New Jersey Prepares For Gay Marriage [VIDEO]
Clergy and couples are preparing for the first gay marriages in New Jersey that can begin on Monday morning at 12:01 a.m.
The New Jersey State Supreme Court on Friday unanimously voted not to delay the start of gay marriages, upholding an earlier ruling and denying an emergency request for a stay by the Christie administration.
Governor Chris Christie has ordered the Department of Health to comply with the order and to offer guidance to towns in issuing licenses.
Jersey Shore star J Woww, who has had harsh words for Christie regarding his stance on gay marriage tweeted her happiness over the court's decision but couldn't help getting a dig in at the governor.
City halls in several New Jersey cities and towns are adding extra office hours over the weekend to accept marriage license applications now that same-sex marriage has been given the green light by the state's highest court.
Jersey City is opening its clerk's office from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, and Hoboken City Hall will be open Saturday from 10 a.m. to 12:45 p.m.
The City of Asbury Park is also holding Saturday hours, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., for those looking to complete a marriage license application.
"It's a great day to be gay in New Jersey," Asbury Park City Councilwoman Amy Quinn, told WNBC at a celebration at the headquarters of Garden State Equality on Friday night.. Quinn is planning to marry Heather Jensen, her partner of 10 years, on Monday.
"Monday at 12:01 finally couples throughout this state will have the dignity of marriage," Troy Stevenson, executive director of Garden State Equality, told the crowd to applause according to the Star Ledger.
Chief Justice Stuart Rabner wrote on Friday that the state has not shown that it is likely to prevail in the case, though it did present some reasons not to marriage to move forward now. “But when a party presents a clear case of unequal treatment, and asks the court to vindicate constitutionally protected rights, a court may not sidestep its obligation to rule for an indefinite amount of time,” he wrote. “Under these circumstances, courts do not have the option to defer.”
The Christie Administration is complying with the ruling and has not filed for any further delays.
The state Supreme Court also agreed to hear an appeal of the legality of gay marriage in New Jersey in January but it's likely that ruling will be upheld as well. “This is a foregone conclusion,” Frank Askin, director of the Constitutional Rights Clinic at the Rutgers School of Law in Newark told the Bergen Record. “They’re going to affirm the decision.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.