Indeed, amid all the weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth on the religious right, the GOP’s donor class quietly rejoiced that Christie — widely viewed as the golden boy of his party’s moderate, Northeastern, corporate establishment — had chosen to abandon this particular culture war battle. …

To this crowd, Christie was demonstrating sharp political skill and admirable pragmatism — not weak-willed squishiness — in his decision to politely reiterate his personal belief in “traditional marriage,” and then bow out of what would almost certainly be a long, tense, brand-damaging legal battle he was likely to lose.

“They would rather not see this issue on the table [in 2016],” said one high-level GOP fundraiser, speaking of the party’s New York donors. “They’re focused on economic issues and trying to win… I can see [Christie’s move] playing well to a great deal of them.”