BREAKING: Christie withdraws appeal of N.J. marriage ruling

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While same-sex couples tied the knot across the Garden State Monday, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie gave up his attempt to challenge the court ruling mandating marriage equality in the state.

The Christie administration withdrew its appeal Oct. 21, the day marriage equality went into effect in New Jersey.

In a statement issued Monday, Christie’s administration said that “although the governor strongly disagrees with the court substituting its judgment for the constitutional process of the elected branches or a vote of the people, the court has now spoken clearly as to their view of the New Jersey Constitution and, therefore, same-sex marriage is the law.”

The action follows Friday’s unanimous ruling by the New Jersey Supreme Court denying Christie’s request to delay the ruling from going into effect as he proceeded with his appeal.

The top court was slated to consider the appeal in January, although pundits predicted the court was unlikely to overturn the lower-court ruling, especially given last week’s stay denial.

Last month, Superior Court Judge Mary Jacobson ruled that the state’s civil-union law violates the constitutional rights of same-sex couples, and she went on to deny Christie’s request for a stay.

Lambda Legal deputy director Hayley Gorenberg hailed the Supreme Court’s upholding the stay denial as a win for “love, commitment and equality.”

“This is a huge victory for New Jersey’s same-sex couples and their families,” Gorenberg said. “Beginning Oct. 21, New Jersey’s same-sex couples will be able to marry and have the critically important rights, benefits and protections they need for their families. Take out the champagne glasses — wedding bells will soon be ringing in New Jersey.”

The rulings stem from a 2011 case filed by Lambda Legal on behalf of Garden State Equality and six same-sex couples.

Although the legal challenge is over, lawmakers are continuing to press for a legislative override of Christie’s veto of a marriage-equality law. They have until January to take the override vote.