UPDATE: Gov. Chris Christie's office filed an emergency appeal with the New Jersey Supreme Court late Thursday, asking for a stay on marriage equality in the state, after a local judge denied Christie's appeal of a September ruling declaring that same-sex couples must be permitted to begin marrying by October 21.
The emergency petition asks the court to delay marriage equality in the Garden State until a court can resolve Christie's appeal, reports the Associated Press.
Judge Mary Jacobson, who issued the September ruling that declared New Jersey must allow same-sex couples to begin marrying by October 21, denied a request from the Republican governor to delay the implementation of her ruling while the governor's appeal works its way through the state court system, according to the AP.
"Granting a stay 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," Jacobson wrote, according to the AP. Jacobson also denied the request because, she wrote, she doesn't believe the state is likely to win its appeal, and embracing marriage equality would not harm the state of New Jersey.
Jacobson cited the U.S. Supreme Court's June 26 ruling in U.S. v. Windsor in her original ruling, finding that New Jersey could not legally deny the benefits of marriage to same-sex spouses now that the federal government has made those benefits available to all legally married couples, regardless of jurisdiction.
Thirteen states, including most of the Northeast and the District of Columbia, allow same-sex couples to marry. New Jersey allows same-sex couples to enter into civil unions, and in 2012 passed a marriage equality bill out of both chambers of the state legislature with bipartisan support. But Christie vetoed that bill in February of last year, saying he believes the issue should be decided by New Jersey voters.