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On Monday, same-sex couples read their vows as New Jersey became the 14th state to legalize same-sex marriage. The Garden State is the third most populace state of the 14 and, according to Freedom to Marry, a gay rights activists group, one third of all Americans can now live in a place where same-sex marriage is legal.
The signs of success began last month when a judge on a lower court ruled that New Jersey must allow same-sex marriage. Governor, republican and possible 2016 presidential candidate Chris Christie appealed the decision and asked the court to delay the start date. On Friday, however, the New Jersey Supreme Court denied the request to delay the lower court’s order.
“The state has advanced a number of arguments, but none of them overcome this reality: Same-sex couples who cannot marry are not treated equally under the law today,” the court said in an opinion by Justice Stuart Rabner. “The harm to them is real, not abstract or speculative.”
While Christie made no efforts to hide his displeasure with the ruling, he also said it “left no ambiguity.” He then dropped his challenge to the ruling.
Senator-elect Cory Booker officiated at seven of the first weddings to be held in New Jersey once the clock struck midnight. Booker had refused to officiate weddings as mayor of New Jersey until same-sex couples were included and he descriped the experience as, “one of the most magical moments” of his life.
The issue of Same-sex marriage isn’t exclusive to New Jersey either. Oregon has begun recognizing same-sex weddings performed out of state. Hawaii could soon also be passing a bill to legalize same-sex marriage. Lawsuits challenging the bans are pending in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Virginia as well.
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