One of these candidates appears to have an awareness of how quickly the gay rights debate is moving, and what that political landscape will like in four years. Governor Christie has appointed a gay man to the state supreme court.
It's a move that doesn't force him to come out of the closest to his party as not a bigot. But, in four years, when he's running for President, it will give him cover on this issue. He will be able to claim during the general election, that he always believed in whatever level of rights he is proposing as part of his platform (something calculatingly moderate, like believing gay marriage and adoption is a question of states' rights, and that the federal government shouldn't be involved at all).
I think this news story demonstrates that smart politicians know full well where the gay rights debate is headed, and how fast it's getting there. Now that Don't Ask Don't Tell has been repealed, and absolutely none of the world ending scenarios predicted by the conservatives have come to pass, the credibility of the anti-rights individuals is evaporating quickly.
When we're told that gay marriages, or gay parents, will result in a world where cats chase dogs and babies steal our candy, it will be even less believable than it already was.
Smart politicians like Christie know this, and they know they need to plan for the future.