The New Jersey Supreme Court has agreed to hear Gov. Chris Christie’s appeal of a lower court’s ruling ordering the state to allow same-sex marriages, and in the meantime it may stay the ruling, which would have allowed such marriages to begin October 21.
The high court accepted the case Friday and will hear oral arguments in January, according to a CBS News/Associated Press report. It skips the usual step of letting an appeals court hear the case first.
In a case brought by a group of couples plus advocacy organization Garden State Equality, New Jersey Superior Court judge Mary Jacobson ruled last month that in light of U.S. Supreme Court decisions affirming marriage equality, the state could not deny marriage rights to same-sex couples. New Jersey does allow civil unions. Christie, who has vetoed a marriage equality bill and said the matter should be decided by popular vote, argued in his appeal that a single judge should not make such a sweeping change in law.
Jacobson reiterated this week that marriages should begin October 21, but the state Supreme Court is expected to rule within two weeks whether to delay that.
Garden State Equality and the Christie administration that the case should be fast-tracked. “The question [of same-sex marriage] … should be decided sooner rather than later, given the significance of the issues raised,” lawyers for Garden State Equality wrote in a brief.