NJ Governor Chris Christie withdraws appeal of marriage ruling

This morning, on the first day of the freedom to marry in New Jersey, Governor Chris Christie's administration withdrew his appeal of a Superior Court ruling that ordered NJ to begin performing and respecting marriages of same-sex couples. The administration will no longer challenge the court ruling that granted same-sex couples the freedom to marry, beginning just after midnight.

Freedom to Marry founder and president Evan Wolfson celebrated this morning in a statement. He said:

At long last, the freedom to marry is now permanently law of the land in New Jersey. The marriages of loving, committed couples throughout the Garden State, combined with Governor Christie's withdrawal of his appeal, is joyous news to New Jerseyans, both gay and non-gay. The momentum continues to build nationwide and we are working hard to deliver victories in Hawaii, Illinois and New Mexico yet in 2013.

The decision comes just a few hours after the first same-sex couples began marrying in New Jersey. This morning, as the clock moved from midnight to 12:01 a.m., same-sex couples across the state declared their love and commitment for each other as New Jersey became the fourteenth state to begin marrying same-sex couples. Check out a dozen photos of same-sex couples getting married this morning HERE. 

The big day came just a few days after the New Jersey Supreme Court announced that they would deny the Christie administration's request for a stay in a lower court's marriage ruling, which ordered New Jersey to begin marrying couples on October 21, 2013. That ruling, from Mercer County Superior Court Judge Mary Jacobsen in Garden State Equality v. Dow, found that denying the freedom to marry to same-sex couples violates NJ law. 

Check out a dozen photos of same-sex couples getting married this morning HERE.