Christie’s Gay Marriage Veto

This action raises two questions in my mind about Governor Christie.

Via the Star-LedgerGov. Christie vetoes N.J. gay marriage bill

Delivering on his promise of swift action, Gov. Chris Christie this afternoon conditionally vetoed the gay marriage bill and suggested appointing an ombudsman to address complaints of same-sex couples and strengthen New Jersey’s civil union law.

Christie conditionally vetoed the bill six hours after it reached his desk, a day after the state Assembly gave the final legislative approval that he said he would not support.

Christie has now called for a referendum on the subject.  The conditional portion of the veto is as follows (via the NYT):

The governor’s veto was conditional, asking the State Legislature to amend the bill, so that rather than legalizing same-sex marriages, it would establish an overseer to handle complaints that the state’s five-year-old civil union law did not provide gay and lesbian couples the same protections that marriage would.

This action raises two questions in my mind about Governor Christie.

1.  What does this do to his cred with libertarians?   He has proactively blocked an expansion of liberty, so does this damage the fact that it seems that a lot libertarian-leaning Republicans see him as an acceptable candidate (if not a quasi political savior) for 2016?

2.  What does this do to his reputation as pugnacious in his pursuit of his positions?  Christie has been seen, if anything, as a bulldog who will do what he thinks as right and fight hard in that regard.  However, even though he has stated his support for same-sex marriage, he has now blocked (probably because of the fact that all but two Republicans voted against the bill in the state legislator).

In a statement (via the Star-Ledger)he said:

“I have been just as adamant that same-sex couples in a civil union deserve the very same rights and benefits enjoyed by married couples — as well as the strict enforcement of those rights and benefits,” Christie said in a prepared statement.

“Discrimination should not be tolerated and any complaint alleging a violation of a citizen’s right should be investigated and, if appropriate, remedied.”

And yet, he vetoed the bill and is calling for a referendum instead:  “Christie continued push his suggestion of the gay marriage issue to a referendum in November to allow New Jersey voters to decide.”

In other words:  so much for pugnacious dedication to one’s beliefs.  Instead of bucking his party on something he believes in, he vetoed the bill and is passing the buck on the decision.

I would note that this is a case of the democratically elected representatives of the state passing a bill, and not a court decreeing same-sex marriage.  As such, I am unclear on the basis of Christie’s objection and action.  There are  argument two argument here.   The first is  Christie’s claim this change requires a constitutional amendment, although it is unclear to me that this is, in fact, the case.  The other is that it interferes with the state’s civil union law, but again, I am not sure what problem this supposedly creates.

FILED UNDER: US Politics
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. As to your second question, I’m not sure what you mean. Christie has never taken a position supporting same-sex marriage, in fact there are few prominent Republican in New Jersey who have. So unless you’re saying he ought to be bucking against his party for the hell of it, I’m not sure what the criticism is here since it’s entirely consistent with his previous public statements.

    As to the first question. Yea, I’m disappointed but I’m also realistic. This is still a 50-50 issue in New Jersey even after nearly a decade of Civil Unions. In fact, it’s worth noting that even the Democrats in the legislature weren’t united on this issue. Three Democratic State Senators voted no, as did six members of the General Assembly, thus making any veto override a mathematical impossibility.

  2. Gold Star for Robot Boy says:

    I still think this will come back to haunt Christie.

    But I want to make a larger point: Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think at any time in U.S. history there has ever been an attempt to oppress a minority – ethnic, religious, whatever – that eventually was regarded as the right thing to do. (“Whoa! Good thing we kept the Irish down – they really were about to ruin America!”)

    No, when history passes judgment, Christie’s veto will put him alongside this photo’s hateful-looking woman.

  3. @Doug Mataconis: I am basing the criticism on things like the statement quoted above. I suppose, then, that his views come down to a a semantic one about “marriage” v. “civil unions.” (This was a view I once held–that civil unions were an adequate solution). However, if he really does believe “that same-sex couples in a civil union deserve the very same rights and benefits enjoyed by married couple” I am not sure how this action actually furthers that position.

