New Jersey Supreme Court To Consider ‘Emergency’ Gay Marriage Appeal

SipIn response to Governor Chris Christie's "emergency" filing, appealing a lower court's decision to uphold Judge Mary Jacobson's ruling that same-sex marriage must be made legal in the Garden State following the destruction of section 3 of DOMA in United States v. Windsor earlier this year, the New Jersey state Supreme Court decided to consider the merits of the case in question and the request for a stay. If granted, the stay would prevent same-sex couples from marrying while the court decided whether to uphold or reverse Judge Jacobson's decision.

As the AP reports, in Christie's filing he argued that New Jersey's Supreme Court should consider the marriage equality case because no one judge should be allowed to make so momentous a decision:

"To overhaul such an ancient social institution prematurely,
precipitously, or in a manner ultimately deemed unnecessary would injure
not only the public interest, but the State that represents this
interest," the state attorney general's office said in its brief."

The decision on whether to stay Judge Jacobson's ruling is expected to happen "within days" so as determine whether same-sex couples can begin to marry starting October 21 as Jacobson had ordered. However, the court will not consider the merits of the marriage case itself until January.

Lambda Legal spoke out on the court's intervention:

"Time is of the essence and it's great the court is moving so quickly,"
said Hayley Gorenberg, Deputy Legal Director of Lambda Legal. "We are
looking forward to making our case at the New Jersey Supreme Court for
the families in New Jersey who need marriage to better protect their

UPDATE: You can find all the official court documents associated with the case HERE.


  1. Josh says

    So Christie is opposed to one judge making such a momentous decision, well how is that any different than one man (Christie) vetoing a same sex marriage law that was duly passed by majorities in both houses of the state legislature?

  2. woody says

    Christie is playing dirty.
    He denied tenure to NJ Supreme Court Justice Helen Hoens, a Corzine appointee. She was forced to step down today just as the court begins to consider his request.
    Now, Christie can appoint a replacement and try to stack the deck against us in the gay marriage appeal.

  3. Stefan says

    Hoens last day on the court is actually October 26th, so she will have a voice on whether or not the stay is granted.

    Here’s what I predict will happen. A stay will not be granted, which will ultimately push the legislature to override the veto and thus provide concrete religious exemptions in law.

  4. Stefan says

    She still will vote on whether or not to grant the stay though. It doesn’t matter who Christie appoints there is no way they will rule any other way. BTW the Senate has done a great job at blocking all but one of his appointments from getting sworn in.

  5. rick scatorum says

    Epitome of republican cheating, stealing, lying, anything to win. He’s an ashcroft protege.

    God bless our more evolved neighbors to the south in Delaware, who just legally married my husband and me today after 25 years together 😀

    Beautiful people

  6. says

    @Josh, exactly. Hilariously ironic that Christie complains about one judge making a decision when one man–he–is the only thing that prevented NJ from already having equality, saving all the time and money wasted on the court appeals.

    I hope, as Stefan predicts, a stay is not granted, so the Christie charade can stop, but if it is granted, NJ will still have marriage as soon as there are override votes or the NJ SC makes a final ruling. (To rule against marriage they’d basically have to contradict their 2006 ruling–mandating equal treatment for gay and straight couples–which isn’t going to happen post-DOMA no matter who’s on the Court.)

  7. anon says

    Christie can’t get any of his court appointments through the Senate because he’s locked in a power struggle with the Democratic leader there. He even tried to appoint a gay and pro-gay marriage justice, but couldn’t get the nominee even to a floor vote. So, it’s likely the remaining justices will hear the case and not any Christie appointees.

  8. NotSafeForWork says


    The Supreme Court of New Jersey already ruled on this issue in 2006 in Lewis v. Harris.

    “The court held that same-sex couples are entitled to the same equal protection as heterosexual couples under the state constitution. The court unanimously agreed that current state law is unconstitutional with respect to the equal protection of same sex couples.”

    The legistlature was given six months and ordered to create either civil unions or amend the marriage laws. They created civil unions and the governor at that time signed off.

    This case is an offshoot of that action, wherein the plaintiff(s) are arguing that even the new civil unions are unequal in light of recent SCOTUS decisions on DOMA and Prop 8.

    If the Supreme Court of New Jersey determined the state marriage law was unconstitutional and ordered either civil unions or full marriage in 2006, it’s doubtful they will have a different view now.

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