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Christie must shift social issue position for 2016 bid

On Oct. 21, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie rightly dropped his legal challenge to the State Supreme Court’s ruling on same-sex marriage, solidifying New Jersey’s status as the 14th state to legalize gay marriage. Christie, who is shaping up to be a 2016 presidential candidate, has the potential to help the ailing Republican Party.

In years past, Christie has repeatedly voiced his opposition to same-sex marriage. When the Democrat-run state legislature passed a bill granting same-sex couples equal marriage rights in February 2012, he quickly vetoed it. Now, by lifting his challenge to the court’s ruling, Christie is not altering his stance on LGBTQ rights, but rather he is recognizing that he was fighting a losing battle.

While civil rights advocates in New Jersey are probably happy there are no more hurdles standing between LGBTQ couples and marriage, Christie’s announcement stopped far short of an endorsement. A Christie spokesperson announced at a press conference yesterday morning, “Although the governor strongly disagrees with the court substituting its judgment for the constitutional process of the elected branches or a vote of the people, the court has now spoken clearly as to their view of the New Jersey Constitution and, therefore, same-sex marriage is the law.”

Should Christie decide to run in 2016, his decision to drop his opposition to the law has the possibility of making social issues a divisive topic in the Republican primaries. With over 59 percent of Republicans still opposed to same-sex marriage, his latest move will certainly anger social conservatives, who could be a crucial bloc in a 2016 run.

Republicans have lost the last two elections in part because their appeal to the core conservative base alienated other groups. If they are to win the next election, the Republicans must recognize that the country has significantly evolved on social issues. A recent poll shows that 53 percent of Americans now favor gay marriage, whereas just 10 years ago, the majority opposed it.

Christie has a fine tightrope to walk, as he needs to be careful not to anger the socially conservative in key primary states while also shifting his policies to reflect the national mood. This latest shift in position is an astute political judgement made with 2016 in mind. If he is to succeed beyond the primaries, Christie must appeal to a broader spectrum of voters, and yesterday’s decision was the first step in doing so.


A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, Oct. 22 print edition. Email the WSN Editorial Board at [email protected]

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2 Responses to “Christie must shift social issue position for 2016 bid”

  1. Howard Sachs on October 27th, 2013 9:44 am

    Why a Good Person Can Vote Against Same-Sex Marriage

    by Dennis Prager: scholar, writer, radio talk show hostNext week voters in Maine, Maryland and Washington will vote on whether to redefine marriage to include same-sex couples.

    Given that there are good people on both sides of this issue, how are we to explain their opposing views?

    The primary explanation is this: Proponents and opponents ask two different questions.

    Proponents of same-sex marriage ask: Is keeping the definition of marriage as man-woman fair to gays? Opponents of same-sex marriage ask: Is same-sex marriage good for society?

    Few on either side honestly address the question of the other side. Opponents of same-sex marriage rarely acknowledge how unfair the age-old man-woman definition is to gay couples. And proponents rarely, if ever, acknowledge that this unprecedented redefinition of marriage may not be good for society.

    That is why proponents have it much easier. All they need to do is to focus the public’s attention on individual gay people, show wonderful gay individuals who love each other, and ask the American public: Is it fair to continue to deprive these people of the right to marry one another?

    When added to Americans’ aversion to discrimination, to the elevation of compassion to perhaps the highest national value, and to the equating of opposition to same-sex marriage with opposition to interracial marriage, it is no wonder that many Americans have been persuaded that opposition to same-sex marriage is hateful, backwards and the moral equivalent of racism.

    Is there any argument that can compete with the emotionally compelling fairness argument?

    The answer is that one can — namely, the answer to the second question, Is it good for society?

    Before answering that question, however, it is necessary to respond to the charge that opposition to same-sex marriage is morally equivalent to opposition to interracial marriage and, therefore, the moral equivalent of racism.

    There are two responses:

    First, this charge is predicated on the profoundly false premise that race and sex (or “gender” as it is now referred to) are analogous.

    They are not.

    While there are no differences between black and white human beings, there are enormous differences between male and female human beings. That is why sports events, clothing, public restrooms, and (often) schools are routinely divided by sex. But black sporting events and white sporting events, black restrooms and white restrooms, black schools and white schools, or black clothing stores and white clothing stores would be considered immoral.

    Because racial differences are insignificant and gender differences are hugely significant, there is no moral equivalence between opposition to interracial marriage and opposition to same-sex marriage.

    Second, if opposition to same-sex marriage is as immoral as racism, why did no great moral thinker, in all of history, ever advocate male-male or female-female marriage? Opposition to racism was advocated by every great moral thinker. Moses, for example, married a black woman, the very definition of Catholic is “universal” and therefore diverse and has always included every race, and the equality of human beings of every race was a central tenet of Judaism, Christianity, Islam and other world religions. But no one – not Moses, Jesus, Buddha, Muhammad, Aquinas, Gandhi, not the Bible or the Koran or any other sacred text, nor even a single anti-religious secular thinker of the Enlightenment — ever advocated redefining marriage to include members of the same sex.

    To argue that opposition to same-sex marriage is immoral is to argue that every moral thinker, and every religion and social movement in the history of mankind prior to the last 20 years in America and Europe was immoral. About no other issue could this be said. Every moral advance has been rooted in prior moral thinking. The anti-slavery movement was based on the Bible. Martin Luther King, Jr. was first and foremost the “Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.” and he regularly appealed to the moral authority of the scriptures when making his appeals on behalf of racial equality. Same-sex marriage is the only social movement to break entirely with the past, to create a moral ideal never before conceived. It might be right, but it might also be an example of the moral hubris of the present generation, the generation that created the self-esteem movement: After all, you need a lot of self-esteem to hold yourself morally superior to all those who preceded you.

    We now return to our two primary questions.

    Is the man-woman definition of marriage fair to gays who wish to marry? No, it isn’t. And those of us opposed to same-sex marriage need to be honest about this, to confront the human price paid by some people through no fault of their own and figure out ways to offer gay couples basic rights associated with marriage.

    But whether a policy is fair to every individual can never be the only question society asks in establishing social policy. Eyesight standards for pilots are unfair to some terrifically capable individuals. Orchestra standards are unfair to many talented musicians. A mandatory retirement age is unfair to many people. Wherever there are standards, there will be unfairness to individuals.

    So, the question is whether redefining in the most radical way ever conceived — indeed completely changing its intended meaning — is good for society.

    It isn’t.

    The major reason is this: Gender increasingly no longer matters. There is a fierce battle taking place to render meaningless the man-woman distinction, the most important distinction regarding human beings’ personal identity. Nothing would accomplish this as much as same-sex marriage.

    The whole premise of same-sex marriage is that gender is insignificant: It doesn’t matter whether you marry a man or a woman. Love, not gender, matters.

    Some examples of this war on gender:

    –This year Harvard University appointed its first permanent director of bisexual, gay, lesbian, transgender, and queer student life. The individual, Vanidy Bailey, has asked that he/she never be referred to as he or she, male or female. Harvard has agreed.

    –In 2010 eHarmony, for years the country’s largest online dating service, was sued for only matching men and women. Its lack of same-sex matchmaking meant that it violated anti-discrimination laws in some states. As a result, eHarmony was forced to begin a same-sex online service.

    –Each year more and more American high schools elect girls as homecoming kings and boys as homecoming queens. Students have been taught to regard restricting kings to males or queens to females as (gender-based) discrimination.

    –When you sign up for the new social networking site, Google Plus, you are asked to identify your gender. Three choices are offered: Male, Female, Other.

    –Catholic Charities, which operates the oldest ongoing adoption services in America, has had to end its adoption work in Illinois, Massachusetts and Washington, DC because the governments there regard placing children with married man-woman couples before same-sex couples as discriminatory.

    Increasingly, even the mother-father ideal is being shattered in this battle to render male-female distinction insignificant.

    –The socialist French government has just announced that in the future no government issued document will be allowed to use the words “mother” or “father.” Only the gender-neutral term “parent” will be acceptable in France.

    –And in Rhode Island this year, one school district cancelled its father-daughter dance after the ACLU threatened to sue the district for gender discrimination. Only parent-child events, not father-daughter dances or mother-son ballgames, will be allowed.

    And all this is happening before same-sex marriage is allowed. Imagine what will happen should same-sex marriage become the law of the land.

    It will hasten the end of the male-female distinction and of any significance to mothers or fathers as distinctive entities.

    It will mean that those who, for religious or other reasons, wish to retain the man-woman definition of marriage will be legally and morally as isolated as racists are today.

    And it will mean that teachers and other adults who ask little boys and girls who they would like to marry, will, in order to be in sync with the morality of our times, have to make it clear that it might be a someone of the same sex. “Will you marry a boy or a girl?” will be the only non-bigoted way to ask a young person about their marital plans.

    The history of left-wing policies has largely consisted of doing what feels good and compassionate without asking what the long-term consequences will be; what Professor Thomas Sowell calls “Stage One Thinking.” That explains, for example, the entitlement state. It sounds noble and seems noble. But the long-term consequences are terrible: economic ruin, a demoralized population, increasing selfishness as people look to the state to take care of their fellow citizens, and more.

