Same-Sex Marriages to Start Oct. 21 in NJ [POLL/AUDIO]
A judge on Thursday denied the Christie administration's motion to delay the start of same-sex marriage in New Jersey. The administration has appealed, but if a stay isn't granted, gay couples can apply for a marriage license starting Oct. 21, and in some cases get married.
Typically couples must wait three days to get married after getting the license, but in certain instances the marriage can take place immediately.
"The way the decision is actually written, at midnight on the 21st marriage licenses can start to be issued," said Troy Stevenson, executive director of Garden State Equality. "However, special dispensation can be given in certain jurisdictions. There will be places where people will be getting married on the 21st. The city has got to make a special dispensation, a special case, and it only happens in very rare circumstances and this would be one of them."
The Christie Administration is now asking the state appeals court to overturn yesterday's ruling while it also continues to ask the state Supreme Court to take up the case immediately. Gov. Chris Christie made his position clear in the gubernatorial debate Tuesday night against his Democratic challenger Sen. Barbara Buono.
"I believe that the institution of marriage for 2,000 years is between a man and a woman, and if we're going to change that core definition of marriage, I don't think that should be decided by 121 politicians in Trenton or seven judges on the Supreme Court," said Christie. "It should be decided by the 8.8 million people of New Jersey, and if they do decide to change the definition of marriage by referendum then I will support that law and enforce that part of the constitution with the same vigor that I've done for the last four years with every other part."
A slew of Democrats, including Buono were quick to respond to yesterday's court decision.
"Governor Christie remains firmly on the wrong side of history, steadfast in his commitment to blocking marriage equality in New Jersey," said Buono."It is time for Governor Christie to put New Jersey first and stop delaying marriage equality."
In her decision to deny the Christie Administration's request for a stay, Judge Mary Jacobson wrote that gay couples who want to marry would suffer many hardships of constitutional magnitude if the stay were to be issued. She also wrote that the state hasn't demonstrated how it would suffer in any meaningful way if the order is enforced.
"While this is an amazing decision, it is far from over," said Stevenson. "We still must fight on both fronts, the legislative route and the courts. The fastest way to win this year is still to pass marriage equality through the Legislature. This could be taken away at any time until there's an absolute, definitive decision by the court."