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N.J. judge says same-sex marriage can begin in 2 weeks

A New Jersey judge cleared the way on Thursday for same-sex marriages to start in two weeks, dismissing the state’s request to prevent the weddings until after a legal appeal of the court decision allowing them is completed.

“There is no ‘public interest’ in depriving a class of New Jersey residents their constitutional rights while appellate review is pursued,” wrote Judge Mary C. Jacobson of the state Superior Court in Mercer County, who also wrote the decision last month that ordered the state to allow same-sex marriages. “On the contrary, granting a stay would simply allow the State to continue to violate the equal protection rights of New Jersey same-sex couples, which can hardly be considered a public interest.”

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The state has asked the New Jersey Supreme Court to hear the case on an expedited basis. But Jacobson said the state had not demonstrated that its appeal was likely to be successful. And she denied the state’s argument that New Jersey would suffer “irreparable harm” if marriages began happening, ruling instead that the people harmed would be the same-sex couples who would have to wait even longer to access the federal benefits that the US Supreme Court guaranteed them in its landmark decision in June.

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