Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Reason #132: I Dare You

And now, just as Washington state gets gay marriage over and done with, New Jersey finds itself in the exact same position Washington was in when I commented on it a couple weeks ago - the state Senate has now easily passed its own gay-marriage bill, and it is expected to clear the state Assembly in another couple days. Unlike Washington, though, Governor Chris Christie not only won't sign it, he's pledging to veto it.

I spoke of Christie's position a couple weeks back as well, and actually defended it, after a fashion. Now that it seems clear he'll actually have to sit down and veto this thing, I'm very interested in seeing how he handles it.

Is he genuinely against gay marriage, personally, deep down in his heart? I couldn't begin to say, but he certainly claims to be. But one thing I'm much more sure of than his secret bleeding-heart liberalism is his political cunning. Consider...

New Jersey Democrats are still a handful of votes shy of being able to override his veto if it does in fact happen. But the legislature tried another gay-marriage bill two years ago, when Dem Jon Corzine was governor, and failed to even get it through the Senate. The fact that they went from 20 supporting votes to 24 in two years says a great deal about the direction (and speed) this matter is going in the state, and as it happens, the legislature also has a deadline to override the veto...of two years. So if need be, it's not out of the question that they could just table the bill for a while post-veto and spend a year or two working on a few more fence-sitters.

But even still; like I said - Christie is a crafty guy. Does he want gay marriage? I kinda doubt it. But given that the tide is turning that quickly in the legislature (and even the public appears to favor it, muddying somewhat Christie's call for a referendum), does he really want to go on record as actively striking down what would be otherwise a done deal?

There's a lot to be said for allowing something to happen that you're not crazy about in order to show people you're a reasonable guy. And with his own re-election also two years away (politics sure does love round numbers), that's something I think he does want.

(Side Note: for the next three weeks, I am conducting a survey of visitors to this blog. Whether you're a regular reader or this is your first time, I'd love to hear from you - just follow this link. This notice will accompany every post this month, with Saturday, March 3rd being the final day to participate. Thanks for reading!)

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