Writing at Slate.com, Nathaniel Frank, author of Unfriendly Fire, describes New Jersey Governor Chris Christie's legal opposition to gay marriage as “nonsense.”

Frank calls a recent brief filed by the Christie administration defending the state's 2006 Civil Union Act “the most incoherent defense of heterosexual supremacy yet.”

“You'd think an aspiring president would take the task more seriously.”

The case involves six gay couples who are challenging the state's law limiting marriage to heterosexual unions. It was filed in 2011 under the claim that civil unions fail to satisfy a 2006 New Jersey Supreme Court ruling declaring that gay couples are entitled to the same rights and benefits that married heterosexual couples enjoy.

After the Supreme Court in June eviscerated a key provision of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), requiring that the federal government recognize the legal marriages of gay couples, lawyers for the plaintiffs moved for summary judgment, asking the judge to skip a trial scheduled for later this year and issue a ruling.

“What's most striking” about the brief, Frank writes, “is that every last argument Christie's administration makes, it then proceeds to blatantly contradict.”

Frank zooms in on the “bizarre argument that it's the feds who are depriving gays of equality rather than the state.”

“Because the Civil Union Act intended to treat gay and straight couples equally, the brief argues, now that DOMA is dead, the federal government should give civil union partners full benefits 'because they are spouses.' The trouble is, New Jersey did not intend to treat gay couples equally. If it did, it would have actually made them spouses, granting them access to marriage – to the word itself.”

“The contradictions continue: Precedent, says the brief, also requires a court to exercise 'maximum caution' in intervening where 'highly significant policy considerations' are involved. Therefore the New Jersey courts should not invalidate New Jersey's law. But the state's entire position is that there is no policy consideration at issue. There's no material difference between civil unions and marriage, just a distinction in name only – and names don't matter. Why shouldn't the court act, then?”