Brian Raum

On Aug. 2, the ripple effect from New York’s recently passed same-sex “marriage” law bumped up against New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. The Star-Ledger suggested Christie “should consider taking a page out of [New York Gov.] Cuomo’s playbook,” by which they meant that Christie ought to force-feed the public with same-sex “marriage” just like Cuomo did. According to the Ledger, there is a “recent poll” which shows that “more New Jersey residents support same sex marriage than oppose it,” thus it’s time to act.

Written by the Ledger’s editorial board, the column’s position is that Christie “should heed voters on gay marriage.” The good news is two-fold. First, the poll the paper cites represents another flawed attempt by the left to make things look better for their side than they really are. Second, Christie’s personal views on homosexual behavior may be tough to pin down, but he has made it clear so far that he’s “not a fan of same-sex marriage” and that “it’s not something that [he’ll] support.”

Regarding the poll the Ledger cites, the response to the question “Do you think same-sex marriage should be legal or illegal?” was 47 percent for “legal” and 42 percent for “illegal.” But since the margin of error for the poll is +/- 4.5 percent, the actual difference between the positions could be as little as 0.5 percent. There’s a good chance Christie knows this, because one of his arguments for refusing to follow New York lock-step has been the fact that there isn’t enough statewide support to change marriage into something that Democrat Gov. Jon Corzine failed to change it into with a Democrat-controlled state legislature in 2010.

Polls such as this, paraded as a victory for same-sex couples when the only difference between a “for” or “against” position could be as slight as 0.5 percent, are a dime a dozen. These results are not used to report public opinion but to frame it.

Trustworthy polls provide completely different outcomes than the ones the Ledger is hanging its hat on simply by how they ask their questions.

For example, when the Alliance Defense Fund and Public Opinion Strategies released their marriage research data on June 16, which included a scientific national poll conducted May 16-19 of this year, it was clear that an overwhelming majority of Americans support marriage as it has always been defined.

The research revealed that 62 percent of Americans believe that “marriage should be defined only as a union between one man and one woman.” (By the way, 62 percent is only 4 percent shy of a two-thirds majority.)

Oh, but this was conducted by a “partisan” group or a “partisan” polling company, some may object. The problem is that translating this into an inaccurate poll must be substantiated, and it can’t be. Public Opinion Strategies has conducted polls for NBC and The Wall Street Journal. Does that mean those polls were flawed, too? And what about the above-mentioned fact that the poll the Ledger references was conducted by a self-admitted “Democratic polling company?” Will as much scrutiny be paid to that poll as to the ADF/POS poll?

The widespread support for marriage as the union of a husband and wife is good news. And the other good news is that, the Ledger editorial’s pleas notwithstanding, Christie says he believes marriage “should be between one man and one woman,” adding, “That’s my view, and that’ll be the view of our state because I wouldn’t sign a bill like that—like the one that was in New York.” That sounds like the right choice, and it’s the one many Americans—and the people of New Jersey—hope Christie sticks to for as long as he’s in office.


Brian Raum

Brian Raum serves as senior counsel with the Alliance Defense Fund.