And now there are 14 marriage equality states.
As of Monday, anyway. The New Jersey Supreme Court today declined to delay a lower court judge’s order that the state begin extending marriage rights to same-sex couples on that date, making Jersey the 14th state, plus the District of Columbia, with marriage equality.
However, those rights could be taken away — in January the high court will hear Gov. Chris Christie’s appeal of Superior Court Judge Mary Jacobson’s pro–marriage equality ruling.
Still, “the public interest does not favor a stay,” Chief Justice Stuart Rabner wrote in today’s unanimous decision, The Star-Ledger reports. “State officials shall therefore permit same-sex couples, who are otherwise eligible, to enter into civil marriage beginning on October 21, 2013.”
Earlier, Newark mayor and U.S. senator-elect Cory Booker and officials in other New Jersey cities said they were ready to wed same-sex couples beginning Monday.
Booker plans to start marrying gay and lesbian couples in Newark at 12:01 a.m. Monday, sources told BuzzFeed, and at least 10 couples are planning to take advantage of his offer. Booker retweeted the BuzzFeed article to his large Twitter following, CNN notes.
Jersey City mayor Steve Fulop said his city was ready to issue marriage licenses today in preparation for Monday, as did Asbury Park administrator Terence Reidy, according to The Star-Ledger.
Mercer County judge Jacobson ruled last month that in light of the U.S. Supreme Court’s June ruling striking down a key section of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, New Jersey could not deny equal marriage rights to same-sex couples, and she set Monday as the effective date. Christie’s administration filed an emergency appeal with the state Supreme Court, which it agreed to hear, with oral arguments set for January.