Out Facebook Co-Founder Takes Issue With Chris Christie’s Gay Marriage Stance
Chris Hughes, one of the founders of Facebook and the publisher and editor-in-chief of The New Republic, has voiced his disapproval of the social media website’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his support for New Jersey Republican Governor Chris Christie, ABC News reports.
Hughes, who married marriage equality crusader Sean Eldridge last June, said he found Christie’s stance on marriage equality "just really personally frustrating."
"I, for one, have a lot of questions about Chris Christie, particularly because less than a year ago he vetoed a marriage equality bill in the New Jersey State Legislature," said Hughes. "I mean, there are tens of thousands of couples in New Jersey that can’t share their love and be recognized under that law because of that decision. I’m not a single issue voter, and I think most people aren’t either, but for me personally, it would raise serious concerns about supporting someone like him."
At 29, Hughes is the nation’s youngest self-made billionaire. He bought the venerable liberal magazine The New Republic for the purpose of remaking the publication, which launched the career of Andrew Sullivan, as a mouthpiece for social causes to a new generation of left-leaning activists.
On Feb. 17, 2012, Christie vetoed a bill that would have legalized same-sex marriage in New Jersey. Currently, the state allows gay couples to enter into civil unions, which was legalized in 2007.
Hughes’ remarks come just weeks before Christie is scheduled to attend a fundraiser hosted by Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, at their home in Palo Alto, Calif. This will be the first out-of-state trip the conservative makes in order to raise money for his re-election campaign. NJ.Com points out that Christie has already raised 10 times more money for the primary than his only announced Democratic rival, State Sen. Barbara Buono. Other likely opponents, such as Corey Booker, the equally mayor of Newark, New Jersey’s largest city, have so far declined the challenge.
The support of Zuckerberg, the wunderkind whose meteoric success as the founder of the most popular social network in the world was the subject of a hit film, "The Social Network," is at least as important for the imprimatur of a generational zeitgeist as the money he will raise. When Zuckerberg gave an astonishing gift of $100 million to Newark’s struggling school system, he immediately inserted himself as a major player in the Garden State’s often-byzantine, always-fractious politics.
As Salon notes, a recent poll shows that 52 percent of voters in the Garden State support same-sex marriage while 42 percent are against it. The article suggests that Christie "has to be very careful as he approaches his re-election race. He doesn’t have much margin for error when it comes to alienating swing overs," and that voters in the state "are generally fine with gay marriage."
Pundits have been long predicting a presidential run for Christie, who not only managed to win in an overwhelmingly blue state, but whose take-no-prisoners style has endeared him to voters in a state known for "Jersey Shore"-style direct confrontation (memorably self-satirized on a recent news segment on "Saturday Night Live). If he does make a run for president in 2016, the Salon writer points out that he being "known as the New Jersey governor who enacted same-sex marriage" would not go down well with GOP primary voters, who tend to veer directly to the right on social issues.