Conservatives are angry over Gov. Chris Christie's decision to drop his fight against same-sex marriage in New Jersey, and warned Tuesday that it will hurt him if he seeks the Republican presidential nomination in 2016.
Christie dropped his appeal Monday just hours after gay couples began exchanging vows. Same-sex marriages became legal in New Jersey on Monday after the state Supreme Court refused to block them.
Conservatives called Christie's action an opportunistic political ploy, coming just weeks before the gubernatorial election in a state where 61 percent of voters support gay marriage, according to a Rutgers-Eagleton poll
"Conservatives are looking for leaders who will sustain their commitment to unchanging principles," Peter Sprigg, senior fellow for policy studies at the Family Research Council, told The Washington Times.
Sprigg said the decision to back down on the gay-marriage fight gives "conservatives serious pause about Gov. Christie's reliability."
Conservative Republicans who opposed gay marriage often are among the most active in primary voting. With Christie widely expected to make a bid for the presidency in 2016, some pundits say his decision will hurt him among influential conservative voters in early-voting states such as Iowa and South Carolina.
"Abandoning foundational principles that go beyond politics is not the way to get positive attention in South Carolina," Bob McAlister, a veteran South Carolina-based Republican strategist, told The Associated Press.
"is absolutely going to hurt him," McAlister said.
"It’s definitely not a profile in courage," Brian Brown, head of the National Organization for Marriage, told Politico
"You’ve got a court in New Jersey that doesn’t understand that it’s supposed to be interpreting the law, not making it up out of thin air," he said. "And then the candidate and governor who’s prided himself on he’s gonna do what’s right, he’s gonna tell it like it is, he’s gonna lead, just simply withdraws his appeal because he doesn’t think there’s a likelihood of succeeding? There’s no doubt it’s going to affect him [politically in a 2016 primary]."
A statement released by Christie's office Monday emphasized that while he "strongly disagrees" with the court's decision, same-sex marriage is now the law in New Jersey.
"The governor will do his constitutional duty and ensure his administration enforces the law as dictated by the New Jersey Supreme Court," the statement said.
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