Are Republicans going soft on gay marriage? Not if Chris Christie has anything to say about it


Many right-of-center ideologues consider New Jersey Governor Chris Christie a Republican in name only. Not only does his cordial relationship with President Obama make their heads spin but he hasn’t turned out to be the hard-line conservative they thought he would be.

Count me among those who actually have a favorable opinion of Christie, who in all likelihood will mount a formidable campaign for the presidency when he runs in 2016. Also count me among those who believe certain factions within the GOP are becoming more comfortable voicing their disagreement with Republican social policies.

Chris Christie

The party’s ever so subtle lurch to the left, as evidenced by the growing number of young people and elected officials who, incorrectly mind you, argue that gay marriage is a conservative position, is bad news not only for Americans in general but for Catholics specifically. Indeed, over the past several years a growing number of Republican strategists have expressed how comfortable they are capitulating to progressives on the marriage issue.

Perhaps this is occurring because they take social conservatives and their votes for granted. Maybe it’s because they buy into the pernicious notion of “marriage equality”. Or maybe it’s because they are afraid of the media backlash, like Mitt Romney ostensibly was when, instead of defending what Chick-fil-A owner Dan Cathy said about marriage during the 2012 election, he avoided the issue altogether by sheepishly telling  reporters that “those are not things that are part of my campaign.”

What a joke.

Having said all that, I was overjoyed to hear that Governor Christie, who has already vetoed a law that would’ve redefined marriage, is continuing his fight to preserve the institution of marriage in the Garden State. Although Judge Mary Jacobson of the Mercer County Superior Court overturned his veto by recently ruling that gay couples will be allowed to partake in the institution of marriage starting October 21st, Christie’s administration was quick to appealed her decision to the New Jersey Supreme Court.

Gay marriage debateFor his efforts, Christie, who paradoxically supports civil unions and recently signed into law a ban on ‘gay conversion’ therapy, has been called every name in the book. And boy are some folks upset. Other than the usual vitriol from sites like the Huffington Post, in an apparent attempt to trip him up during his most recent gubernatorial debate, Christie was asked what he would do if one of his children told him they were gay.

The governor, a Catholic, appropriately responded by saying he would “grab them and hug them and tell them I love them,” but that he would also inform them that “dad believes that marriage is between one man and one woman.”

I’m curious as to why this question always gets brought up. I mean, how do you think people who are taught to love their neighbor as themselves are going to respond? I’m also not convinced this question makes Republicans appear un-sympathetic. If anything, it gives them a chance to explain why children deserve a mom and a dad, how natural law principles can play a role in our political discussions and just how disastrous liberal social policies have been for the family unit over the past fifty years.

Moreover, how come a Democrat who supports redefining marriage is never asked what they would do if their son told them he wanted to become a Catholic priest or if he believed homosexual acts were intrinsically disordered? Would they support and love him or would they stop him from becoming a priest?

I can’t speak for those who foolishly believe someone’s sexual orientation is in and of itself a sin, but I think I speak for most well-catechized Catholics when I say that if God blesses me with fatherhood and that he wills that I become the dad of someone who is gay, I would treat them no differently than how I already treat persons struggling with temptation or addiction. For, as 1 Corinthians 6: 9-11 states, alcoholics, fornicators, idolaters, thiefs, drunks, slanderers, robbers and active homosexuals will not enter the Kingdom of God. Thus, I, like Christie, would be sure to let my child know that I that I love them and that I am going to do everything in my power to make sure they spend eternity in heaven.

“So you’re going to tell someone who is gay that they can’t marry the person they love?” some will inevitably retort. Well, yes. The reason being that I want what is best for people’s souls. You see, the world we live in sees no evil, hears no evil and speaks no evil. It is a place that does not believe in sin. Everything is rationalized. It is a world that, by virtue of its support for same sex unions, disallows children from ever being given the chance to obey the 4th commandment: “Honor thy father and mother,” Instead, it forces on them the belief that they should “Be somewhat nice to Parent A and Parent B.” It cares only about comfort, pleasure and expanding liberty at all costs. Catholics, however, know that we all have crosses to bear, and that allowing someone to continue on in their destructive ways is the direct opposite of love.

It would be foolish for conservatives, especially young Republicans, to view Governor Christie’s decision to defend the institution of marriage as anything other than a noble act, one that is worthy of praise and emulation wherever the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God are under attack.

The views expressed here are those of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views of


About Author

Stephen Kokx is a freelance writer and adjunct professor of political science living in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He has previously worked for the Archdiocese of Chicago's Office for Peace and Justice. His writing on religion, politics and Catholic social teaching has appeared in a number of outlets, including Crisis Magazine, The American Thinker and his hometown paper The Grand Rapids Press. He is a member of the Fellowship of Catholic Scholars and the Society of Catholic Social Scientists, and is a graduate of Aquinas College and Loyola University Chicago. Follow Stephen on twitter @StephenKokx

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