New Jersey state: Equal marriage would cause ‘irreparable harm’ if allowed to go ahead

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The administration of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, on requesting that a judge place a stay on the issue of marriage licences to same-sex couples, said equal marriage would cause “irreparable harm” in  the state.

Judge Mary Jacobson on Friday ruled that because the US federal government now recognises same-sex marriage, the state government in New Jersey would violate its constitution by not doing so. She said same-sex marriages should take place from 21 October.

On asking Judge Jacobson to place a stay on equal marriage in the state until the Supreme Court rules, Christie’s administration said the state would suffer “irreparable harm”, if the judge “single-handedly, without guiding precedent and without input from the Supreme Court,” ruled in favour of equal marriage.

Writing to the Supreme Court of New Jersey on Monday, Attorney General John Hoffman cited “far reaching implications”, asking the court to reverse the decision.

The state Supreme Court does not normally rule unless an appeals court has made a decision in the case.

Hoffman has also appealed to Judge Jacobson to ask that a stay be placed on the issue of marriage licences in the state until the Supreme Court makes a ruling.

Democrats in the state have asked that Governor Christie give up his fight against equal marriage in the state, but have also said that if he does continue to do so, the top court is the place to decide the outcome.

The Governor has continually asserted that the issue of equal marriage should go to voters in a referendum, rather than the legislature or courts making a decision.

The US Supreme Court in June struck down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), and ruled that civil unions do not provide the same benefits as marriage.

Christie in June said the opposite, and that the strike-down of DOMA “was wrong”.

Back in February, Democrats in the New Jersey legislature said they would attempt to override Governor Chris Christie’s equal marriage veto from last year, and have now agreed to put the question of marriage equality to voters in November, if they cannot override it.

Alongside Pennsylvania, New Jersey was the only north east state where same-sex marriage is not legal.