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A New Jersey Superior court judge denied a request from Gov. Chris Christie’s administration to delay same-sex marriages in the state, which was ordered to start granting same-sex marriage licenses on Oct. 21. The administration had hoped for the delay while it appears to the state Supreme 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 said today, reports The Associated Press. Jacobson said last month that the state had to start granting same-sex marriage licenses after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the Defence of Marriage Act.
NJ.com reports that the administration responded to Jacobson’s ruling by requesting a delay from the state Appeallete Court. It will continue seeking an appeal from the state Supreme Court as well.
“The 'harm' (the state) alleges simply cannot justify depriving plaintiffs and other same-sex couples of equality in the form of access to important federal marital benefits,” Jacobson wrote in her 17-page ruling today.
Christie is currently running for re-election and has said previously that the subject of same-sex marriage should be left up to the voters to decide.
“It should be decided by the 8.8 million people of New Jersey, and if they do decide to change the definition of marriage by referendum then I will support that law and enforce that part of the constitution with the same vigor that I've done for the last four years with every other part,” Christie said during a debate on Tuesday.
Thirteen states now allow same-sex marriage, while New Jersey currently allows for civil unions. In September, Jacobson said that not allowing same-sex marriage was unconstitutional as if denies New Jersey same-sex couples of the legal benefits of marriage.