Same-sex couples hear wedding bells in N.J. — despite state move to block them

While Gov. Chris Christie’s administration has appealed the ruling of a New Jersey judge last week legalizing same-sex marriage, couples say they’re ready to wed.

 A previous New Jersey court decision led the state’s Legislature to create civil unions. Beth Asaro believes she and her partner were the first in the state to have one.

“We tried to make it as much like a marriage ceremony as possible because we didn’t know if that was all we’d ever have,” said the Lambertville resident.

Last week, a Superior Court Judge found that since the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision this summer striking down part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, civil unions don’t provide the equal protection required by New Jersey’s Constitution.

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Unless the state plans to convert her civil union, Asaro said she’s ready to get married Oct. 21, the date set by the judge for the state to begin recognizing same-sex marriages.

Late Monday, the acting state attorney general said he is asking the judge who made last week’s ruling the delay the Oct. 21 implementation date until the appeal is decided. Attorney General John Hoffman has asked the state Supreme Court to take up the appeal because of “far-reaching implications.”

Before state officials announced they had filed an appeal, Asaro said she was willing to wait.

“People kind of rally around and understand what you’re going through, so we’re just playing it by ear,” she said.

Meanwhile, New Jersey Democrats in the Legislature are trying to round up enough support to override Christie’s veto last year of a bill legalizing same-sex marriage.

This story has been updated with information from the Asssociated Press.

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