The New Jersey Supreme Court on Friday
unanimously denied a request to delay a lower court's ruling
legalizing gay marriage in New Jersey on Monday.
“The state has advanced a number of
arguments, but none of them overcome this reality: Same-sex couples
who cannot marry are not treated equally under the law today,” the
court said. “The harm to them is real, not abstract or
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. Jacobson denied the
request, stating that the state was unlikely to win its appeal.
“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,”
The high court has already agreed to
hear an appeal in the case. Oral arguments are expected on January 6
or 7. But the court's Friday ruling signals a steep climb for
opponents in arguing their case before the court.
New Jersey's three-day waiting period
has led some cities to begin issuing marriage licenses on Friday.
At least two mayors have announced
plans to marry couples on Monday: Lambertville Mayor David DelVecchio
and Newark Mayor Cory Booker.
Booker plans to marry 10 gay couples on Monday.)