    By redefining marriage to include same sex couples we are playing with sexual and societal fire. Just as the entitlement state passes on the cost of our good intentions to our children and grandchildren – unsustainable dependency and debt — so, too, same-sex marriage will pass along the consequences of our good intentions to our children and grandchildren – gender confusion and the loss of motherhood and fatherhood as values, just to cite two obvious consequences.

    It is not enough to mean well in life. One must also do well. And the two are frequently not the same thing.

    There are reasons no moral thinker in history ever advocated same-sex marriage.

    Dennis Prager’s latest book, “Still the Best Hope: Why the World Needs American Values to Triumph,” was published April 24 by HarperCollins. He is a nationally syndicated radio show host and creator of Prager University.


  2. Howard Sachs on October 27th, 2013 9:59 am

    Thank you for your clear and well written opinion. May I comment
    with respect. You say the country has “evolved” on the social issue
    of redefining marriage. May I say that millions of us in America profoundly
    disagree with you. We would say the country has radically regressed on this
    vital social issue. A gay man is equal to any other human in the
    cosmic/religious sense. His life is no more or less valuable than any other.
    However, he is unequal to others in many other essential ways- a fundamental way is in the setting of marriage. All of Western civilization has understood that it needs to send a clear message to society in its definition of marriage. Is this message ideal? No. Is it fair to all? No. But is the message vital to the structure of our society? Yes.

    That message is that families are most ideally created through the bonds of one man and one woman. Of course we understand that a family can be beautifully contructed by six heterosexual men combined with 3 transgenderd women, two gay guys and an handicapped oboe player. They may raise great kids. But that is not the ideal and ideals are what laws and social norms try to convey. Ideals are what civilizations spend centuries molding and refining. Not one moral or political or religious thinker from Moses, to Jesus to Muhammad, to Martin
    Luther King ever disagreed with this. They were not homophobic intolerant
    bigoted humans. They had wisdom and great values from Judaism, Christianity and Islam. You, with the new dynamic religion called Leftism disagree. I understand. You want the message transmitted to our society that ,”Love is all.” You want the message transmitted that, “Children, it really
    doesn’t matter if you have a Mom or Dad, Love is all.” You want the
    message transmitted through your regressive notion that, “Male and Female
    essentially are equal. Its just a plumbing issue or a social construct this male/female business” Millions of us think
    your message is dead wrong, unwise, foolish and in many ways destructive to our society. I appreciate your ideas but they are anything but progressive. They are deeply unwise and profoundly regressive. I say that with respect: You likely are a very good kind person. That doesn’t preclude one from holding very regressive ideas in the social realm. Howard
    Sachs/Washington DC

    I know you think you are getting a fine education there at NYU.
    Millions of us do not. Millions of us think our Universities no longer transmit
    American values but instead transmit and indoctrinate the values of Leftism. I , like you used to be on the Left. I
    read and thought and listened a lot after college. I now know that this
    religion of Leftism is terribly destructive to our American economy, character,
    social life, arts and education.
    You will likely disagree at this point in your life. However, may I ask that
    you at least take a look at what was once core traditional American ideas
    before you finish handing NYU the $200,000. Its free. Most take only 5 minutes.Take
    a look at a few things. If you stay on the Left, fine; at least you would have
    heard from the best of what used to be American values. At least then we’d be impressed at your
    education, not your repetition of Leftist dogma. best regards; said again with respect for you: Howard Sachs//Washington DC


    5 minutes: Prager: The core of the American value system: Its trinity


    5 minutes Prager :Happiness is a moral obligation


    5 minutes Brooks/Prager The moral basis of free enterprise:


    5 minutes: Prager: The welfare state and the selfish society


    @30 minutes: Prager: I used to be a liberal. Why I am now a conservative:


    5 minutes : Prager: The Mid East Conflict: Explained in 5 minutes


    READ/Watch: All Americans should read “Free to Choose” or watch the
    great documentary on the book ( can find it on youtube)

    5 minutes: Professor Friedman: Check out this great sample of Milton Friedmann.
    Everyone should see this and think about it.


    warmest regards: Howard Sachs

    [email protected]

    READ: Prager: The three competing value systems in the world: American/Leftism
    and Islamic

    the Best Hope/Why the World Needs The American Value System to Triumph

    30 min. Professor Tom Sowell: Basic Economics


    30 min: Dr Tom Sowell: Economic Facts and Fallacies


    30 min. Dr Tom Sowell: Dismantling The US


    30 min.Professor Sowell: Intellectuals and Society


    30 min. Dr Tom Sowell: Trickle Down theory and Tax Cuts for the Rich


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