TRENTON, NJ, July 3, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – Chris Christie is not known for nuance. This time, he has turned his fiery personality loose on county clerks and other officials who have religious objections to performing same-sex “marriages.”
In a tone usually reserved for busting teachers' unions, Christie told clerks who hold traditional values, “You took the job, and you took the oath.” He would offer no exemption for an individual whose conscience would not allow him to participate in a union the vast majority of the world's religions deem sinful.
“When you go back and re-read the oath it doesn’t give you an out. You have to do it,” he said.
He told a reporter that there “might” be “individual circumstances” that “merit some examination, but none that come immediately to mind for me.”
“I think for folks who are in the government world, they kind of have to do their job, whether you agree with the law or you don’t,” the pugnacious governor said.
Since the Supreme Court voted 5-4 to legalize homosexual “marriage” last Friday, elected officials have grappled with how to safeguard the rights of those who have deeply held religious beliefs that would not allow them to participate in such a ceremony.
Christie's response differs markedly from other GOP hopefuls' responses to the Supreme Court ruling. Mike Huckabee, for instance, has specifically said that clerks should have conscience rights. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal signed an executive order granting such rights and ordered clerks to wait until a pending court case was fully adjudicated before any clerk issues a marriage license to a homosexual couple.
Christie gave up a legal appeal after a superior court judge struck down his state's voter-approved constitutional marriage protection amendment. New Jersey is the only state where such a low court overturned the will of the voters.
The decision to ignore conscience rights adds to the growing number of Christie's positions that give conservatives pause.
The natural locus of support for a Christie 2016 presidential run is the Republican's socially liberal donor class, for personal as well as political reasons. His wife works on Wall Street, and some of the GOP's high-dollar donors – including Paul Singer – have courted Christie for years.
However, this year Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, and to a lesser degree Scott Walker have eclipsed Christie as the preferred candidates of the boardroom donors – who sometimes prefer Democrats to Republicans.
Christie also used language during a speech before the Republican Jewish Coalition last year, which concerned some major GOP donors.
Christie is reportedly spending this weekend with Mitt Romney and his family at Romney's New Hampshire home. Romney declined to enter the 2016 race himself and may be able to open his donor list to Christie's struggling campaign.