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Yesterday Governor Chris Christie was in the studio with MSNBC's Morning Joe hosts. One of two topics they discussed was his recent veto of the New Jersey gay marriage bill. Christie previously stated his opposition arises from his belief that we should not change a tradition that has existed for hundreds of years. Although he did not reiterate that this morning, he simply stated that he supports civil unions. He went on to say that the problems gays and lesbians have encountered with civil union status could be addressed by appointing an ombudsman to intervene when necessary.
Christie also discussed his preference for a referendum on the subject and vehemently suggested that New Jersey's Democratic leadership oppose a referendum because they are afraid that it will not pass (Recent polls indicated that the majority of New Jerseyans support same-sex marriage). Christie isn't convinced and is essentially saying, "Prove it." Additionally, he said that he has the exact same position on gay marriage as President Obama. A few years ago Obama said that he did not support gay marriage but rather civil unions; however, recently he stated his position as "evolving."
Then the show became really entertaining. Jonathan Capehart, Washington Post columnist, just happened to be in the studio for another show and heard Christie's remarks. Capehart is openly gay and his emotional reaction to Christie's referendum comments compelled the Morning Joe hosts to invite him on camera. He came on camera and immediately asserted that Christie does not share the same position as the President and stated, "The key difference between you and the President is that while you support putting the civil rights of a minority up for a public referendum, the President is not in favor of that." Zing! That was just the beginning of a very contentious exchange between the two men. Christie went on to accuse the President of wanting to have it both ways and essentially called him out to make his exact position known. Capehart kept trying to pry an answer from Christie as to whether he would have similarly called for a referendum pre-1964 on black civil rights, but as both men tried to talk over each other, Christie finally put a stop to it by saying that he refused to be cross-examined by Capehart.
Let's break down some of Christie's salient points. He wants to keep