New Jersey Governor Chris Christie [official website] announced [text, DOC] on Monday that his administration would drop its appeal [letter, PDF] challenging same-sex marriage in the state. Christie's appeal was the last hurdle in making same-sex marriage legal in New Jersey, but the administration withdrew its challenge, stating that there is "no ambiguity about the unanimous court's view on the ultimate decision in this matter." The state was appealing a lower court ruling [JURIST report] which held that same-sex couples must be allowed to marry in the state. Christie has long held that the question of gay-marriage should be decided by voters. Despite strongly disagreeing "with the court substituting its judgment for the constitutional prices of the elected branches or the vote of the people," Christie announced that he "will do his constitutional duty and ensure his Administration enforces the law." The law was implemented on Monday.
The heated debate regarding same-sex marriage [JURIST backgrounder] is one of the most polarizing [JURIST op-ed] issues currently facing the US legal community. Last month Michigan's Treasury Department ruled [JURIST report] that same-sex spouses must file separate tax returns. Also last month a judge for the US District Court for the Southern District of Ohio expanded a lawsuit [JURIST report] seeking the recognition of same-sex spouses on death certificates. Judge Timothy Black ruled in July and September [JURIST reports] that the surviving same-sex spouses of two decedents should be listed as spouses on death certificates, because their marriages were valid under the laws of the states where they were performed. Also in September, a Kentucky judge ruled that the same-sex spouse of a woman charged with murder must testify against her at the trial because same-sex partners are not protected by the spousal privilege [JURIST report] under Kentucky state law.