New Jersey Governor: One judge should not force state to recognise equal marriage

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New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s administration has argued against a decision last month by a judge to say that she should not alone be allowed to force the state to recognise equal marriage.

New Jersey Judge Mary Jacobson last month 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 be allowed to take place from 21 October.

The administration of Governor Chris Christie has appealed the decision at the state Supreme Court, also asking Judge Jacobson to place a stay on equal marriage until the court rules.

She declined the request on Thursday, saying in her opinion 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.”

Equal marriage advocates expressed joy at the ruling, which they said moves New Jersey closer to marriage equality.

After appealing the decision by Judge Jacobson, the state had until midday on Friday to lay out its response, according to NBC Philadelphia.

Governor Christie maintains that the decision should be made by referendum, rather than politicians, and his administration’s ruling said that the decision should not come down to one judge.

A poll, run by Rutgers-Eagleton in April, found that an overwhelming majority of New Jersey residents would want a referendum on the issue, and more than half have said they would support equal marriage.

Former cast-member of the popular Jersey Shore television series JWoww last week called the Governor “retarded” for continuing to fight against equal marriage in the state. She later apologised for her use of the word, but stood by her opinion of him.

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.