October 21st, 2013
10:19 AM ET
9 months 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. Thomas

    Another sad day in the history of our country, our God, and Christians around the world. But there is hope because the evil laws of man are not the same as the laws of God. Christians, are you listening? We don't have to accept the secular world around us. God's laws are higher than man's laws. It will be that way for eternity. This may seem as a "victory", but in reality its a fulfillment of prophecy in which the wicked will separate themselves from the Godly.

    October 21, 2013 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  2. Mark Yelka

    Conserving the status quo is for people who don't believe in evolution, growth, and innovation of society. Who wants to go back to the days of slavery, no electric lights, and no toilet paper? Being a conservative doesn't sound good to me. So, I'm happy to hear of innovation, of people seeking lofty goals, Star Trek ideals and of times when all people are equal.

    October 21, 2013 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  3. Felix Sinclair

    If your god has an opinion about same-sex marriage, let him make a YouTube video like everyone else.

    October 21, 2013 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  4. Mark Yelka

    Conserving the status quo is for people who don't believe in evolution, growth, and innovation of society. I'm happy to hear of innovation, of people seeking lofty goals, Star Trek ideals and of times when all people are equal.

    October 21, 2013 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  5. Rudy NYC

    Anonymous

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

    If only our President would enforce the ACA as dictated by Congress (that means the entire ACA) rather than pick and choose what parts of the law he wants to uphold...
    -------------------------
    Practice what you preach, now. If only the right wing would recognize that the ACA is a law, which has been upheld in the courts and the ballot boxes, rather pick and choose what parts of the law they want to destroy.

    October 21, 2013 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  6. dan

    The dominoes are slowly but surely falling in favor of same sex marriage. I'm glad Christie did the right thing, besides he saw the writing on the wall anyway. I hope Pennsylvania is next, though I think it will take a little while to get there because outside of Pgh and Philly, PA is a very VERY conservative state!

    October 21, 2013 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  7. Alex

    This is another great step forward for human rights. For those who think the only point to marriage is procreation, I would like you to comment upon the fact that so many parts of the world are overcrowded as it is–and that there are millions of orphaned children who need loving homes–some of those could be homes with gay parents.

    As the population rises and rises and resources become more limited, I think the world is going to see nature respond with increased levels of homosexuality.

    October 21, 2013 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  8. Lynda/Minnesota

    @Dominican mama: "I'm bored with cnn non-stories ..."

    Yeah. Me too. It isn't as if 80% of the stuff thrown at us lately hasn't been TeaPer related.

    I've exhausted my "I really don't care" repertoire and am now approaching "I'm moving on to a Website that actually covers all politics" and not just GOPerville shrills.

    October 21, 2013 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  9. Styxhexenhammer666

    Goofy evangelicals who infected the formerly decent Republican Party with their bigoted nonsense are one of the reasons for the party now having problems being elected.

    If the GOP kicks out the Santorum/Bachmann moralists and replaces them with Orwell style libertarian centrism they'd win a heck of a lot more elections.

    The government has no place in the bedroom.

    October 21, 2013 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  10. Sigh

    "Marriage predates religion." Impossible to prove.

    October 21, 2013 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  11. Name the man

    Despite it all the day will come when it is accepted by all 50. Why? Because it is biblical prophecy and there will be a great falling away from the things of God prior to God wrapping it all up.

    October 21, 2013 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  12. A Light In The Dark

    Jack 2

    Christy stuck to his guns, Obama flip flopped for votes. Who has the most integrity?

    Obama.

    October 21, 2013 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  13. Edwin

    So, basically Christie said he opposes the law but understands that a court battle will simply cost the taxpayers money, create animosity, and delay change.

    I am sure there is a political reason for him to do this, but doesn't it sort of sound like... realistic governing?

    October 21, 2013 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  14. livinginva

    Thomas: Don't speak for all Christians. There are many Christian denominations who are celebrating this. I'm not sure you should speak for God, either.

    October 21, 2013 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  15. MIJohn

    About time. Only took 40+ years for the whole "separate is NOT equal" logical to permeate the public brain.

    October 21, 2013 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  16. Wake up People!

    I refuse to discriminate against anyone being a minority myself. That said and on a lighter note.... People should check out Modern Family. The show is a riot and there is a gay couple on there that adopted an Asian baby. Her name is Lily and they love her to pieces. I don't know about anyone else, but coming from a straight home with a mother who was mostly absent, I think I would have loved being a part of a loving family. Btw, I love Cam, he is my favorite!!

