Governor Christie failed to lead, sought shelter behind rhetoric, and dropped the hot potato on the lap of the public. In 2010, it was people against teachers. In 2011 it was the private sector versus public employees. Today, he has just created another fault-line in New Jersey.
“I would hope the Legislature would be willing to trust the people the way I’m willing to trust the people,” Christie said, reiterating his personal opposition to gay marriage. “I think it’s the institution of marriage and it’s bigger than just a word, it’s hundreds of years of tradition both legally and social and religiously and that’s what I stand up in protecting.”
With these words, the governor weaseled out of doing the right and lawful things. Tradition does not make injustice just and the list is long: Serfdom, Slavery, Absolutism, Religious Persecution, Indentured Service, Pre-Arranged Marriage, No Voting Rights for Women, No Inter-Racial Marriage, Racial Segregation, etc.
All of the above were long-term traditions, observed for centuries, and sanctified by the different religions and societies of the ages. However, these institutions were intrinsically as wrong as the legal prohibition of equality in marriage is today.
The principle is simple: One has the right to pursue happiness and marry the person chosen by oneself; not by canon written or imposed by others. Anyway, the law is about civil marriage; not religious marriage.
What kind of leadership has the governor exhibited in this case? The opportunistic, discriminatory form of leadership. He has taken a stance based of what is convenient for him politically and comfortably adapted to his personal morality. He took the oath of protecting and defending the Constitution when he took office. He just betrayed that oath.
What the Bill of Rights promises and endows us all has not entered in his equation.
If the referendum does not occur before 2014, I will be honored to sign the bill if I am elected governor in November 2013. Providing that it occurs before, I urge all New Jersians to vote YES.