Gay activists are counting on three major states to go their way on the issue of gay marriage to deliver a powerful and populous message that Americans respect the civil rights of gay men and lesbians. One of the those states is New Jersey (the other two are New York and California), where governor Jon Corzine has promised to back gay marriage.

Corzine says gay marriage is a “fundamental right” and has promised to back a gay marriage bill, after he's elected to a second term.

Amid a quickly shifting political climate, will gay voters continue to buy a political promise to act as being gay friendly?

Should gay activists succeed in adding New Jersey, New York and California to the list of states legalizing gay marriage, a quarter of all Americans would live in gender neutral marriage states. Making New Jersey an enticing carrot for gay marriage backers.

But growing discontent with President Obama's hesitation to make good on promises he made during the campaign to the LGBT community increasingly threatens to spread to other Democratic leaders. The risk of a political backlash against Democrats perceived as all mouth and no trousers on gay issues appears increasingly likely as Obama fails to quell a rising uproar.

Gay activists have already dismantled the LGBT Leadership Council's Thursday fundraiser for the DNC to protest the Obama administration's defense of the Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA, the 1996 law that allows states to ignore legal marriages performed in other states and defines marriage as a heterosexual union for federal agencies. Gay activists mounted a relentless attack on the president's record on gay rights last week (even as he signed new federal gay benefits) and urged gay donors to skip the $1,000-a-plate minimum event that features Vice President Joe Biden. As the president remained mum on the DOMA defense, donors fled.

Last Sunday, Corzine appeared at Asbury Park Gay Pride, signaling he would make gay marriage a key issue in his reelection campaign.

“This is fundamental,” he said standing in front of a giant gay pride flag. “It is about what we are about as a country. What we're about as a people. Human rights, civil rights, are absolutely key. In God's eyes we're all one people, and we need to recognize that and behave that way.”

The governor, however, has not always behaved that way.

When he ran for the seat in 2005 he said he held that “the fundamental and traditional view of marriage is between a man and a woman.”

He signed a civil unions bill in 2006, calling it a “proud” moment, but made it clear that he believed marriage was reserved for heterosexual couples.

“That is not where my personal views are because I was brought up in the context of religious beliefs that would define marriage as between a man and a woman,” he told the Star-Ledger of Newark.

Corzine says he has evolved on the issue, and his campaign featured the Asbury Park Gay Pride speech prominently on the governor's Facebook page.

Corzine's opponent Republican Chris Christie has also moved his message closer to the middle. During the primary, Christie said he would “be in favor of a constitutional amendment on the ballot so that voters, not judges, would decide this important social question [gay marriage].” That threat has since boiled down to: “I have no issue with same sex couples sharing contractual rights, but I believe that marriage should remain the exclusive domain of one man and one woman.”

If gay activists are willing to turn off the gay money spigot that fills DNC coffers over Democrats that appear duplicitous on gay rights, then will office holders like Corzine – who speak eloquently on gay rights but have yet to deliver – need to met a higher standard than mere promises to win over gay voters?

The issue is certain to heat up in the fall.