  4. michael reynolds says:

    @Gold Star for Robot Boy:
    I agree. And with the ubiquity of media now it’s a whole lot easier to pin people to previous positions. Four years from now this will be a 60/40 issue tilting pro-equality. Eight years from now it will be 70/30 and people still opposed will be clearly considered to be bigots. Even in much of the south. (And I think those guesses are conservative.)

    The opposition is old people. They (we) have a tendency to die.

  5. @Steven L. Taylor:

    This is why I said that this is still a 50-50 issue. Yes, the demographics are changing that but I think it’s going to be a bit longer than some people are anticipating. Change will come in New Jersey, though, far sooner than it comes in the rest of the country, where laws against same-sex marriage are enshrined in State Constitutions.

    Perhaps there is an inconsistency, but if there is it’s one that a lot of people share.

  6. Hey Norm says:

    Republicans love themselves some freedom and liberty. Except when they don’t.
    They really are incapable of dealing with a modern, diverse world.
    And because of that they become more irrelevant by the day.

  7. anjin-san says:

    Discrimination should not be tolerated

    You can’t really reconcile this statement with Christie’s actions, which allow discrimination to continue in his state with the force of law behind it. Not even using conservative pretzel logic…

  8. @Hey Norm:

    And the Democrats who voted against the bill would be what?????

  9. superdestroyer says:

    When homosexuals had decided to all be liberal Democrats and have decided that being progressives is part of homosexual culture in the U.S, they should not expect Republicans to do them any favors.

    And why should libertarians support the homosexual community when that community is pushing for the government to ask everyone their sexual orientation and want the government to have set asides, quotas, and affirmative action along with speech code when it comes to homosexuals.

    The homosexual left and libertarians are far apart on almost all issues. Why should Christie believe that want a referendum is doing to hurt his credibility with a group that supports referendums.

  10. Gold Star for Robot Boy says:

    @michael reynolds:

    The opposition is old people. They (we) have a tendency to die.

    Indeed.

  11. Gold Star for Robot Boy says:

    @Doug Mataconis: “BOTH SIDES DO IT!!!”

    For the record:
    NJ Assembly Dems: 42 for, 4 against.
    NJ Assembly Repubs: 0-29.

    NJ Senate Dems: 22-2.
    NJ Senate Repubs: 2-14.

  12. de stijl says:

    Christie either has ambitions beyond New Jersey, or he is keeping his options open in case he wants to choose that path in the future.

    As a Republican he must veto the SSM law or else he has no future in today’s Party.

    What he’s trying to do is to give himself enough of a screen for the future – for Rs he can point to the veto (and if the referendum on SSM passes he can say his hands were tied – it was the will of the people of NJ), for Inds and Ds he can (try to) point out that he supports civil unions and hope that is enough wiggle room on all sides so that this issue won’t bite him on his ample butt in the future.

    The danger is that he will alienate everyone.

  13. @Doug Mataconis: Let me be clear on one thing: I can understand, politically, why Christie did what he did. My point is that the action does not, in my mind (which, granted, is a subjective assessment) comport with the narrative of Christie (especially when it comes to libertarian-ish support).

  14. superdestroyer says:

    @de stijl:

    If Christie had signed the bill, all of the Democrats would still vote against him. 99% of the homosexuals who donate for candidates in New Jersey would donate to Christie’s Democratic Party opponent even if Christie had signed it. Very few independents are doing to be swayed by politicians views on homosexual marriage.

  15. Brummagem Joe says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    This is still a 50-50 issue in New Jersey even after nearly a decade of Civil Unions.

    Actually looking at a poll this morning it’s 50% for and 44% against. And wow a tiny minority of Dems voted against and this MUST prove Doug’s contention the Dems are divided on this. Interestingly the MD house passed a similar measure yesterday and the senate is expected to follow suit setting up a likely referendum on the issue as Republicans fight in the last ditch. Will this hurt Christie in the state… probably if he wants a second term. Nationally to the extent his presidential ambitions are realistic (they’re not very imho) …probably not in the nominating process but definitely if he got the nod.

