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Why Is Mark Zuckerberg Hanging Out With Anti-Marriage Equality Governor Chris Christie?

Thousands are calling on Facebook founder to un-friend the governor who is standing in the way of marriage equality in New Jersey.
 
 
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Tonight, Facebook mogul Mark Zuckerberg is planning on hobnobbing with New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, a move that has marriage equality activists across the country furious.

A coalition of LGBT activists are calling on Mark Zuckerburg to “defriend” the governor, who is singlehandedly blocking the passage of marriage equality legislation in his state. In February, Christie vetoed a bill that would legalize marriage for all of New Jersey’s residents.

The veto wasn’t surprising given Christie’s 2016 presidential aspirations, with the Republican party still entrenched in its position against marriage equality. But the veto was still a slap in the face to gays and lesbians--both in the state of New Jersey and across the country.

New Jersey Assemblyman Tim Eustace, said the governor’s veto “makes it clear, in no uncertain terms, that he does not think my family, and thousands of others, are equal in the eyes of the law.”

Mark Zuckerberg has invited Chris Christie to the tech mogul’s Palo Alto home tonight for a fundraiser. (With a personal net worth of $14 billion, it’s unclear what he possibly has to raise money for.)

But thousands are calling on Zuckerberg to disinvite and “defriend” Christie--or at least lobby the governor to change his mind. In a petition created by Democracy for America, the activists explain: 

Mark Zuckerberg, co-founder of Facebook, has made major strides in the past few years, turning the world’s largest social network into a more open and inclusive place for the LGBT community. Indeed, Zuckerberg, who married in 2012, has been an avid supporter of LGBT equality in the workplace for his employees at Facebook.

So, we're calling on Zuckerberg to do something to support all LGBT families by affirming his support for marriage equality in the state of New Jersey and as we've been saying on Twitter this week: #UnfriendChristie. 

In the last few years, Facebook has changed a handful of features to make the site more friendly to the gay and lesbian community. In 2011 the platform added civil unions and domestic partnerships to its list of types of relationships. The following year the platform updated its "marriage icons" so that gay couples can show two men or two women holding hands on the top of a wedding cake. Personally, Zuckerberg has also come out in favor of marriage equality.

But activists contend that Zuckerberg's friendship with Chris Christie exposes a double standard in his politics. In the last few days, hundreds have joined the #UnfriendChristie campaign on Twitter. Many are arguing “friends don’t let friends veto equality,” but others have taken up the hashtag to denounce the governor for other anti-democratic issues, such as his attacks on workers and unions.

Laura Gottesdiener is a freelance journalist and the author of "A Dream Foreclosed: Black America and the Fight for a Place to Call Home," forthcoming from Zuccotti Park Press.