TRENTON, NJ, October 21, 2013 ( – Pro-family groups inside New Jersey and across the country have harshly criticized Governor Chris Christie's decision to withdraw his appeal of a judicial order that the state recognize same-sex “marriages,” calling his decision “a disqualifying failure” of leadership that will bury his chances of becoming the Republican presidential nominee in 2016.

Local officials began issuing marriage licenses to homosexuals at midnight Monday morning following a ruling from Mercer County Superior Court Judge Mary Jacobson that New Jersey must establish same-sex “marriages.” Rather than carry through with a promised appeal to to the state, or possibly the U.S., Supreme Court, Christie dropped the legal motion.

In effect, his decision allowed a state superior court judge to legalize gay “marriage” statewide.

“Regrettably, Governor Christie's decision to surrender on marriage reveals him to be a man who lacks the courage of his supposed convictions,” said Brian Brown, the president of the National Organization for Marriage. “As far as we are concerned, it's a disqualifying failure.”


“The mark of a leader is to walk a principled walk no matter the difficulty of the path,” he said.
“Chris Christie has failed the test, abandoning both voters and the core institution of society – marriage as the union of one man and one woman.”

“His surrender on marriage effectively surrenders any chance he might have had to secure the GOP nomination for president,” Brown concluded.

Bob Vander Plaats, an evangelical power player in Iowa, home of the first-in-the-nation presidential caucuses, said Christie's decision today would have repercussions “way beyond Iowa.”

“Governor Christie has basically backed away from one of the most fundamental social institutions — marriage, between one man and one woman,” said Vander Plaats, head of The Family Leader. “This is not going to play well for him if he chooses to enter the Republican primary for president of the United States.”

Peter Sprigg, a senior fellow for policy studies at the Family Research Council and an expert on marriage policy, said FRC as an institution “is disappointed by Governor Christie's decision to withdraw the state's appeal of a lower court order redefining marriage.”

State family leaders felt there was plenty of blame to go around. Len Deo, the president of the New Jersey Family Policy Council, said, “We are disappointed that Governor Christie dropped the appeal, surrendering the moral authority of the executive branch. But we especially condemn the New Jersey Supreme Court’s efforts to reshape this state after their own ideology, leaving the natural family without an advocate and religious liberty twisting in the wind.”

Sprigg understood that Christie faced the potential embarrassment of having the state Supreme Court rule against him. The justices unanimously declined his request for a stay, including one member whom he appointed, Justice Anne M. Patterson.

“The fact that the Supreme Court refused to stay the lower court's order is no reason not to litigate this important issue to a final conclusion on the merits,” Sprigg said.

Christie, who faces re-election in the Democrat-leaning state in just weeks, has provoked conservatives nationwide on social and political issues, particularly homosexuality.

In August, he signed a bill banning minors from seeking reparation therapy, a treatment that allows people to seek relief from unwanted same-sex attraction. The only other governor to sign such a ban was Jerry Brown, the far-Left Democrat once dubbed “Governor Moonbeam.”

“My religion says [homosexuality is] a sin. But for me, I don’t,” Christie said.

The governor signed the bill on the grounds that he wanted to protect young people from unnecessary “health risks.” The same day, he signed a bill allowing children greater access to edible medicinal marijuana.

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Christie's decision to rail against the Republican-controlled House for allegedly not approving aid for Hurricane Sandy victims quickly enough, combined with his glowing praise for President Barack Obama shortly before the 2012 election, incensed Republicans nationwide.

Radio talk show legend Rush Limbaugh has gone so far as to say Christie will run for president in 2016 – as a Democrat.

One thing is certain: His inaction on marriage has cost him a significant part of his party's base.

“Conservatives are looking for leaders who will sustain their commitment to unchanging principles,” Sprigg said. “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 Governor Christie's reliability.”


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