Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Gov. Christie Outmaneuvers Democrats on Gay Marriage Proposals

Just after Democrats introduced bills legalizing gay marriage in the New Jersey legislature that are a mirror image of the language used in New York, Governor Chris Christie signaled his intention to veto any such legislation and instead said that he would put the matter up for a referendum.

Christie pulled the rug out from under Democrats who were hoping to put the onus on the governor. Instead, Christie is figuring that all kinds of money thrown around by PACs and lobbyist groups will sway public opinion into voting against the gay marriage proposal.

It also means that Christie can avoid having to take a stand that would alienate him with more moderate voters in the state. He can claim that if a gay marriage referendum fails in the state that it was the will of the people, but if he vetoes a bill put before him, he would have to take flak for that. If the bill passes, he could then take credit for getting gay marriage done in the state, even if he opposes it personally. It becomes a win-win for the governor. It also avoids the sticky wicket that would place Christie in with GOP conservatives nationally since the referendum would circumvent the need for the governor to take additional action.

In the end though, it's about fairness and gay marriage will likely pass, joining New York in the region as states that have legalized gay marriage.

Newark Mayor Cory Booker chastises Christie's position, saying that all citizens in the state should be treated equally under the law. Booker didn't quite go as far as he could in the criticism though. He could have argued that if the issue of civil rights were left up to the states and a referendum as Christie suggested, then much of the South would have continued the Jim Crow laws and segregation instead of being forced by the federal government to eliminate those laws and begin integration.

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