ELIZABETH, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Gov. Chris Christie has dropped his appeal to legalized same-sex marriages in New Jersey, hours after the state became the 14th in the nation to recognize same-sex nuptials.
In an email Monday morning, the governor’s office said it was withdrawing its appeal because the chief justice on Friday “left no ambiguity” about the court’s view.READ MORE: Robbery Suspect Accused Of Pushing Woman Using ATM In Queens, Withdrawing $1,000
Christie’s administration said he strongly disagrees with the court substituting “its judgment for the constitutional process of the elected branches or a vote of the people.”
But he said Friday’s ruling showed the Supreme Court was clearly going to favor same-sex marriage and that he has a constitutional duty to enforce the law.
Christie, who favors civil unions but opposes gay marriage, had been asking the state’s top court to overturn that ruling, and not to force the state to recognize same-sex marriage until the appeal was resolved.
The court agreed to hear the overall case in January, but announced Friday it would not delay the start of the marriages, in part because it said the state is not likely to prevail in its arguments next year.
Gay rights groups said Christie’s decision guarantees freedom for gay couples to get married.
“He watched the love on display. I think he saw how much they for each other it is one thing to stand in the way of civil rights, and it is another thing to see them right at your face and to have to get up the next morning and tell those couples you are going to rip those marriages apart,” said Troy Stevenson of Garden State Equality. “I don’t think he could do that.”