New Jersey to become 14th state in United States to legalize same-sex marriage
Same-sex couples can begin to be wed on Monday
A request to table the decision until January of next year was disregarded - and New Jersey's Supreme Court rules that same-sex marriages can begin being performed this week, as early as Monday. With this decision, New jersey has become the 14th state in the United States to legalize and recognize same-sex marriage.
The ruling is a big win for homosexual equivalency groups. A decision by a Mercer County judge ruled that same-sex couples in the state last month must be given the same rights as others in light of the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA.
Christie asked the New Jersey Supreme Court to halt the Mercer County ruling until the court heard the state's appeal in January. The court declared in its ruling that the state had "not shown a reasonable probability it will succeed on the merits.
"What is the public's interest in a case like this?" the Supreme Court's decision read. "Like (Mercer County) Judge Jacobson, we can find no public interest in depriving a group of New Jersey residents of their constitutional right to equal protection while the appeals process unfolds."
All seven judges strongly suggested they are prepared to accept same-sex marriage permanently in January. Polls have shown recently that about 60 percent of New Jersey residents believe same-sex marriage should be legal in the state.
Republican Christie says that he favors the idea of civil unions, adding that any marriage initiative should be decided only by public referendum and not in the courts.
The idea for a referendum gained momentum last year, with 55 percent of New Jersey residents supporting one. A question was never added to the ballot.
The end of DOMA gave the case a legal edge, according to Hayley Gorenberg, a lawyer with Lambda Legal, which represented the plaintiffs in the recent state Supreme Court case.
"It wasn't until the Supreme Court of the United States ended (DOMA) that there was no longer any barrier to same-sex married couples having federal benefits, but because New Jersey doesn't allow people to get married, these couples weren't getting equality," she said.
While Governor Christie disagreed with the ruling, he says that he will comply with it.
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