Without question, marriage equality has come to New Jersey starting on Monday. After the New Jersey State Supreme Court refused to 'stay' a lower court ruling in favor of marriage equality, the writing was on the wall. A clear sign of the impact of the State Supreme Court decision was the reaction of Governor Chris Christie.
He issued a statement:
"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,"
By ordering the Department of Health to make sure there is a smooth transition into marriage equality ensures that marriage equality in the Garden State is here to stay. The Governor issued no statement that he was appealing anything to the United States Supreme Court.
Even though the State Supreme Court will still hear the marriage equality case in January it made its intentions clear. The Associated Press reported:
Same-sex marriages will begin within days in New Jersey after the state's highest court ruled unanimously Friday to uphold a lower-court order that gay weddings must start Monday and to deny a delay that was sought by Gov. Chris Christie's administration.
"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 court said in an opinion by Chief Justice Stuart Rabner. "The harm to them is real, not abstract or speculative."
A judge on the lower court had ruled last month that New Jersey must recognize same-sex marriage and set Monday as the date to allow gay weddings. Christie, a Republican who is considered a possible 2016 presidential candidate, appealed the decision and asked for the start date to be put on hold while the state appeals.