With the New Jersey gubernatorial election looming ahead and the next presidential election in the not too distant future, Gov. Chris Christie must satisfy both parties’ stands on gay marriage if he aspires to win one or both.
According to a Quinnipiac University poll, 60 percent of New Jersey voters now support gay marriage – a Pew Research poll of the nation suggests the same. However, Republican caucus-goers in Iowa, who are generally evangelical conservatives, are staunch opponents of gay marriage.
“That’s a lot of tightropes to walk,” said David Boaz, of the Cato Institute libertarian think tank.
Boaz added that Christie could be a contender for swing voters, who might vote for a Republican president with a more centrist platform.
Christie has made some unusual moves as a Republican, including appointing a gay judge to the state Supreme Court. The governor, who is Roman Catholic, has also said that he believes being gay is not a choice or a sin, and that he has gay friends who argue the issue with him.
Still, his veto of the gay marriage bill in February 2012 could hurt him in the polls, despite an interest in presenting the issue to voters.
“When you want to change the core of a 2,000 year-old institution,” Christie said. “The way to do that is to put it in front of the voters.”
Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, who supports Democratic gubernatorial hopeful and Christie’s opponent Barbara Buono, sent an email Monday criticizing Christie for his stance on gay marriage.
“We have a chance to defeat him and make real progress,” O’Malley wrote, requesting a donation to Buono’s campaign fund. “But we need you today.”
O’Malley added that with Christie’s defeat, New Jersey would no longer be the only state in the Northeast not to recognize marriage equality.