An attempt by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie to stop same-sex marriages from going ahead in his state has been thwarted.
On Friday, the New Jersey Supreme Court unanimously declined Christie’s request for a stay of a lower court’s ruling that civil marriage licenses be granted to same-sex couples beginning today, October 21st.
The governor had argued that the matter should be decided by the state’s voters and not by the courts.
The unanimous ruling by the court confirmed that the issue at stake was simply one 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,” said the court in its judgment. “The harm to them is real, not abstract or speculative.”
While the matter is expected to be heard in the courts again in January, a number of same-sex couples eager to finally tie the knot took advantage of the latest ruling and were married just after midnight early on Monday morning.
In reaction, Governor Christie’s office released a statement confirming that he would abide by the ruling.
“The Supreme Court has made its determination. 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.”
Human Rights Campaign (HRC) president Chad Griffin welcomed the ruling. “The New Jersey Supreme Court has sent a momentous and vital message to the entire country.
“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,” said Griffin.