NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) – A New Jersey judge has denied a request from Gov. Chris Christie’s administration to delay the start of gay marriage in the state until after a legal appeal is final.

The ruling Thursday from Mercer County Superior Court Judge Mary Jacobson moves the state a step closer to start recognizing same-sex nuptials on Oct. 21. That’s the day Jacobson had said in a previous ruling that the marriages had to be allowed.

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“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,” Judge Jacobson wrote.

But Christie’s administration is expected to appeal the denial to a higher court.

The administration has already asked the state Supreme Court to reverse Jacobson’s earlier ruling that the state has to allow gay couples to get married.

Late last month, Jacobson ruled in a summary judgment that now that the federal government recognizes gay marriages, not doing so in New Jersey would violate the state constitution.

Also Thursday, a poll shows that by a nearly two-to-one margin, New Jersey likely voters are opposed to Christie’s appeal of the ruling.

“What voters indicate to Quinnipiac, they might be a little fed up with this as a continuing issue. By 61 to 32 [percent], they wish the state hadn’t appealed,” Quinnipiac University Polling Institute Director Maurice Carroll told WCBS 880’s Levon Putney.

Carroll said the split is not an overwhelming margin.

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“Heavy enough, well over half, that would like it. This thing has been around in New Jersey for eons, it seems,” he told Putney.

However, Republican voters in the survey say they approve of the governor appealing the gay marriage ruling by a 49 to 42 margin.

The majority of voters polled said they support the legalization of same-sex marriage by any means.

LINK: Full Poll Results (pdf)

“They’d like this legislature to overturn the governor’s veto. It’s not going to happen as long as he insists on the Republicans voting his way but if you let him loose, well New Jerseyans would like it to be over with, 59 to 33, override the veto and be done with it,” said Carroll.

The Quinnipiac poll also shows likely voters in the gubernatorial race back Christie 62 to 33 percent over Democratic challenger Barbara Buono.

Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,144 New Jersey likely voters by phone from Oct. 5 to 7. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.9 percentage points.

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