On October 18 the New Jersey Supreme Court has ruled in favor of granting same-sex marriage; New Jersey will become the 14th state to recognize same-sex marriage, in addition to the District of Columbia. It has been officially established that the state must begin to grant marriage licenses to gay couples, beginning Monday, October 21—aligning with Judge Mary Jacobsen’s September ruling.
Last month, Judge Jacobsen of State Superior Court in Mercer County ruled that since the United States federal government recognizes same-sex marriage, the state government in New Jersey would be in violation of the constitution by banning gay marriage. Jacobsen stated that by October 21 same-sex marriages should be legalized.
“The ineligibility of same-sex couples for federal benefits is currently harming same-sex couples in New Jersey in a wide range of contexts,” Jacobson wrote on September 27. “Same-sex couples must be allowed to marry in order to obtain equal protection of the law under the New Jersey Constitution.”
The administration of governor Chris Chirstie appealed the decision at the state Supreme Court, also asking Judge Jacobsen to place a stay on same-sex marriage until the state Supreme Court rulings. However, the judge declined the request on Thursday, stating that a delay “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.”
Christie had asked the New Jersey Supreme Court to freeze a state judge’s ruling legalizing same-sex marriage until it heard the case in January and make a final decision, but the court, in an unanimous ruling, found that the state had “not shown a reasonable probability it will succeed on the merits.”
Looks like that’s all settled.
Throughout the week, cities in the state of New Jersey had been issuing marriage licenses for same-sex couples, despite warning from the New Jersey health department directive. According to the department of health, officials were to wait on a Supreme Court ruling on the issue before moving forward.
“The issue of a stay is still not settled by the New Jersey Supreme Court,” Donna Leusner—Director of Communications for the Department of Health in New Jersey—told 429Magazine just hours prior to the state Supreme Court’s ruling in favor of same-sex marriage. “The State Registrar, Vincent Arrisi, is awaiting legal guidance.”
The United States Supreme Court’s ruling back in June banned the federal Defense of Marriage Act, meaning that the federal government must provide the same benefits to gay married couples as it does to heterosexual married couples. So far, fourteen US states and the District of Columbia allow gay couples to marry.