New Jersey governor Chris Christie has promised to veto any gay marriage law that crosses his desk. Remember, this guy is on every shortlist for Republican vice presidential material:

See, as part of his push to have New Jersey voters vote on gay marriage in a referendum (so that he doesn't have to be on the record vetoing or not vetoing gay marriage) Christie said: "The fact of the matter is, I think people would have been happy to have a referendum on civil rights rather than fighting and dying in the streets in the South." But would they have?

Newark mayor Cory Booker, to name just one of a chorus of Christie critics, certainly didn't agree with the sentiment. "I shudder to think what would have happened if the civil rights gains, heroically established by courageous lawmakers in the 1960s, were instead conveniently left up to popular votes in our 50 states," he said.

But Christie isn't backing down...

This is a remarkable statement. Usually, when you tie gay marriage to the civil rights movement, Republicans run in the other direction, diminishing marriage into something smaller and more specific than a right. But Christie is running headlong into the argument, saying that we did civil rights wrong in the first place. (Can you imagine? They'd probably still be trying to pass a civil rights referendum in Mississippi.) It shouldn't be surprising at this point, but it is. Somehow, Christie manages to say what every Republican is thinking, and he gets away with it every time. The worst part is that Christie emboldens other Republicans to repeat what he says as a fact; I'm willing to bet that other conservatives will soon pick up this "Civil rights should have been a state's rights issue" idea and run wild with it.