When the Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act last week, no politician found himself with a harder job navigating the gay marriage waters than New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.
New Jersey is the last state in the Northeast, save for Pennsylvania, where gay marriage is still illegal and it's a state where gay marriage is popular. A Quinnipiac poll conducted earlier this year found 64 percent of state voters supporting gay marriage and only 30 percent opposed. That makes it a great state for activists to target – and a looming headache for Christie, an outspoken gay marriage opponent.
"New Jersey is the epicenter for the next battle over marriage equality," says Udi Ofer, executive director of the state's ACLU.
Christie's record on the issue is consistent but complex. In 2012 he vetoed a bill that would have legalized gay marriage, the first bill of its kind ever sent to a New Jersey governor. Last week, he blasted the Supreme Court's DOMA ruling not only labeling it "a bad decision" but decrying it "judicial supremacy." "I don't think the ruling was appropriate. I think it was wrong. They, the Court, without a basis in standing, substituted their own judgment for the judgment of a Republican Congress and a Democratic President," he told a New Jersey radio station. He repeated his insistence that he'd veto a bill again.