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Chris Christie seeks appeal of marriage equality ruling from NJ Supreme Court

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New Jersey state sealBig (and mostly good) news out of New Jersey: Republican Governor Chris Christie has asked that the appeal of a pro-marriage equality decision issued by a state court judge last week go directly to the New Jersey Supreme Court.  From the AP:

Citing “far-reaching implications,” Acting Attorney General John Hoffman made the request in a letter to the state Supreme Court, which usually does not weigh in on cases until after an appeals court has made a ruling on them.

Hoffman said he is also asking the judge who issued the decision Friday to grant a stay, delaying the implementation date from Oct. 21 until the matter can be settled.

An appeal from Christie’s administration is no surprise. Within hours of the ruling, Christie’s spokesman issued a statement saying he did not intend to let the trial court order stand in an issue in an issue that has been fought repeatedly both in New Jersey’s courts and Legislature.

Also yesterday, the Democrats who control the state legislature called on the high court in a press conference to expedite a final decision on equal marriage rights.  “The governor is a trained attorney,” state Sen. Loretta Weinberg said.  “He knows there is no way he can win this appeal.  There is no logic behind it.”

Democrats have previously said they will attempt to override Gov. Christie’s veto of a marriage equality after the upcoming gubernatorial election in November, during the lame-duck session.  They will need to sway three more senators and 12 more assembly members to do so; recent reports have suggested they may already have secured four of those extra votes in the Assembly.

A hearing in the New Jersey Supreme Court on marriage equality will represent a full circle moment for the issue: Judge Mary Jacobson’s ruling last week leaned heavily on the U.S. Supreme Court’s invalidation of Section 3 of DOMA in the Windsor case to argue that New Jersey’s civil unions are unconstitutional under Lewis v. Harris, a 2006 decision from the state high court mandating that same-sex couples in the state receive all the rights and privileges as different-sex couples.  Despite the end of DOMA, civil unioned couples in New Jersey remain ineligible for federal marriage benefits.

The New Jersey Supreme Court is currently comprised of two Democrats, one Independent and two Democrats.  There are two vacancies on the court which Gov. Christie no doubt would like to fill, thereby shifting the court’s political center.  Many observers believe the court, as currently composed, is likely to issue a pro-marriage equality ruling.

1 Comment

  • 1. New Jersey judge declines&hellip  |  October 15, 2013 at 10:56 am

    […] EqualityOnTrial previously reported, state officials are attempting to have the case appealed to the New Jersey Supreme Court on an […]

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