A Superior Court Judge in Mercer County ruled that New Jersey officials must begin officiating same sex marriages by October 21, according to a report in The Star Ledger.
Superior Court Judge Mary Jacobson granted an emergency request by six gay couples, ordering state officials to begin officiating same-sex marriages on Oct. 21.
“The ineligibility of same-sex couples for federal benefits is currently harming same-sex couples in New Jersey in a wide range of contexts,” she wrote.
For example, the judge said, “civil union partners who are federal employees living in New Jersey are ineligible for marital rights with regard to the federal pension system, all civil union partners who are employees working for businesses to which the Family and Medical Leave Act applies may not rely on its statutory protections for spouses, and civil union couples may not access the federal tax benefits that married couples enjoy.”
Jacobson was asked to square the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in June striking down the Defense of Marriage Act with New Jersey’s own legal precedents.
Governor Christie’s press office declined to say, on the phone, if Judge Jacobson’s decision would be appealed. They said a statement might be emailed to the press later today. UPDATE: The Christie administration will appeal Jacobson’s ruling.
Judge Jacobson’s decision can be viewed here: