are being hypocrites on this issue, rather than liberals being sellouts. "Don't Tread On Me." Remember? Or is it really "Tread On Them, Not Me."?

    October 21, 2013 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  9. Rudy NYC

    lolobama

    Funny how some people on here are using this forum to paint all Christians as gay-hating bigots.

    Message to you all from a moderate Christian... the majority of us don't hate gays, it's just that traditional marriage is our belief. Me personally I could care less if gays are allowed to marry, it doesn't affect me because I ain't gay. I do not look down upon nor shun gays in any way.

    Most of us do not shove our religion down anyone's throats either. If someone wants to know why I believe in what I do, I'll gladly tell them. The barely masked anti-Christian hate on here is astounding. It must suck to live your life hating a group of others but convincing yourself it's justified lol
    --------------------------
    Most people on the left already know this. Unfortunately, there's not a single Christian Conservative on the right that has the spine to stand up and condemn those who wrap themselves in the The Bible for political purposes. No one. The lack of objections to their heresy can only be interpreted as acceptance. So, please don't get offended when some on the left lump all Christian Conservatives into the same basket of hypocrites.

    October 21, 2013 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  10. skarphace

    rc: "It is unacceptable for judges to make legislation. It is up to the voters by referendum to decide."

    The judges did not make the legislation. The judges ruled on the consti tutionality of the legislation, and guess what? That is indeed their job, not the job of the voters.

    October 21, 2013 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  11. Mark

    i have yet to hear one rational, fact-based, scientific or morally valid argument against marriage equality.

    P.S. immoral issues are those that infringe on other people's rights and/or well being. I have seen plenty of those arguments against it.

    October 21, 2013 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  12. Daniel J and Edward L Dubrowski Foundation

    The Foundation is very happy about this as wedding planning has become a very lucrative business in NY where we are based. We are pleased that we can expand ourl assistance arm into New Jersey.

    October 21, 2013 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  13. skarphace

    Jerald: "what about us Clergy who don't want this gay business?"

    So your claim is that you are now forced to marry gays? Really? The court's ruling does nothing of the sort. It merely makes it legal for gays to marry. They still have to find someone willing to marry them. If you don't want to marry gays then don't.

    October 21, 2013 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  14. skarphace

    humtake: "we live in a country run by Democrats. Deciding issues by letting the people vote is no longer an option."

    The voters have never had the option of deciding the consti tutionality of laws. That has always been and will always be the jurisdiction of the courts.

    October 21, 2013 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  15. skarphace

    Jim: "It's an un-Godly union and NOT a Marrage as defined in the Bible."

    Well, then I guess it is a good thing that the Bible is not our Consti tution, then.

    October 21, 2013 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  16. TheObserver

    @lolobama
    Funny how some people on here are using this forum to paint all Christians as gay-hating bigots.
    -–(SOME PUT THEIR HATE ON DISPLAY, SOME JUST SAVE IT FOR SUNDAYS).

    Message to you all (MEANING US 'HEATHENS'?) from a moderate Christian (HEY EVERYONE, THERE ARE MODERATE CHRISTIANS! WAIT, WHAT DOES THAT EVEN MEAN?.... LETS READ ON......) ... the majority of us don't hate gays (WE JUST PASSIVELY FOLLOW OUR PASTOR WHO'S THE MOUTHPIECE FOR THE BIGOTRY), it's just that traditional marriage is our belief (AND ALSO THE FACT THAT GAYS ARE LIVING IN SIN AND WILL ULTIMATELY BURN IN HELL, BUT THAT SECOND PART ALWAYS COMES OFF SO HARSH, YOU KNOW?). Me personally I could care less if gays are allowed to marry (THAT'S A SHAME BECAUSE YOU CARE ABOUT OTHER CIVIL RIGHTS ISSUES, LIKE WOMENS RIGHTS AND MINORITY RIGHTS, DON'T YOU?), it doesn't affect me because I ain't gay (I WONDER IF THE NON-JEWISH GERMANS DURING WW2 SAID, 'THIS WHOLE HOLOCAUST THING DOESN'T AFFECT ME, I'M NOT JEWISH!'). I do not look down upon nor shun gays in any way (GOOD, COMMON COURTESY SHOULD COME PRETTY NATURALLY).

    Most of us do not shove our religion down anyone's throats either (SEE CRUSADES 1-3, SEE CONQUISTADORES, SEE AMERICAN POLITICS, SEE IRA CONFLICTS IN BELFAST, SEE ROE V WADE, ET AL). If someone wants to know why I believe in what I do, I'll gladly tell them (BECAUSE ITS WHAT YOUR PARENTS TAUGHT YOU). The barely masked (IT'S STILL MASKED?) anti-Christian hate on here is astounding (AND WARRANTED, AND A LONG TIME COMIN'). It must suck to live your life hating a group of others but convincing yourself it's justified lol (I TOTALLY AGREE MAKE SURE YOU AND YOUR FRIENDS LEARN THIS WELL AND RE-EXAMINE YOUR OPINIONS)

    It must suck to live your life hating a group of others but convincing yourself it's justified lol – THIS LINE IS THE KICKER. DOES ANY PART OF THIS SENTENCE REFLECT ANY SENSE OF KINDNESS, CONSIDERATION, GRACE, OR INCLUDE ANY EVIDENCE OF ANY INTELLIGENTLY FORMED OPINIONS? WOULD THERE BE ANY CHANCE IN HELL THAT JESUS WOULD ACTUALLY UTTER SUCH SMUG HATE-SPEECH? IS THERE ANYTHING ENLIGHTENED OR SPIRITUAL, OR EVEN REMOTELY PROFOUND IN THIS SENTENCE? NO. JUST LIKE THE MODERN AMERICAN EVANGELICAL DEFINITION OF CHRISTIANITY, THIS POST NEEDS TO BE DISREGARDED.

    October 21, 2013 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  17. skarphace

    Rob B.: "We need statesmen in our government whom are un-wavering from God's word!"

    No, that is most definitely what we do not need. We would then be a Theocracy, not a Democratic Republic, and would be no better than countries that impose Sharia Law on their citizens.

    Replace "God's Word" with "our Consti tution", and I would be in agreement. However, that is exactly what happened in this case.

    October 21, 2013 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  18. Phyllis Gwendoline Williams

    Does he realize the seriousness of the Words "We ought to Obey God rather than Men" (Acts 5: 29)

    October 21, 2013 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  19. Mark

    reason and logic trump your god.

    October 21, 2013 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  20. Mark

    mine is the god of reason, and it doesn't like the caveman scribblings you try to legislate.

    October 21, 2013 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  21. skarphace

    Chris: "Marriage comes from religion and there for is the definition of a man and a woman. The term did not come from the state so in technical terms anything else is not marriage. That is kind of the silly part."

    The silly part is that you are completely wrong. Marriage started out as a civil contract with the man "owning" the woman. Marriage in this country always has been and is still a civil contract. This is why atheists and other non-Christians can marry. If it were a contract between a man, a woman, and God, then only Christian couples would be allowed to marry. You do not have to mention God at all and still get legally married. Understand now?

    October 21, 2013 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  22. FrenchChef

    Fully 33% of All Americans live in a Marriage Equality US State, County or the District of Columbia. All other Americans can travel to these REAL AMERICAN States, get married, and the federal government will recognize your marriages.

    October 21, 2013 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  23. tom l.

    @Data

    "I agree more about polygamy. They should have every right to marry. So why isn't the left as fervent about their rights? I know why. Because they don't have the money that the gay community has so their rights get trampled on. Also, shouldn't brothers be able to marry their brothers? Sisters should be able to marry their sisters. That would be the consistent position."

    Ever the false equivalence, eh Tom? Consensual relationships between adults equals incest?

    At least stop pretending you're some kind of "libertarian" and just fully declare yourself as a card-carrying member of the Republican base.

    Huh? What false equivalence. Perhaps you think I'm joking and that's why you had teh response to me that you did. I am 100% serious. Why shouldn't brothers be able to marry? If we are to be consistent then, as you pointed out, polygamy should be legal and family members should be allowed to marry too. I guess you think I'm not being serious but I am. That is what some on the right feel is the reason to not allow gay marriage as they may find it to be a slippery slope. To me, it doesn't matter and people should be free to do what they want. So, again, I show you what the president has done with his tone – and he, as the leader, sets the tone. His tone has been to combat the opposite side and villainize them. I know that last part is going to make you really angry, but it's the truth. Just like when Bush said either you're with us or you're with the terrorists. Combative and divisive.

    October 21, 2013 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  24. skarphace

    Sigh: ""Marriage predates religion." Impossible to prove."

    Marriage in the US is a civil contract. Easy to prove.

    October 21, 2013 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  25. Tami Name

    Glad he finally got over himself.

    October 21, 2013 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
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