New Jersey became the 14th state to officially legalize homosexual marriage October 21, days after the state Supreme Court ruled that an attempt to block a lower court ruling requiring same-sex marriage to move forward would have no chance of success. On September 27, Superior Court Judge Mary Jacobson ordered the state to begin permitting same-sex marriages, ruling that the state's refusal to recognize homosexual pairings as marriage violated the equal protections clause of the state's constitution. On October 10 Jacobson refused to suspend enforcement of her order while it was appealed to a higher court.
Baptist Press News reported that as counties processed marriage licenses for homosexual couples, the state Supreme Court denied an appeal, led by Governor Chris Christie (shown in photo), of the lower court order, ruling that the appeal had no “reasonable probability of success.” As homosexual couples began exchanging vows at city halls and liberal-minded churches across the state, the governor threw in the towel on legal maneuverings to stop the process.
Christie's office said in a statement that the governor had advised his attorney general to drop the state's appeal of the lower court decision in the lawsuit entitled Garden State Equality v. Paula Dow. The statement said that the high court's chief justice, Stuart Rabner, “left no ambiguity about the unanimous court’s view on the ultimate decision in this matter when he wrote, ‘same-sex couples who cannot marry are not treated equally under the law today.' Although the governor strongly disagrees with the Court substituting its judgment for the constitutional process of the elected branches or a vote of the people, the Court has now spoken clearly as to their view of the New Jersey Constitution and, therefore, same-sex marriage is the law.”
Chief Justice Rabner wrote in the 7-0 decision that while the state had “advanced a number of arguments … none of them overcome[s] this reality: same-sex couples who cannot marry are not treated equally under the law today. The harm to them is real, not abstract or speculative.”
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