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.