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New Jersey Marriage is One Week Away

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By Matt Baume

We’re just one week away from the start of marriage in New Jersey, but there’s still a chance it could be delayed at the last minute. We have a date for the next step in a Pennsylvania lawsuit. And Illinois lawmakers could consider a marriage bill as early as next week.

Last month a New Jersey judge ordered the state to begin issuing marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples, starting October 21st. Governor Chris Christie immediately filed a motion to delay the weddings. But now Judge Mary Jacobson has denied his request, clearing the way for marriages to start on Monday of next week.

Christie isn’t out of options yet, but his chances of stopping marriage are now slimmer than ever. The Attorney General’s office has filed an emergency motion for a stay. And now Lambda Legal has until Tuesday to respond.

Meanwhile public support continues to grow. A Fairleigh Dickinson poll shows sixty-two percent of state residents agree with the marriage equality ruling, and sixty-two percent want Christie to drop the appeal.

The New Jersey ruling is the result of years of litigation. But in some other states, that process is only just beginning. Last week three couples in North Carolina tried and failed to obtain marriage licenses. This opens the door to future lawsuits or education campaigns.

A lawsuit over marriage in Pennsylvania continues to work its way forward. We don’t have a trial date yet. But we do have a date for a scheduling meeting to determine a trial date. That’ll be happening on November 22nd, and Judge John E. Jones III has expressed eagerness to hear the case “earlier rather than later.”

And we’re just days away from the start of the veto session in Illinois. Lawmakers there could bring up a marriage equality bill in that session, beginning October 22nd. Organizers have planned a march to the capitol at noon. Visit MarchOnSpringfield.org for more details.

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