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New Jersey Supreme Court expected to issue decision on stay in same-sex marriage case by Monday

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Marriages will be performed in New Jersey next Monday, October 21, unless the state supreme court issues a stay today on a lower court decision that requires the state to allow same-sex couples to marry. A decision on the stay is expected sometime today. According to reports, some cities will begin handing out marriage licenses today:

A handful of New Jersey cities will begin issuing marriage licenses Friday to same-sex couples despite an order from the state Health Department telling them to hold off until the state Supreme Court decides whether the ceremonies would be legally binding.
Asbury Park administrator Terence Reidy said the city has fielded at least two dozen calls from couples asking whether it is issuing marriage license applications.

He said he’s told them yes.

“We’re doing it so that we’re ready,” Reidy said. “If something happens — the law changes — the city isn’t going to do anything in violation of any ruling or regulation. We’re being proactive so that when the 21st comes, any couple that wants to be married, they’re ready and we’re ready.”

Buzzfeed also reports that New Jersey senator-elect Cory Booker will marry same-sex couples at 12:01 on Monday. Booker, a longtime supporter of marriage equality, will perform the weddings at Newark City Hall:

Multiple advocates in New Jersey confirmed that the Newark mayor who just won election to the Senate on Wednesday plans to conduct weddings in the first floor rotunda of Newark City Hall after the clock strikes midnight.
In Newark, the couples being married by Booker are being required to fill out and sign the required marriage license application by 10 a.m. Friday, according to information provided to BuzzFeed. Media coverage, including interviews with the couples, is also being coordinated. The couples, who are invited to bring up to five guests, are being asked to arrive at Newark City Hall an hour prior to the ceremony.

If a stay is issued in the case before Monday, then couples would have to wait until at least early January to get married. When the state supreme court took up Garden State Equality v. Dow, Lambda Legal’s marriage case, it decided that oral arguments will be held on January 6-7. The court could rule any time after the case is argued, though they likely won’t issue an immediate decision.

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