  16. @superdestroyer: I am going to do a rare thing, and at least partially agree with you: vetoing the bill helps him with Reps and signing the bill would not have helped him with Dems (speaking here in electoral terms).

    I am not so sure about the independent issue, however.

  17. Brummagem Joe says:

    @superdestroyer:

    Very few independents are doing to be swayed by politicians views on homosexual marriage.

    That depends on whether they are gay or gay supporters….same goes for conservative gays….Christie’s lost these folks and they are vociferous and have long memories.

  18. Brummagem Joe says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    I am not so sure about the independent issue, however.

    Er that’s who he was talking about. Obviously it won’t make a cents worth of difference to committed Dems or Republicans.

  19. @superdestroyer:

    When homosexuals had decided to all be liberal Democrats and have decided that being progressives is part of homosexual culture in the U.S, they should not expect Republicans to do them any favors.

    See, the right or wrong of the issue has nothing to do with it. Only whether or not there’s a tactical partisan advantage in it matters.

    And superdestroyer is actually right about this. I don’t think Christie actually is against the issue, but he knows doing what he actually believes, he might lose votes. So he decided to punt.

    Which is the real take away from this, if he ever decides to run for president. When faced with a purely moral choice where he might suffer some small personal misfortune as the cost for doing what was right, Christie lacked the moral courage to stick to his principles.

  20. @Doug Mataconis:

    This is why I said that this is still a 50-50 issue. Yes, the demographics are changing that but I think it’s going to be a bit longer than some people are anticipating.

    Leadership is not about hanging around trying to avoid taking a stand until the matter is fully decided. If Christie wants to wring his hands because there’s no safe side on this issue, tell him to fucking resign and let a real man do the job.

  21. @Stormy Dragon:

    I don’t think Christie actually is against the issue, but he knows doing what he actually believes, he might lose votes. So he decided to punt.

    Which is the real take away from this, if he ever decides to run for president. When faced with a purely moral choice where he might suffer some small personal misfortune as the cost for doing what was right, Christie lacked the moral courage to stick to his principles.

    Indeed. That’s my basic point: t he narrative about Christie is that he is a special politicians who will stick to his guns about what he believes in. This veto strikes me a repudiation of that narrative.

  22. In other words: he’s a politician (see, also, flags at half-mast for Houston).

    No surprise, of course, but this is at least part of the reason why I have long found it amusing/puzzling that Christie has been cast in so many discussions as somehow different.

  23. Brummagem Joe says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    that Christie has been cast in so many discussions as somehow different.

    Only in discussions by Republican spinners for godsake.

  24. @Brummagem Joe:

    Only in discussions by Republican spinners for godsake.

    On balance, yes. So?

  25. Hey Norm says:

    @ Doug…
    They too would be willing to limit the liberty of others. What’s your point? That a few cut across party lines means nothing…especially in state politics. There are bound to be douche bags in any group…think Lieberman.

  26. Hey Norm says:

    The bigger picture her is what signing that bill would have done to the national race. To have a Republican star like Christie go against the Clown Car posse would have only further served as proof of the irrelevance of the party position.

  27. PD Shaw says:

    There are several types of libertarians. The old adage that the Civil War was a fight between two types of liberties, the liberty to be free from slavery and the freedom to own slaves.

    In any event, government recognition of a relationship is not a terribly libertarian idea, though many hold it. Nobody is preventing a same sex couple from being married (by a willing cleric), or living with each other. There is no constraint on freedom of action or thought. This is about government benefits and using the government to communicate social acceptance.

  28. Hey Norm says:

    And the weakness of the Clown Car Posse.

  29. michael reynolds says:

    It’s a 50/50 issue only in the sense that a man falling from the Empire State building can say as he passes he passes the 51st floor that he is equidistant between the top floor and the pavement.

  30. Hey Norm says:

    “… the Civil War was a fight between two types of liberties, the liberty to be free from slavery and the freedom to own slaves…”
    What a crock…

  31. Hey Norm says:

    Even Dick Cheney is now lobbying for marriage equality.
    You gotta know you have a problem when Dick Cheney is more open-minded than you are.

  32. @PD Shaw:

    In any event, government recognition of a relationship is not a terribly libertarian idea, though many hold it. Nobody is preventing a same sex couple from being married (by a willing cleric), or living with each other.

    I think the general libertarian position (real libertarians, not the faux-bertarians that populate much of the Republican base) is that it would be preferable to get the Government out of the business of designating certain relationships as official and granting benefits as a result, but as long as the government is, it should be doing so in a way that does not privelege specific subgroups of the population based on their religious doctrines.

  33. Hey Norm says:

    As Sully points out…if a legislative victory is not sufficient and you need to have a referendum…why have a legislature?

  34. superdestroyer says:

    @Brummagem Joe:

    If there were more than a very small number, then the opinions of independent homosexuals or conservative homosexuals would matter. However, since homosexuals are overwhelmingly liberals with the homosexuals in New Jersey being even farther to the left, there is no reason for any Republican do to them any favors. It will not be repaid.

  35. Hey Norm says:

    “…there is no reason for any Republican do to them any favors…”
    Well…except for the whole freedom, liberty, and equality thing. But again Republicans are about those things very selectively.

  36. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @PD Shaw:

    Nobody is preventing a same sex couple from being married (by a willing cleric), or living with each other.

    PD, I know this is a mis-statement as the examples of the opposite abound. Everything from the DoMA to various state constitutional amendments to Prop 8 in Calif. etc.

  37. Brummagem Joe says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    On balance, yes. So?

    It’s means he’s no different.

  38. superdestroyer says:

    @Hey Norm:

    When the homosexual activist went on the push to regulate speech in the name of “anti-bullying” they made a clear signal that equality has nothing to do with it but raw political power is the most important. No one cared when the nerds and ugly kids were being bullied by the cool kids but now homosexuals have decided that though crimes are being committed and everyone needs to be controlled.

    Also, notice that the homosexuals did not offer any compromise such as offering to end quotas and set asides in New Jersey as the price of equality.

  39. Brummagem Joe says:

    @superdestroyer:

    It’s not just conservative gays but also conservative leaning independants who support gays. And you have no idea what the figures are any more than I do but many a mickle makes a muckle. In a decidedly democratic state Christie can ill afford to lose any support.

  40. sam says:

    @superdestroyer:

    When homosexuals had decided to all be liberal Democrats and have decided that being progressives is part of homosexual culture in the U.S, they should not expect Republicans to do them any favors.

    In Supespeak, this means that he’s made gay folks honorary nιggers.

  41. @Brummagem Joe:

    It’s means he’s no different.

    Indeed. That was part of my point.

  42. Gustopher says:

    I do hope Christie lives long enough for the opinions to tilt 70-30 for marriage equality, and for him to have to either continuously apologize, or be branded a bigot. 20 years at the outside — this is pretty much a generational issue, and the old folks are dying off.

    Alas, with his morbid obesity, he might not last that long himself.

    Also, I hope superdestroyer lives a very, very long time.

  43. superdestroyer says:

    @Brummagem Joe:

    Any independent who would not vote for Christie because of his position on homosexual marriage was never going to vote for Christie. That is what happens when a demographic group links itself totally to one political party.

    Did the Democrats have to worry about irritating social conservatives by their votes on homosexual marriage. No, because social conservatives never vote for Democrats. It is the same logic. Why are the Republicans the only party who is suppose to care what people in the other party think.

  44. Brummagem Joe says:

    @superdestroyer:

    I disagree. I know two gay guys who are pretty conservative but this is THE issue. Fortunately for Christie they don’t live in NJ but I’m sure plenty do.

