NOM BLOG

Christie Surrender Provides an Object Lesson in (Lack of) Leadership

 

National Organization for Marriage

Dear Marriage Supporter,

This past Monday was a sad day for New Jersey and the nation as we watched Governor Chris Christie surrender on marriage. His backing down also provides an important object lesson in leadership (or lack of it) and gives us a great opportunity to contrast what happened in New Jersey with what's going on elsewhere: what happens when people fight for the truth of marriage.

Please help us today to continue the principled fight for the truth of marriage and make sure that elected officials defend God's design for marriage, not abandon it.

To be sure, the blame for the imposition of same-sex 'marriage' in New Jersey belongs with an activist judiciary that once again imposed their values on the citizenry. Still, the failure of the courts to act responsibly and grant a stay of the ruling imposing same-sex ‘marriage' is no excuse for Governor Christie throwing in the towel and dropping the appeal of the underlying issue.

Because of his failure of leadership, there's now little chance in the short term to restore true marriage in the state. In fact, now that he's abandoned the fight, it's highly likely that next month the Legislature will override Christie's earlier veto of legislation redefining marriage.

Christie's decision will have many consequences — for New Jersey and for his own career. It won't be long before people of faith in New Jersey begin to feel the consequences that have been demonstrated in other states. We'll see individuals sued, fined and persecuted. Small businesses put out of business. Students punished. Church groups will be targeted. Charities may have to close if their views are not in alignment with a redefined version of marriage. These things, and more, are becoming commonplace in any state that redefines marriage.

Governor Christie can also forget any idea he might have had of securing the Republican nomination for president. Already provoking suspicion for his embrace of President Obama and for the legislation he signed to prohibit parents from seeking certain types of counseling for their children with same-sex attraction, Governor Christie surrendering on marriage will be seen as the final act of betrayal. Conservatives and people of faith who make up the core of the GOP will never forgive his failure to lead on marriage when leadership was needed most.

So in surrendering in the face of difficulty, Christie not only ensured that marriage would be redefined in New Jersey, he mortally wounded his own political career.

Contrast that to what is happening in states like Illinois, Pennsylvania and Hawaii.

All year same-sex 'marriage' activists have been claiming they have the votes to redefine marriage in Illinois. They've had President Obama, Governor Pat Quinn, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, legislative leaders and union activists all on their side. Yet this past May when the bill was on the line, its prime sponsor declined to bring it up for a vote, finally forced to acknowledge he didn't have the votes he'd been claiming.

In response, homosexual advocacy groups announced a multi-million dollar campaign to push the issue in a fall legislative session that began this week. Activists loudly claimed they'd have the votes this time. And now? The bill's author is acknowledging that he still doesn't have the votes, and likely will not bring it to the floor for consideration.

How did this happen?

First, principled legislators refused to cave to pressure and instead fought for what is right and true. African American pastors, in particular, got engaged and worked with their congregations to make it clear to legislators that a vote for same-sex ‘marriage' would be unacceptable.

Second, the pro-family movement became engaged and fought a fierce battle. NOM has been at the forefront of the effort, working with groups like the African American Clergy Coalition, Coalition of African American Pastors, Illinois Family Institute, Illinois Family PAC, Illinois Catholic Conference and others.

Third, legislators of both parties began to worry that if they voted to redefine marriage, they'd face primary opponents who would use the issue to remove them from office.

You see, exercising leadership works. It coalesces allies, motivates people to get off the sidelines, and demonstrates that you have the courage to fight for principle.

Will you help NOM continue to work to lead the marriage movement in America? Elected officials, pastors and activists across the country are turning to NOM for help and direction. Please give us the support we need to continue to show leadership in this critically important battle.

What's happened in Illinois is not an isolated example.

In Pennsylvania, the state's law defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman has been under attack from the left. The state Attorney General announced that she would not defend it. Meanwhile, a local government official — a County Register of Wills — was openly flaunting the law, declaring that he'd ‘marry' same-sex couples regardless of what the law provided.

NOM sprang into action and organized supporters across the state to contact Governor Tom Corbett and call on him to step in and defend marriage in court, and demanded that he file legal action against the local official who was illegally issuing same-sex ‘marriage' licenses. Thousands of people responded to our call to action, and Governor Corbett listened. The Governor is now actively defending the lawsuit challenging marriage, and he's won a court order against the Montgomery County Register of Wills ordering him to cease his illegal conduct.

Most wonderful of all, the other day when Chris Christie surrendered on marriage, a couple of Pennsylvania legislators went to Governor Corbett and asked him to do the same thing. To his credit, Governor Corbett refused, and continues to stand strong for the truth of marriage. That's what leadership looks like.

Please help NOM continue to organize the grassroots to hold elected officials accountable, praising people like Governor Tom Corbett who stand on principle and condemning those like Chris Christie who abandon the fight in the face of pressure.

We can only be effective if we have your financial support. Those funds give us the ability to write directly to constituents, call them on the phone, email them, sponsor rallies, air advertisements, and undertake a range of other activities to educate and mobilize the strong majority of Americans who agree with us on marriage.

Let me also tell you about leadership in Hawaii. Like Illinois, Hawaii has a super majority of Democratic legislators in both houses of the Legislature, and a Democrat governor. Governor Neil Abercrombie wants to redefine marriage, and he's called a special session of the Legislature for next week to attempt to do so. Like the author of the bill in Illinois, Abercrombie claims he's got the votes to succeed, even though he refuses to say who they are.

NOM is working with allies in Hawaii to preserve marriage and demand that the citizens be given the right to vote on this critical issue. A large coalition of allies has been formed called the Let The People Decide coalition. It includes NOM, the Hawaii Family Advocates, Hawaii Family Forum, a diverse mix of pastors and church groups, and many others.

For the past several weeks, marriage supporters have been attending legislative constituent meetings, calling their representatives and standing on countless street corners during rush hour, waving signs to show their support for marriage. Pastors have preached about the importance of preserving marriage, and people are responding in droves.

This past Monday, NOM launched a major statewide television advertisement campaign designed to educate and mobilize marriage supporters throughout the islands. We're also phoning tens of thousands of marriage supporters in Hawaii to urge them to contact their state representatives. We've had to virtually empty our coffers to take these steps, but we are determined to do everything possible to prevail.

It's called leadership.

And it's working. Thousands of constituents have contacted their legislators to demand the right to decide the marriage issue, just as voters in nearly three dozen other states have done. A poll released this week showed that 70% of Hawaii voters believe that they should decide the issue, not legislators meeting in special session.

Will we be successful in Hawaii, one of the most Democratic states in the country? We'll see. But one thing is for sure — surrender always fails.

So that's the contrast. In New Jersey, the courts attempt to impose their skewed views of marriage and a governor surrenders the fight, even while claiming to still be on our side. His surrender eliminates any chance of prevailing. But in states like Illinois, Pennsylvania and Hawaii, people of principle exert leadership, refusing to buckle to political pressure — and achieve remarkable success.

We believe in leadership, and we believe in you. Please help us continue to fight for what is good and right — the truth of God's design of marriage.

Faithfully,

Brian S. Brown