Chris Christie probably wishes he was in Scott Walker’s shoes now, because nothing the New Jersey governor does regarding gay marriage works.
Christie is now in the unenviable position of defending the state’s ban on marriage equality, even though a majority of New Jersey residents oppose it. He’s pointing to the state’s civil union law as a perfectly acceptable alternative to marriage, even though everyone knows it’s not. Worse still, following the Supreme Court’s DOMA ruling, the legal arguments that Christie can turn to to defend the marriage ban have been shot full of holes. So what’s a guy gonna do?
Pretend it’s still 2006. Or at least, that’s what Christie’s legal team is doing. The brief they have filed in state court defending the marriage ban reads like “a bad student paper,” according to Slate. The state argues that restricting marriage is “preserving” the institution, as if marriage needs to be pickled. The state also argues that changing the definition of marriage would “render a profound change,” like maybe the kind of change the Supreme Court rendered in June. And finally, in a barrel-bottom scraping exercise, Christie’s legal eagles claim that it’s the federal government that is the real villain because it won’t recognize civil unions.
This is Christie’s first official legal statement about marriage equality and it may be, in Slate’s words, “the most incoherent defense of heterosexual supremacy yet.” But, really, what did you expect? Christie insists on playing a losing hand, knowing that he jeopardizes his presidential ambitions if he appears too moderate. The legal arguments were never very good, but now they’ve been ruled invalid by the highest court in the land. When it comes to the legal defense of the marriage ban, Christie should listen to the one word response of the majority of Jersey residents: Fuhgeddaboutit.