  45. superdestroyer says:

    @Brummagem Joe:

    I am sure there are plenty of social Democrats who live in New Jersey.. The Democrats could not care less about them. Why should the Republicans care about liberal homosexuals?

  46. PD Shaw says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: You’re missing my point. I went to my first same sex wedding about fifteen years ago in Chicago. They were married. Of course, no paperwork was filed.

  47. PD Shaw says:

    @Hey Norm: “What a crock… ”

    Lincoln was one that made that point. Its also part of the underpinning of MacPherson’s excellent Battle Cry of Freedom, the best book on the Civil War.

  48. @superdestroyer:

    Any independent who would not vote for Christie because of his position on homosexual marriage was never going to vote for Christie.

    I’m a former Republican who considered Christie one of the few hopes for the future of the party, a sign that some parts of it would finally be getting their heads screwed on right.

    Alas, he’s apparently decided to follow in Romney’s footsteps and just go along with whatever he thinks is best for his career. And as Romeny has shown, this purely tactical focus can lead to short term success, but in the long term the lack of vision will sink you.

    The party needs a real leader, and part of being a leader is being will to make decisions that people disagree with and convince them you’re right. Not waiting to see which way the parade is going and only then trying to jump out in front.

  49. grumpy realist says:

    So the so-called “conservatives” have put themselves on the anti-SSM side. Just as they have done on slavery, women’s votes, civil rights….

    At some point, you’d think that the non-brain-damaged of that sector would look at their track record and say: you know, we might be wrong about this.

  50. superdestroyer says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    No one fits your definition of a leader. No one can really lead people to where they do not want to go. What you are arguing is that Christie would be a good leader if he stabbed Republicans in the back and gave the Democrats exactly what they want. That has been tried by a few Republicans and it always ends in failure. If homosexuals want the Republicans to pay the least bit of attention to them, they should decouple themselves from liberal progressives and the left side of the Democratic Party.

  51. JohnMcC says:

    It’s a slippery slope. If you allow gay people to get married the next thing you know women will want contraception. And Satan will win.

  52. Brummagem Joe says:

    @superdestroyer:

    I am sure there are plenty of social Democrats who live in New Jersey.. The Democrats could not care less about them. Why should the Republicans care about liberal homosexuals?

    Now we’re into gobbledegook. I’ve just given you an example from personal experience of two Republican gays (who happen to live in NYS) who despite their usual Republican voting preferences see this as an issue that would motivate them to vote Dem. They are not liberal homosexuals. Do you have a comprehension problem or something?

  53. Brummagem Joe says:

    Get real guys. NJ is a blue state. Republicans get elected governor once in a blue moon. Christie got elected because a lot of people were disgusted with Corzine and his predecessor, democratic corruption, and angry with public sector unions. Without these factors Christie needs all the votes he can get, so proving he’s a boilerplate Republican homophobe (whether he is or not is irrelevant because that’s how he’ll be painted) isn’t going to help in a NJ state election although it might help him if he wants to try for the Republican presidential nomination.

  54. superdestroyer says:

    @Brummagem Joe:

    No. However, there are so few people who are like your friends, that they can be safely ignored. There are many more social conservatives and the Democrats do nothing to appeal to them.

    If the Republicans tried to pander to libertarian homosexuals while alienating social conservatives, then they would be out of business tomorrow.

  55. al-Ameda says:

    it is never a good idea to put civil rights to a popular vote

  56. Brummagem Joe says:

    @superdestroyer:

    No. However, there are so few people who are like your friends, that they can be safely ignored.

    I can see your knowledge of NJ politics and how difficult it is for Republicans to get elected across much of the state is as extensive as your knowledge of economics.

  57. An Interested Party says:

    And why should libertarians support the homosexual community when that community is pushing for the government to ask everyone their sexual orientation and want the government to have set asides, quotas, and affirmative action along with speech code when it comes to homosexuals.

    How exactly does one dream up this delusional $hit? I guess I must remember that this comes from the same person that constantly tells us how the dark people are taking over our country…

    As a Republican he must veto the SSM law or else he has no future in today’s Party.

    Heh, considering that if he has any national aspirations he would need considerable support in the South, I don’t see how he has a future in the GOP either way…

    Do you have a comprehension problem or something?

    As if you even have to ask that question…

  58. Brummagem Joe says:

    @An Interested Party:

    Do you have a comprehension problem or something?

    As if you even have to ask that question…

    It was a rhetorical question!!

  59. @superdestroyer:

    No one fits your definition of a leader.

    Sure they do. For example, Reagan knew that engagement with the Soviet Union was important and pursued it despite huge oposition from his party (people like Newt Gingrich, for example). That’s why he and Thatcher are remembered as great leaders and Gingrich is remembered as an insufferable asshole.

  60. Bennett says:

    @Brummagem Joe: Exactly. The day Corey Booker announces he is running for Governor is the day Christie might as well start making future career plans.

  61. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @PD Shaw: PD, I give you too much credit: You are missing my point…THEY WERE NOT MARRIED.

    Wake up and smell the roaches.

  62. An Interested Party says:

    It was a rhetorical question!!

    Indeed… 🙂

    The day Corey Booker announces he is running for Governor is the day Christie might as well start making future career plans.

    And Doug would weep…

  63. PD Shaw says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Of course, they were married. Piece of paper or no piece of paper. Are you on of these people who needs the government to validate your feelings for another person?

  64. JohnMcC says:

    @PD Shaw: Mr Shaw, as an absolutely dyed-in-the-wool and certified old left winger and staunch advocate of marriage equality, could I say that “feelings” do not make a valid marriage. When my oldest daughter was 14 I had to gently explain to her that: FEELINGS ARE $H!T.

    What the state (or if you prefer — ‘community’) interest in other peoples’ relationship is based on is the wonderful way that “married” folks support each other through thick & thin, form a civilized and civilizing bond and create stable neighborhoods and towns, businesses and careers.

    I have no curiosity or interest in my next-door neighbors’ feelings. I have a sizable concern about their loyalty to a common life that occurs along a 90 ft boundary with mine.

  65. matt says:

    @PD Shaw: There’s absolutely no way that you’re completely ignorant of the repercussions of not having the state recognize your marriage. Medical reasons alone are gigantic enough reason to allow marriages…

  66. feetxxxl says:

    steven

    itsinteresting the parallels between gay rights and the abolition of black civil rights. the church is split down the middle(some believers believed god created different races for the purpose of being seperate from each other(tower of babel), having made some ethnics more superior to others), those against must characterize homosexuality as less than heterosexuality(blacks were considered to be less than whites), the culture associated with being gay is deemed demented(black culture was considered a defect to the evolution of man), and the actual of mentioning, discussing, or even studying homosexuality in secondary school is constantly challenged(the study of anything black was absolutely denied, for fear of indoctrinating children into doing or being anything that resembled black.

    and yet it is the black culture in mass who are one strongest advocates against homosexuality. its as if in spite of all their suffering and all their struggle, they still have not gotten it.

    the it equality based on character, sincerity of heart, life giving love in anothers heart, that gays have never been found wanting in sector of society compared to heterosexuals.

    but even if republicans were to change on this issue, next year. anyone who prempts that change would be considered to not be one of them. radical right republicans hold that everyone is to be in lockstep agreement on some issues. there is no room to agree to disagree. heterosexual marriage is one of them.

  67. mattb says:

    @feetxxxl:
    Two interrelated points:

    (1) saying that “black culture in mass who are one strongest advocates against homosexuality” is a heavily misleading statement. There are sections of “black culture” that are anti-homosexuality, but generally speaking those sections (church, sports, and sections of the “masculine” entertainment industry) tend to be anti-homosexuality across all race categories.

