Chris Christie Is Not Telling the Truth about Religious Liberty

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

If Chris Christie now supports religious exemptions for marriage clerks – that is good. But he is misleading Iowans, in the exact way Americans hate career politicians, if he says he has always supported them or Kim Davis.

Straight-talking is a precious resource. I welcome Chris Christie to the circle of those who are willing to provide religious accommodations for gay marriage dissenters. But if he really is willing, why won’t he provide them for marriage clerks in New Jersey? And why has he refused to support FADA, which protects gay marriage dissenters from discrimination by the federal government?

Here’s Christie’s record on exemptions for marriage clerks – the facts:

  • When asked about exemptions for marriage clerks, Christie said on July 1st, 2015: “You took the job and you took the oath. When you go back and re-read  the oath it doesn’t give you an out. You have to do it.”
  • As for Kim Davis? When she went to jail, he expressed sympathy and said he’d try to get her into a different job, but he never said she must be able to keep her job.
  • Christie on Kim Davis: “And the law has to be these licenses have to be issued,” he said. “If she has a religious objection, we should move her to another job inside the government.”
  • And what if she (Kim Davis) refuses to go? “Well, you know, then there’s going to be an issue. But I think we should give her an option to do another job where her religious concerns are not [going to] be put into the crosshairs on this. And so we have to have respect for people, but … the government also has to function.”

Three of the top four GOP candidates have pledged immediate action on the First Amendment Defense Act (FADA) in 2017.

Maggie Gallagher is a senior fellow at the American Principles Project.