National Edition

N.J. Gov. Chris Christie ends challenge to same-sex marriage

Published: Tuesday, Oct. 22 2013 3:10 p.m. MDT

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie addresses a gathering at Gloucester County College before breaking ground on an adult center for transition facility in Sewell, N.J., Monday, Oct. 21, 2013. Earlier Monday, Christie dropped his appeal to legalized same-sex marriages in New Jersey.

Mel Evans, Associated Press

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Late Monday, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie dropped the state’s legal challenge against the same-sex marriage ruling that made the Garden State the 14th state in the union, along with the District of Columbia, to recognize same-sex marriage, according to NBC News.

Christie said he disagreed with the court’s ruling, but “it left no ambiguity,” which forced him to drop his case, NBC News reported.

“The governor concluded that, legally, he was out of arguments, and that it would be what one aide called a ‘fool’s errand’ to continue in the face of almost certain failure,” The New York Times reported.

Same-sex couples began tying the knot late Sunday night when city halls in Newark, Jersey City, Red Bank, Asbury Park and Lambertville opened up after the state-issued 72-hour waiting period for licenses, NBC News reported.

"We're in our 60s, which means we've seen tremendous history of monumental events," said Orville Bell — who, along with Joseph Panessidi, was Sunday night’s first New Jersey same-sex married couple — to the AP. "This is one of those monumental events, that I can be here today and say I'm married to another man."

And when Senator-elect Cory Booker, who “officiated at seven weddings,” NBC News reported, was asked if anyone objected to Bell and Panessidi’s wedding, “a protester yelled that the marriages were ‘unlawful in the eyes of God and Jesus Christ,’" according to the AP.

Conservatives have scorned Christie for his decision to “embrace gay marriage,” according to Noah Rothman at Mediaite. Though he said some conservatives are criticizing Christie for his decision to drop the legal challenge, Rothman said the New Jersey governor still opposes the marriage.

Liz Halloran of NPR wrote the decision to drop the legal challenge made sense for Christie as governor of New Jersey. But if Christie looks to be a 2016 presidential candidate, this issue could hurt him, Halloran wrote.

Halloran's article looked at how Christie's decision could affect public opinion in Iowa and New Hampshire, which are historically important primary states in presidential elections.

"This is not going to play well for him if he chooses to enter the Republican primary for president of the United States," said Vander Plaats, who leads The Family Leader, a right-wing conservative organization, to NPR.

But not all conservatives are opposed to Christie’ decision to drop the legal fight. In fact, according to BuzzFeed, “the GOP’s donor class quietly rejoiced that Christie — widely viewed as the golden boy of his party’s moderate, Northeastern, corporate establishment — had chosen to abandon this particular culture war battle.”

And people of the donor class “generally support same-sex marriage. More importantly, they see it as a losing issue for their party,” BuzzFeed reported.

New Jersey’s ruling to recognize same-sex marriages led PBS to question what’s to come next in the “nationwide struggle” over same-sex marriage.

The focus may shift southwards to Tennessee. On the same day New Jersey began allowing same-sex marriage, four Tennessee same-sex couples sued the state for not recognizing their marriage, according to The Tennessean.

“It’s our position that, once we win this lawsuit, once there’s recognition of these marriages, the next step is going to be people can go out and get married in Tennessee,” said attorney Abby Rubenfeld to The Tennessean. “That’s what we’re aiming for, that’s what’s going to happen.”

Email: hscribner@deseretnews.com

Twitter: @hscribner

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