A New Jersey judge on Thursday refused to delay her ruling legalizing gay marriage 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 decision until the matter is resolved.

Christie is expected to appeal Jacobson's order, the AP reported.

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

She also wrote that a delay was not needed because the state was unlikely to win its appeal.

“[T]he state has not demonstrated how it would suffer in any meaningful way if the order is enforced,” she wrote.

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.

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.

“The court's decision once again confirms that the hardships of not being able to marry are real and immediate. Every day does count,” Hayley Gorenberg of Lambda Legal is quoted as saying by the AP.

(Related: Chris Christie insists he trusts New Jersey voters on gay marriage.)