Where Will the First Wedding of an NJ Couple Happen? [AUDIO]
Last Thursday, a judge denied the Christie Administration's motion to delay the start of same-sex marriage in New Jersey.
The Administration appealed the same day, but if a stay isn't granted the state must start to allow gay couples to marry on Oct. 21. Exactly when the first marriage of a same-sex couple can actually take place is still uncertain, but one NJ mayor says he knows where it will take place.
The plaintive in the case says in certain instances the marriage can take place immediately. Lambertville mayor Dave DelVecchio isn't certain he can do that because typically couples must wait three days after getting the marriage license.
"If the (marriage) licenses become available of the 21st, then we will perform the ceremony on the 24th," explains DelVecchio. "If in fact we get the go ahead to perform the ceremony on the 21st we will perform on the ceremony on the 21st."
The plan says DelVecchio is for his office to be the setting for the first wedding of a same-sex couple in NJ and he plans to preside over the ceremony. He says if the marriage license process begins one week from today, clerks in Lambertville will start accepting applications at one second after midnight, Oct. 21.
"The way the decision is actually written, at midnight on the 21st marriage licenses can start to be issued," says Troy Stevenson, executive director of Garden State Equality, the plaintive in the case. "However, special dispensation can be given in certain jurisdictions. There will be places where people will be getting married on the 21st. The city has got to make a special dispensation, a special case and it only happens in very rare circumstances and this would be one of them."
Because of the uncertainty regarding any "dispensation," DelVeccho is in a holding pattern, but ready to act as soon as possible.
"We're still waiting for direction from the state registrar," explains the mayor. "Whenever we are given the go ahead we will go ahead. We think it sends a strong message that the city is open for business and we think it's the right thing to do."
Mayors across the state are still awaiting clarification about what happens and when it happens and many legal experts feel it might be wise not to expect anything to happen on the 21st because a stay is likely to be granted.
Gov. Chris Christie made his position on the issue clear in the gubernatorial debate last week against Democratic challenger Sen. Barbara Buono.
"I believe that the institution of marriage for 2,000 years is between a man and a woman, and if we're going to change that core definition of marriage, I don't think that should be decided by 121 politicians in Trenton or seven judges on the Supreme Court," said Christie. "It should be decided by the 8.8 million people of New Jersey, and if they do decide to change the definition of marriage by referendum then I will support that law and enforce that part of the constitution with the same vigor that I've done for the last four years with every other part."
In the meantime, people on both sides of the polarizing issue are watching and waiting to see what the courts do next.