Trenton, NJ -
The New Jersey Supreme Court on Friday unanimously denied a request to delay a lower court's ruling legalizing gay marriage in New Jersey on Monday.
"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. "The harm to them is real, not abstract or speculative."
Superior Court Judge Mary Jacobson ruled on September 27 that the state must begin issuing marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples as of October 21.
Republican Governor Chris Christie appealed the order to the state Supreme Court and asked Jacobson to stay her decision until the matter is resolved. Jacobson denied the request, stating that the state was unlikely to win its appeal.
"Granting a stay would simply allow the state to violate the equal protection rights of New Jersey same-sex couples, which can hardly be considered a public interest," Jacobson wrote.
The high court has already agreed to hear an appeal in the case. Oral arguments are expected on January 6 or 7. But the court's Friday ruling signals a steep climb for opponents in arguing their case before the court.
New Jersey's three-day waiting period has led some cities to begin issuing marriage licenses on Friday.
At least two mayors have announced plans to marry couples on Monday: Lambertville Mayor David DelVecchio and Newark Mayor Cory Booker.