Christie drops gay marriage challenge

Gov. Chris Christie (R) has decided to withdraw his appeal in a New Jersey same-sex marriage case, just a few hours after such marriages became legal.   [WATCH VIDEO]

“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 Christie administration said in a release. 

The New Jersey Supreme Court decided Friday to allow same-sex marriages in the state, which a lower court had ruled constitutional last month. 

Municipalities began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples at midnight Monday. Newark Mayor and Sen.-elect Cory Booker even officiated couples’ ceremonies. 

Christie’s administration was in the process of appealing the ruling, but the state Supreme Court’s justices decided not to delay the lower court's decision because they didn’t think Christie would ultimately win the case. 

The governor’s decision to drop his appeal came as a surprise Monday because of his opposition to gay marriage. Christie, considered a likely contender for the GOP presidential race in 2016, has previously only voiced his support for civil unions, which New Jersey has offered since 2007. 

“The Governor will do his constitutional duty and ensure his Administration enforces the law as dictated by the New Jersey Supreme Court,” the release continued. 

He advised his acting attorney general to drop the appeal. 

New Jersey becomes the 14th state to legalize same-sex marriage. It comes the same year the Supreme Court ruled the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional, thereby authorizing the federal government to recognize states’ laws.

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