Same-sex marriages begin in New Jersey; Christie drops appeal

October 21, 2013


Update: Gov. Christie’s office has said it will drop its appeal in the case.

Gay couples waited until just past midnight Sunday to formally get married in towns across New Jersey, after the state Supreme Court refused to delay a judge’s ruling that the state could begin performing same-sex marriages.

At ceremonies around the state, elected officials performed weddings in city halls, on boardwalks and in private homes. In Newark, Mayor Cory Booker presided over nine weddings that began just after midnight.

New Jersey became the 14th state to allow same-sex couples to wed after Superior Court Judge Mary Jacobson ruled in late September that denying marriage rights would be unconstitutional. Lawyers representing six couples said they would be denied more than 1,000 federal benefits if New Jersey didn’t recognize their unions. On Friday, the state Supreme Court said it saw no reason to delay that ruling.

Gov. Chris Christie’s (R) administration said Monday it will drop its appeal.

“Although the Governor strongly disagrees with the Court substituting its judgment for the constitutional process of the elected branches or a vote of the people, the Court has now spoken clearly as to their view of the New Jersey Constitution and, therefore, same-sex marriage is the law. The Governor will do his constitutional duty and ensure his Administration enforces the law as dictated by the New Jersey Supreme Court,” Christie’s office said in a statement Monday.

The state legislature, controlled by Democrats, passed legislation earlier this year to legalize gay marriage, but Christie vetoed that bill, arguing that voters should decide whether gay couples should be granted the right to legally marry in the state. Democrats had hinted they were getting closer to the number of votes they needed to override Christie’s veto in a special session later this year.

On Sunday, Essex County Superior Court Judge Patricia Costello signed an order waiving a 72-hour waiting period New Jersey mandates between obtaining a marriage license and getting married, meaning gay couples wouldn’t have to wait to tie the knot.

Reid Wilson covers state politics and policy for the Washington Post's GovBeat blog. He's a former editor in chief of The Hotline, the premier tip sheet on campaigns and elections, and he's a complete political junkie.
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Reid Wilson · October 20, 2013