    Further, if one digs into to numbers, you find that while numbers against gay marriage are higher in African American communities. Polling prior to the recent vote in NYS showed the AA community split more or less 50/50 on the issue. And polling ahead of the vote in Maryland shows a 59 against/41 for split among Blacks.

    Again, while there is resistance to the idea, it is no where near as pervasive as common knowledge pretends.

    (2) The assumption that because they were persecuted, African Americans should immediate stand up for gay marriage, is believe to be part of the problem that community has with the process. Many find the comparison of the struggle for gay rights equivalent to the struggle for civil rights to minimize the sufferings and efforts of the black community. Further many have also been put off my LGBT activists who have often scapegoated the black community for setbacks like Prop 8.

    BTW, this pattern holds true for just about every community that this sort of rhetoric is applied to. For example, there are a lot of folks in the gay community, actively fighting for marriage rights, who are less than supportive of rights for bi-sexual and transgendered people.

  68. mattb says:

    @PD Shaw:
    Really? As a lawyer, are you really going there?!

    So can you explain how to reconcile feeling that one is married with the idea of being legally married?

    I’m sure that one can “feel” that they are a spouse, but where does that get them when they are actively denied the rights and privileges of being a spouse under the letter of local, state, and federal laws and regulations?

  69. superdestroyer says:

    @Brummagem Joe:

    The Democrats usually win New Jersey by large margins. The Democrats outnumber the Republicans in the state senate 24-16. and 47-32 in the House. Considering that homosexuals are at most 5% of the population and that they trend more Democratic than general population, that means the number of homosexuals in New Jersey who would trend to any for of conservative politics is so small as to be totally irrelevant.

  70. Rob in CT says:

    Sure, but lots of non-gays care about gay people. Many (most?) people know someone – a family member, a friend – who is gay.

    Take me: I have an openly gay nephew, and an openly gay co-worker. Since I care about them and others like them, I care about the issue too.

    “Blue” states have often elected Republican governors and such. Recently, even. Romney in MA, Rowland and Rell in CT, Christie in NJ…

    Obviously, those wins run counter to the strong Dem-lean in those states (particularly MA and CT, less so in NJ I think). Doubling down on SoCon nonsense is a good way to make it even harder.

  71. Brummagem Joe says:

    @Rob in CT:

    Doubling down on SoCon nonsense is a good way to make it even harder.

    I don’t think connecting dots is SD’s strong point.

  72. superdestroyer says:

    @Rob in CT:

    Appealing the the few moderates by throwing the social conservatives under the bus is just one of the routes to collapse that the Republicans can choose. Appealling to a group of voters who will walk away from your party over a large number of issues while throwing loyal voters under the bus in foolish.

    Social-conservatives will leave the Republican Party unlike blacks and Hispanic who will remain loyal to the Democrats to matter how badly the Democrats perform.

    Anyone who puts homosexuals rights near the top of their concerns is very likely a very loyal Democratic Party voter who is not worth the time and effort it would take the Republicans to pander to.

  73. John D'Geek says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    I am not so sure about the independent issue, however.

    Take a look at the voting statistics in NJ (where I happen to spend most of my time ATM): the Democrat/Republican ratio is better than 2:1. The only way a Republican can take the Governors office in NJ is to seriously, err, tick-off the overwhelming majority of Independents. The reason Chris Christie got into office is because of the economic incompetence — and hypocrisy — of the previous administrations.

    This is the state that the Democratic Party kicked out their governor for, in essence(1), being gay.

    On the Economic score card, he does rather well. Independent NJ voters will remember that come election day (Democrats and Republicans can be counted on to vote party-line regardless of what he does); the Democratic contender will have to prove that they aren’t as incompetent as the last batch and can do better than Christie(2).

    Good luck.

    1) They claimed it’s because he had an affair, but I don’t buy that. If he was straight, they would have supported him like they supported Clinton during his (pardon the pun) affair.
    2) I should state for the record that I have no great love of Chris Christie. Not fond of NJ politics at all; both parties drive me nuts here.