Social-Conservative Leaders Frustrated with Christie

by Betsy Woodruff

Governor Chris Christie (R., N.J.) has decided not to appeal a ruling allowing same-sex marriage, and social conservatives aren’t happy about it. Bob Vander Plaats, an influential social-conservative leader in Iowa, tells National Review Online that the move doesn’t do any favors for Christie’s potential 2016 presidential run. 

“This would suit him a lot better if he were running as a Democrat,” he says, adding that while social conservatives “had some cautionary flags raised already,” the move is uniquely problematic for the governor. 

“This just adds more concern to those cautionary flags,” he says, “because not only is he backing away from a very principled stance of one-man-one-woman marriage, he’s also backing away from the Constitution and the separation of powers.” 

“It’s a huge issue,” Vander Plaats concludes. 

And Brian Brown, president of National Organization for Marriage, concurs. “I wouldn’t want to be going into Iowa and be a potential presidential candidate and be the one who refused to stand up to defend marriage in New Jersey,” he says. 

“You can give lip service to traditional marriage all you want,” Brown continues, “but when it counted, he did not do what was necessary. Do we have any illusions, given the nature of the decisoin, that there was a high likelihood that his appeal would succeed? No. But that’s irrelevant. You do what’s right regardless of the cost.”

And Peter Sprigg of the Family Research Council said the following in a statement: 

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.