New Jersey's top court on Friday agreed to hear an appeal on a case legalizing gay marriage in the state.

The case involves six gay and lesbian couples and some of their children who say that the state's civil union law unfairly burdens them and other gay couples in the state who cannot access federal benefits following the fall of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in June.

Last month, Superior Court Judge Mary Jacobson agreed, ruling that New Jersey must begin issuing marriage licenses to gay couples as of October 21.

Republican Governor Chris Christie appealed the order to the Supreme Court and asked Jacobson to stay her decision until the matter is resolved. On Thursday, Jacobson denied the request, saying that the state was unlikely to win its appeal. Christie in turn filed an emergency appeal to the state Supreme Court, saying that the decision should not be up to one judge.

“It is in the public interest that such a profound change, if it is to occur, take place not because a single judge – no matter how diligent, thoughtful, and thorough – ordered it, but rather because the Supreme Court, the ultimate arbiter, has deemed it necessary,” the AP quoted the state's brief as saying. “To overhaul such an ancient social institution prematurely, precipitously, or in a manner ultimately deemed unnecessary would injure not only the public interest, but the State that represents this interest.”

The court is expected to decide within the next week whether to delay Jacobson's order and oral arguments in the case will be held January 6 or 7.

Udi Ofer, director of the New Jersey chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), told the AP that the court's decision to review the case “makes it even more pressing for the Legislature to act immediately to make marriage equality the law.”

Christie last year vetoed a marriage law approved by lawmakers. Supporters have spent much of this year searching for votes to override the governor's veto but time is running short. The deadline to have a vote is January 14 and supporters remain 10 votes (7 in the House, 3 in the Senate) shy from their goal.