A ruling by a New Jersey State Superior court judge on Thursday effectively ruled that same-sex marriage will be allowed in the state beginning on October 21st. The ruling from Judge Mary Jacobson is the latest in a series stemming from her ruling in late September that New Jersey must allow same-sex marriage in order for couple's to receive federal benefits.
On Thursday, Jacobson denied a request from the state to delay the weddings until the state, under the direction of Republican Governor Chris Christie, could launch an appeal. The judge wrote in her decision that, "There is no ‘public interest’ in depriving a class of New Jersey residents their constitutional rights while appellate review is pursued," and that, "On the contrary, granting a stay would simply allow the State to continue to violate the equal protection rights of New Jersey same-sex couples, which can hardly be considered a public interest."
Last June's decision by the Supreme Court that the Defense of Marriage Act was unconstitutional is central to Judge Jacobson's ruling, stating that not allowing gay marriage subsequently prevents certain citizens from being able to receive federal benefits that come with a marriage license. Jacobson wrote that the state failed to present a valid enough case for delaying same sex marriage and "simply cannot justify depriving plaintiffs and other same-sex couples of equality in the form of access to important federal marital benefits."
Christie's office has not issued a statement on the ruling yet, but they did immediately following the ruling ask the appellate court to grant a stay. The state legislature passed a same-sex marriage law in 2012 which was then vetoed by Christie, who wants come to a decision on the subject by referendum. The state has until January to override his veto.