January 24, 2012 11:32 am ET - by Carlos Maza
As New Jersey lawmakers inch closer to securing veto-proof support for a marriage equality bill, the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) is getting pretty nervous about Gov. Chris Christie’s commitment to oppose any legislation legalizing same-sex marriage.
Although Christie has previously stated that he would veto a same-sex marriage bill, the governor has become noticeably noncommittal on the issue over the past few weeks. Last Thursday, he avoided stating he would veto a bill on marriage equality, instead allegedly telling a reporter:
“When forced to make a decision, if forced to make a decision on it, I’ll make a decision.”
Less than a week later, Christie again dodged a question about whether he would veto such a bill:
“Listen, I’m not in the hypothetical game. They’ve never been able to get it to a governor’s desk. They couldn’t get it to a governor’s desk when the governor [who] was there said he would sign it,” he said. [...]
“The fact is this is a huge societal change that they’re talking about here and I think we need to do this in a very deliberate, thoughtful way and get the most input from the public we can before we overturn hundreds of years of societal, legal and religious tradition,” Christie said.
NOM is now intent on reminding Christie about his commitment to preventing marriage equality. Over the past week, the group has published post after post rehashing the governor’s initial pledge to veto same-sex marriage efforts. The group issued an “URGENT ALERT” on January 18, asking supporters to lobby Christie directly. And last Friday, NOM’s national newsletter warned that the governor “would break a lot of hearts” if he failed to veto the bill:
Advocates of gay marriage are counting on Gov. Chris Christie, the truth-teller, the straight talker whom we all love for his candid fearlessness -- to renege on his clear campaign promise to veto same-sex marriage.
It would break a lot of hearts to find that Gov. Christie is really a conventional kind of politician, one who bends and sways in the wind, one who goes against his word if the big-dollar Republican money guys (who swayed New York's GOP to pass gay marriage) push hard enough.
Noticeably absent from NOM’s anti-equality campaign in New Jersey: the group’s usual “let the people” vote rhetoric. Although the slogan has been one of NOM’s central talking points in New York and Minnesota, it hasn’t been a staple of NOM’s recent New Jersey press releases. The change in messaging strategy probably has something to do with a recent poll finding that a strong majority of New Jersey voters would support a same-sex marriage law. NOM made a similar decision in New Hampshire last year once it became clear that the public wouldn’t support efforts to repeal the state’s marriage equality law.
NOM likes to portray itself as a populist response to gay marriage “elites,” but the group is often more than willing to go against the will of the people (and the legislature) to further its agenda.
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