BY GEOFF MULVIHILL AND SAMANTHA HENRY
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
LAMBERTVILLE, N.J. -- Gov. Chris Christie dropped his appeal to legalized same-sex marriages on Monday, hours after gay couples began immediately taking advantage of a court ruling that compelled the state to become the 14th in the nation to recognize same-sex nuptials.
The couples who have been together for years, and in some cases decades, joined in hastily arranged ceremonies that had remained in doubt until Friday when a unanimous state Supreme Court rejected the Christie 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.
The Republican governor, a possible 2016 presidential candidate, 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.