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Christie delay denied: New Jersey's highest court agrees to allow same-sex marriages Monday

BY GEOFF MULVIHILL
ASSOCIATED PRESS

TRENTON, N.J. -- Same-sex marriages will begin within days in New Jersey after the state's highest court ruled unanimously Friday to uphold a lower-court order that gay weddings must start Monday and to deny a delay that was sought by Gov. Chris Christie's administration.

"The state has advanced a number of arguments, but none of them overcome this reality: Same-sex couples who cannot marry are not treated equally under the law today," the court ruled. "The harm to them is real, not abstract or speculative."

A judge on the lower court had ruled last month that New Jersey must recognize same-sex marriage and set Monday as the date to allow gay weddings. Christie, a Republican who is considered a possible 2016 presidential candidate, appealed the decision and asked for the start date to be put on hold while the state Supreme Court decides the case.

His administration also asked that the state's top court take up the appeal of the lower-court ruling, something it agreed to do last week. Oral arguments are expected Jan. 6 or 7.

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