As a federal prosecutor, he put away 130 public officials in a state notorious for corruption and mayhem. In his first year as governor, he brought down the public-employee unions that held the state budget and taxpayers hostage.

And on the eve of a blowout reelection, the fearless New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has chosen to expose a different kind of public enemy: the mob-like intimidation racket trying to bully the Garden State into inverting the meaning of marriage.

But the outspoken governor’s willingness to defend a fundamental social institution by appealing a lone Superior Court judge’s invalidation of the state’s definition of wedlock is putting him in the battle of his life.

Christie is not simply challenging the imperial courts. He’s also fighting against the most powerful forces in the country: the news media, Hollywood and the high-tech moguls of Silicon Valley. Yes, the glitterati are equally committed as the courts to the marginalization of the American family headed by a mom and dad.

Indeed, fully delinking marriage from motherhood and fatherhood fits neatly with their goal of powering down America in every way: rusticating her energy and manufacturing sectors through environmental regulations and globalization, flooding an anemic job market with low-wage immigrants, and the Malthusian downsizing of the population through abortion-on-demand.

There is no disputing that America’s best days were the decades before the adversarial class sowed the seeds of national malaise by chipping away at proven social norms, putting no-fault divorce legislation on the fast track and inventing an constitutional right to abortion.

These “reforms” during the 1970s helped trigger the unraveling of Middle America not only through permanent decreases in marriage and fertility rates but also via elevated divorce and out-of-wedlock birth rates.

These same cronies now want to remake matrimony into a genderless or sexless bond. Even the anthropologist Margaret Mead recognized that the chief purpose of wedlock is to establish fatherhood and connect men — the weakest link in the family chain — to mothers and their children.

Advocates may think same-sex marriage is a civil right. But the fundamental injustice today is the near majority of children who are denied what they need most of all to succeed in life: married mothers and fathers.

As he endeavors to revive New Jersey, Christie has surely seen the outworking of this ominous agenda in California, where the Democrats have turned the 20th-century model of the American Dream into a downwardly mobile state that demographer Joel Kotkin says now resembles a third-world country.

The latest step in the process was the refusal of the governor and attorney general to defend a duly enacted constitutional amendment defining matrimony as the conjugal union of one man and one woman.

That maneuver gave the U.S. Supreme Court a convenient excuse to allow Proposition 8’s nullification.

In standing tall where California officials slinked back, Christie is finding himself hemmed in on all sides by privileged elites who will stop at nothing to get their way, working through compliant courts to void duly enacted laws and constitutional provisions that preserve marriage as a child-centered institution.

The state Superior Court judge has employed the same bully tactics, showing no deference to democratic channels while demanding that same-sex marriage be established immediately, even before the governor’s appeal is heard by the state Supreme Court, a clear effort to game the outcome.

The U.S. Supreme Court’s rant this summer demonizing supporters of conventional marriage law make’s Christie’s stand more difficult.

Its equal-protection ruse provided a basis for the Superior Court’s decision and might persuade the state High Court to deny a stay.

If that’s the case, might the tough-as-nails former prosecutor’s abundant courage extend to refusing to execute the decision of local judge statewide until the New Jersey Supremes have their say?

If Christie can stay the course and prevail, his popularity across party lines — and record of putting public bullies in their place — could be a game-changer.

By preventing marriage from being rent asunder by the same crowd who wants his state to look like California, Christie would offer new hope not only for the Garden State but also for America.

Robert W. Patterson, a New Jersey native, served in the administrations of President George W. Bush and Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett.