New Jersey Becomes 14th State to Legalize Gay Marriage After Court Ruling

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Same-sex couples in a handful of New Jersey towns exchanged marriage vows early Monday after a court ruling forced the Garden State to legalize gay marriage.

The ceremonies joined couples that have been together for years, and in some cases decades, in hastily arranged ceremonies that remained in doubt until Friday.

Booker, Couple

That was when a unanimous N.J. Supreme Court rejected Gov. Chris Christie's administration's request to delay the implementation date of same-sex weddings.

Last month, a lower-court judge ruled that New Jersey must recognize gay marriages starting Monday, despite the opposition of Christie and others.

The Republican governor, a possible presidential candidate in the 2016 election, asked the state's top court to overturn that ruling pending an appeal.

The judges agreed to hear the overall case in January but would not delay the start of same-sex marriages, in part because the state is not likely to prevail in court.

Christie said the state would comply with the ruling, though he reaffirmed his position that whether to allow gay marriage should be decided by a popular vote.

The governor vetoed a bill by the legislature that would have legalized gay marriage, whose supporters went on to sue the state and prevailed in court.

At Newark's City Hall, seven gay couples and two straight couples were wed, with Mayor Cory Booker, a Democrat elected last week to the U.S. Senate, officiating.

Booker has been a staunch supporter of gay marriage, and it showed this morning when he became the first officiant in New Jersey to do the honors:

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