    October 21, 2013 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  17. Norman

    Wonderful news! Sorry, bigots-your time is up!

    October 21, 2013 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  18. Eric

    In reply to Thomas:
    There is a fundamental flaw that you and others who attempt to make specific (and only specific) portions of your faith into law share. If you force everyone to live by laws enforced and prescribed by your religion, you remove faith because you removed peoples right to choose how to live their own lives. When you ignore other portions of your faith (where is the lobby to ban marriage by those unequally yolked? Where is the ban on divorce except for the few reasons allowed in the Christian bible? Why are you not trying to make premarital sex a criminal offense?). This hypocrisy reveals a different nature – a hypocritical, discriminatory one. Marriage exists in the US for atheists, Hindus, Muslims, etc. Christianity does not have a monopoly on marriage or marriage law. By the way – US marriage law makes it illegal for a 12 year old to get married, not your bible. US law gives child custody privileges to married couples, child support protection, distribution of assets on death/divorce to spouse, etc. Not the bible. US law currently says polygamy is illegal – not your bible. Solomon had 300 wives and 700 concubines, after all. There are over 9-10 million biological and adopted children of LGBT parents in this country. Those families deserve equal protection under the law – US law – which constitutionally guarantees freedom of religion and freedom FROM religion.

    -------------------
    Thomas' post below:
    Another sad day in the history of our country, our God, and Christians around the world. But there is hope because the evil laws of man are not the same as the laws of God. Christians, are you listening? We don't have to accept the secular world around us. God's laws are higher than man's laws. It will be that way for eternity. This may seem as a "victory", but in reality its a fulfillment of prophecy in which the wicked will separate themselves from the Godly.

    October 21, 2013 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  19. Kelli Jo Blanton

    Bravo governor Christie

    October 21, 2013 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  20. Name

    Since the beginning of time GOD created 1man and 1woman, 1male and 1 femal of every creature, animal, mammals , for the sole purposer of reproduction. Wyle reproducting .us hummans ,GOD gave us a brain to think and make choices. And that what tseparate us from the other creatures on earth. fwe need to do it in a Godly way and That is the number one goal and wyle we reproducing is the number one goa!l. That haven't change and wont change only to be derived and tweaked by evil (satan) .now satan will come through the depth of your sole making you think that is coming through your feelings, but its all a disguise by the devil him self . GOD clearly in the past destroyed nations that didn't obey the commandments and chqnged GOD'S laws (all found clearly in our history books. Not USA history books. But human kind books (evngile.tore.bible and quran.)

    October 21, 2013 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  21. Robert

    I'm glad Christie ended the political theater of his opposiiton to common sense. Predictably the Christian Taliban extremists are wailing and moaning right on cue, still bent on using government to force their personal religious beliefs on everyone else. Yawn.

    October 21, 2013 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  22. JimC

    Christie caved in because of this 2016 race for the WH. If the NJ Legislative overrode his veto ( which they were headed down that path ) it would have looked bad for Christie's record. He's playing a political chess match.

    An for those of you who are saying it the end of the world ? It's been law is MASS since 2004 and the state has not fallen in the ocean because of it. Relax and go focus on something else now. You seem to have enough time on your hands to worry about what other people do.

    October 21, 2013 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  23. Joey Isotta-Fraschini ©™

    Christie's attempt to sit on this fence has been awkward and unconvincing. I would not vote for him for any office.

    October 21, 2013 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  24. Mark

    So many people want to model the government after a book written thousands of years ago by primitives that bathed twice a year and believed it was ok to execute rape victims, or require them to marry their rapists. Not a book that I'd personally go to for moral guidance, but hey, I'm a lot smarter than they are. If these people want a theocracy so badly, maybe they should move to Iran. They'd be much happier there.

    October 21, 2013 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  25. L.

    Once again, we have defied our God, our Creator, the one gave us life and clearly instructed us how to live that precious life in order to be completely fulfilled. Yet you wonder why we seemingly no longer have a hedge of protection about our nation. You have turned your back on Him. If you are ashamed of Him do you think he will intercede on your behalf? Guess again. There will be a reckoning. Forever is a long time. No one will answer for your life but you.

    October 21, 2013 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
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