Liberty Counsel Chairman Mathew Staver is accusing New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie of "dereliction of duty" for dropping his appeal to a state court decision and effectively allowing homosexual marriage to be enshrined in the Garden State.
"For Gov. Chris Christie just to allow a lower court to ultimately decide this for the people is a dereliction of duty," said Staver, who has argued in defense of traditional marriage in many states and says this change in New Jersey is not some minor matter. "We're talking about the redefinition of marriage. We're talking about a policy that essentially says boys don't need fathers, that girls don't need mothers, that two people of the same sex are just as good as mom and dad who are male and female.
"This has long-term significant effects on the family, on children and when we destabilize the very structure of the family, we impact the structure and stability of government," he said.
A lower state court ruled that forbidding same-sex marriage was unconstitutional, and the New Jersey Supreme Court refused to delay the enforcement of that decision. The chief justice advised Christie to drop the appeal altogether, citing the U.S. Supreme Court's decision on the Defense of Marriage Act as reason for why the state's appeal had little to no chance of succeeding.
"I think the chief justice is speaking out of turn before this matter was fully briefed and argued," Staver told WND. "I don't think the chief justice has the benefit of looking at the full issue, and I think it was another example of judicial activism. We're talking about marriage. We're not talking about some kind of other benefit. We're talking about marriage, the full redefinition of marriage. That's the problem and that's a significant difference."
With Christie seen as a major candidate for the GOP nomination in 2016, this decision could make marriage an issue of greater debate within the party. Staver said the Republicans know better than to abandon traditional marriage because the impact at the ballot box would be a disaster for the party.
"If the Republican Party were to move away from marriage as one man and one woman and to adopt some kind of alternative system or, even worse, same-sex marriage, the Republican Party would lose much of its membership," he said. "They would destroy themselves as a party, and the quickest thing to start a third party would be for the Republican Party to move away from marriage as one man and one woman."
But Staver is quick to stress that he does not believe Christie's decision is any sort of indication that the GOP plans to change on this issue. He believes Republicans will continue to defend the traditional family.
"I don't think it's going that way," he said. "I think there's enough people in the grassroots that are holding some of the leaders' feet to the fire. I think there's a number of leaders who are very strong on this issue and there are obviously some Republicans who are a little week. That's what the purpose of elections are, and I think some of those people will ultimately be finding new jobs."
New Jersey is just one state where homosexual marriage advocates are challenging state laws and, in some cases, a state constitutional amendment. That's what is happening in Michigan, where a federal judge has invited activists to challenge the state's traditional marriage amendment in his courtroom.
Staver said repeated episodes of judicial activism could ultimately erode the credibility of the American judiciary.
"If they continue to go down a road of judicial activism where they just have their own ideology that does not conform to the Constitution to common sense or to history and research, I think the courts could ultimately make themselves illegitimate and delegitimize their entire structure," he said. "Once people lose confidence in the court system, we ultimately have a real problem within the judiciary. I think that's potentially where we may be going if this continues to go down that same path."