Today a judge refused to delay the start of same-sex marriage in New Jersey until a legal appeal can be settled, denying efforts by Gov. Chris Christie’s administration to put off gay weddings. As it stands, the state must grant marriage licenses for same-sex couples starting Oct. 21. But the administration of Christie, a Republican who is considered a possible presidential candidate for 2016, was expected to appeal the denial of the stay to a higher court.

“Granting a stay would simply allow the state to continue to violate the equal protection rights of New Jersey same-sex couples, which can hardly be considered a public interest,” Judge Mary Jacobson wrote.


Christie’s administration has already asked the state Supreme Court to weigh in on an earlier ruling by Jacobson, who ruled then that the state had to allow gay marriage. Jacobson also ruled Thursday that the start of nuptials did not have to be delayed, finding the state was not likely to win its appeal and that it would not hurt the state if same-sex marriage licenses are issued.

Gay couples who want to wed “would suffer many hardships of constitutional magnitude if the stay were to be issued, but the state has not demonstrated how it would suffer in any meaningful way if the order is enforced,” she wrote.

Garden State Equality Executive Director Troy Stevenson says, “While this is an amazing decision, it is far from over. We still must fight on both fronts, the legislative route and the courts. The fastest way to win this year is still to pass marriage equality through the Legislature.”

New Jersey United For Marriage Campaign Manager Mike Premo issued the following statement today on the Superior Court’s ruling regarding same-sex couples getting married beginning October 21:

“This is a historic moment for all loving and committed couples in New Jersey. The fact that those who have waited so long for this moment can get married in just 11 days is truly amazing and something to be celebrated.

“While we highly anticipate the weddings to come, we must not, however, lose sight of what still needs to be accomplished. At any moment, the court can step in and put a halt to all this, temporarily or permanently. The safest, surest, quickest route to marriage equality still remains with the Legislature. We have seen the momentum for this effort continue to build and build over the last few weeks. Moreover, the court’s decision that only marriage creates true equality reaffirms the fact that lawmakers who support marriage equality will have their feet firmly planted on the right side of history.

“We can’t stop now. NJUM will continue to work on a legislative remedy and is certain that we will have marriage equality by January.”

Thirteen states, including most in the Northeast, already legally recognizes same-sex marriage. New Jersey offers gay couples civil unions but not marriage. 

Photo source: Garden State Equality