Christie Leaves NJ to Support Anti-Gay Okla. Governor

by Jason St. Amand

National News Editor

Thursday December 5, 2013

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is leaving his state on Thursday in order to attend a fundraiser for anti-gay Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin - a decision that is not sitting well with Democrats and LGBT activists, New Jersey's Star-Ledger reports.

The move marks Christie's first out-of-state trip as chairman of the Republican Governors Association. After attending an Oklahoma fundraiser for Fallin, the Republican will make his way to Idaho on Friday to show his support for Gov. Butch Otter. Then, next week, he will be In Vermont to raise money for the state's party.

Last month Gov. Fallin came under fire when she initially said she would sue the federal government if she is required to provide National Guard benefits to same-sex couples. Instead of filing a lawsuit, however, and not complying with an order issued by Sectary of Defense Chuck Hagel, Fallin said she will ban benefits for ALL married couples. This means, that Oklahoma will no longer provide spousal benefits to any married couple that works at any state-owned National Guard facility, regardless of sexual orientation. The couples will have to travel to federal owned National Guard locations in order to acquire benefits.

"Oklahoma law is clear," Gov. Fallin said. "The state of Oklahoma does not recognize same-sex marriages, nor does it confer marriage benefits to same-sex couples. The decision reached today allows the National Guard to obey Oklahoma law without violating federal rules or policies. It protects the integrity of our state constitution and sends a message to the federal government that they cannot simply ignore our laws or the will of the people."

New Jersey Democrats and LGBT activist are not happy with Christie's support. Officials from Garden State Equality, New Jersey's leading LGBT group, condemned the governor for supporting Fallin's re-election bid.

"As a native Oklahoman, I find Governor Fallin's anti-LGBT stand reprehensible. Ending service to all rather than offering service to a minority is not equality, it is discrimination of the highest order," Troy Stevenson, executive director of Garden State Equality, said according to the Star-Ledger.

"While Governor Christie has never been a proponent of the freedom to marry, he has always claimed to support equal protections for all. In a time when LGBT rights are quickly becoming a non-partisan issue, it is tragic that Governor Fallin has chosen time and time again to marginalize LGBT Oklahomans."

Meanwhile, the Democratic National Committee released a video that highlights Christie saying that electing and re-electing GOP governors is "priority one, two and three."

Christie has said he is against marriage equality and tried to fight a state judge's ruling that granted same-sex couples the right to marry. Christie eventually backed down, making New Jersey the 14th state to recognize gay marriage. Despite Christie's stance on gay marriage, he did sign a measure that bans minors from undergoing harmful conversion therapy.

Watch the DNC's video below: