NJ JUDGE: STATE MUST ALLOW GAYS TO MARRY

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — A New Jersey
judge has ruled that the state must
allow same-sex couples to marry.
Judge Mary Jacobson says now that the
federal government recognizes gay
marriages, not doing so in New Jersey
would violate the state constitution.
Her order says the marriages could
begin Oct. 21, which gives the state time
to appeal and ask for a stay to block
marriages from happening.
Gov. Chris Christie is opposed to gay
marriage, but his administration has not
said yet whether it will appeal.
In Friday's ruling, the judge accepted
the position of lawyers from gay rights
groups that the state is blocking citizens
from receiving federal benefits.
New Jersey's top court ruled in 2006
that gay couples had to have the same
legal rights as married couples. Same-
sex couples in New Jersey presently can
enter into civil unions.