N.J. Judge Mary Jacobson ruled today that, beginning October 21, same-sex couples can marry in the Garden State. She cited the U.S. Supreme Court’s June 26 ruling in United States v. Windsor as justification for her decision.
"This unequal treatment requires that New Jersey extend civil marriage to same-sex couples to satisfy equal protection guarantees of the New Jersey Constitution as interpreted by the New Jersey Supreme Court in Lewis," Jacobson wrote. "Same-sex couples must be allowed to marry in order to obtain equal protection of the law under the New Jersey Constitution."
The ruling was in response to a suit by six gay couples, who argued that the state should recognize civil unions as marriages, giving them access to federal benefits. If the decision is not appealed, New Jersey will become the 14th state to embrace marriage equality.
As the New York Times noted: This is the first time a court has struck down a state ban on same-sex marriage as a direct result of the Supreme Court’s ruling, and "it comes as Gov. Chris Christie continues to oppose allowing gay marriage in the state." Christies’s office said it would appeal but has declined to say whether it would also seek to prevent same-sex weddings from beginning on Oct. 21, as the judge ordered.