New Jersey's Supreme Court ruled that the state must allow gay marriages to begin on Monday, even as governor Chris Christie prepares an appeal to a recent case clearing the way for same-sex marriage in the state. In response to the order, Christie issued a statement saying his office would, albeit unhappily, comply. That means, provisionally, that New Jersey is the 14th state to allow gay marriages.
"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," said Chief Justice Stuart Rabner's opinion. "The public interest does not favor a stay," he added. Read the full opinion here.
Newark mayor and Senator-elect Cory Booker confirmed on Twitter later Friday that he would marry couples at Newark City Hall on Monday:
Thanks to today's ruling on Marriage Equality: On Monday at 12:01 AM I'll be marrying both straight & gay couples in City Hall #JerseyStrong— Cory Booker (@CoryBooker) October 18, 2013
This is just the latest in a series of incremental rulings in New Jersey's progress towards gay marriage. And that progress could also be temporary: those rights are still pending the decision of the state Supreme Court, expected after Christie's administration mounts an appeal against a lower court's ruling in favor of same-sex couples earlier this year. That ruling ordered the state to start allowing gay marriages on Monday, October 21st, after agreeing that the state's civil unions do not provide equal benefits to gay couples in the wake of the Supreme Court's decision on the Defense of Marriage act. That decision opened up federal benefits to legally-married gay couples, but not to those in a civil union. Christie, who personally opposes gay marriage and believes the matter should be decided by referendum, wanted a stay on that decision while his administration worked on an appeal to the state Supreme Court. Two weeks ago, that stay was denied by the lower court. The Supreme Court agreed with that denial today.
The court won't make a final ruling on the issue until some time next year.