A New Jersey judge on Friday was asked
by gay marriage supporters not to delay her order legalizing such
unions in the state.
Superior Court Judge Mary Jacobson
ruled on September 27 that the state must begin issuing marriage
licenses to gay and lesbian couples as of October 21.
Republican Governor Chris Christie
appealed the order to the state Supreme Court and asked Jacobson to
stay her order until the matter is resolved.
Garden State Equality, the state's
largest LGBT rights advocate, and Lambda Legal are representing six
gay couples and some of their children in the case.
“Every day that same-sex cannot marry
is a day that they do not have – and risk permanently losing –
vital benefits relating to their health, income, quality of life,
personal and financial security, and family stability,” wrote
Hayley Gorenberg, a lawyer for the plaintiffs. “In contrast, the
state asserts no real hardship at all.”
New Jersey is one of four states where
gay couples can enter a civil union, but not marriage – the other
three are Hawaii, Illinois and Colorado. Following a Supreme Court
decision in June which gutted much of the Defense of Marriage Act
(DOMA), the federal government started recognizing the unions of gay
couples in a marriage, leaving couples in a civil union at a distinct
disadvantage in terms of benefits.
Jacobson said that she would give the
state until Monday to reply to the group's brief.