Gov. Christie Drops Appeal of Same-Sex Marriage Noting His Duty to Uphold the Law

Gov. Chris Christie abandoned his appeal of a State Superior Court judge’s ruling to legalize same-sex marriages in New Jersey putting an end to a long-fought battle in the State – at least for now. (1)

The Governor’s decision to drop his appeal was announced just hours after the first same-sex couples exchanged vows to celebrate a State Supreme Court decision to uphold the lower court’s ruling, on a provisional basis, granting gay and lesbian couples the right to marry, effective 12:01 a.m. on October 21. The Court is expected to make a final ruling sometime next year.

Gov. Christie, who has long voiced his personal opposition to gay marriage, explained his recent actions by saying it was his “constitutional duty” to enforce what the Court’s decision has declared to be a law. Members of the Governor’s cabinet noted that the high Court’s unanimous ruling left little question as to what its final decision would be.

While this recent action seems to have put an end to a battle that has been ongoing in this State for at least a decade, legal experts have expressed a need for Legislative action to formalize the new law. In 2012, Gov. Christie vetoed legislation that would have legalized gay marriages in the State, calling for the matter to be brought to voters for the decision. Experts in constitutional law have cautioned that unless the Legislature passes a law to codify the lower Court’s ruling, that ruling could possibly be overturned by a future State Supreme Court decision.

To date there has been no announcement as to what the Legislature’s next step may be.

(1) http://www.nj.com/politics/index.ssf/2013/10/nj_legalizes_gay_marriage_after_decade-long_push.html#incart_river