In a very surprising move, Governor Christie announced today that his administration was abandoning its appeal of Garden State Equality v. Dow, which required New Jersey to start performing same-sex marriages on today’s date.
The question had remained how long that would last as the Christie Administration launched a swift appeal. It was certainly possible that New Jersey found itself in California’s shoes if the ruling was later overturned and couples who had managed to get married before the decision would have rights that other gay couples did not have. In short, causing a bit of a quagmire.
Seeing the political writing on the wall, Governor Christie has conceded defeat. Apparently, the New Jersey Supreme Court’s rather stinging decision on Friday denying a stay of the ruling and telegraphing its position on the equal rights argument contributed to this decision. Interesting to us is what will happen with all of the New Jersey citizens who had entered civil unions because same-sex marriage was not an option. That may be cause for further litigation down the road.
In the meantime, employers should examine policies regarding employees’ spouses to insure that same-sex spouses are included in the definition of spouse.