New Jersey

New Jersey gay couples can marry within days

State Supreme Court agrees to allow same-sex marriages Monday

TRENTON, N.J. - Gay couples in New Jersey will be able to marry within days.

 On Friday, the New Jersey Supreme Court upheld a lower-court judge's ruling that same-sex weddings must be allowed starting Monday.

The unanimous ruling from the Court considered it  a matter of equality:

"The state has advanced a number of arguments, but none of them overcome 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."

The Supreme Court denied a request from Gov. Chris Christie's administration to delay the weddings.

Christie had wanted the weddings delayed while the state Supreme Court decides the broader question of whether same-sex marriage should be legal.

The court will hear arguments on that in January, on a case brought by Garden State Equality and Lambda Legal on behalf of seven New Jersey same-sex couples.

In the meantime, some couples plan quick weddings.

Lambertville Mayor David DelVecchia says he expects to perform the first ceremony as soon as it's legal. He also led the first civil union ceremony in the state in 2007 between the same couple, Beth Asaro and Joanne Schailey.

"The New Jersey Supreme Court has sent a momentous and vital message to the entire country," said Chad Griffin, president of the Washington-based Human Rights Campaign.

"No government should stand in the way of committed and loving couples seeking to marry. And I have no doubt that when this case is resolved on the merits, marriage equality will come to the Garden State permanently."

"The Supreme Court has made its determination," said a spokesman for the state governor in a statement.  "While the governor firmly believes that this determination should be made by all the people of the State of New Jersey, he has instructed the Department of Health to cooperate with all municipalities in effectuating the order of the Superior Court under the applicable law."

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Allentown, PA 18102




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