New Jersey became the 14th state to allow same-sex couples to wed on Saturday, taking effect in less than a month after a federal judge blocked a law that critics said discriminates against gays and lesbians.
The state has the nation’s strictest ban on same-gender marriage, and it is among the only states without any state-issued licenses.
Chris Christie said Saturday that he was pleased to see New Jersey becoming a “sanctuary state” for gay and lesbian couples who want to marry.
“Today is a victory for fairness and dignity,” he said.
“I’m pleased to have a state that is standing up for fairness in marriage and the rights of all citizens to marry the person they love.”
The U.S. Supreme Court is considering two challenges to New Jersey’s ban on gay marriage.
In May, the justices declined to take up a case brought by gay couples challenging the state’s ban.
That decision led Christie to issue an executive order in June that made it legal to marry same-aged couples, regardless of sexual orientation.
The ruling has raised questions about the ability of states to enforce laws barring same-sides from marrying.
The court has yet to rule on a challenge from California, which allows same- sex marriage.
A judge in Sacramento on Friday issued an injunction against New Jersey, which had already been required to issue marriage licenses.
In the meantime, couples can obtain the licenses by filling out a form and mailing it to the state, according to the Department of Motor Vehicles.
In New Jersey there is no legal limit on who can marry.
A spokesman for the governor said the state would honor its commitment to marriage equality.
A spokeswoman for Christie’s office said the governor was pleased that the state had become the first state to recognize gay and transgender couples, but that the governor remains committed to protecting the civil rights of everyone in the state.
“We are committed to upholding the fundamental constitutional rights of every New Jerseyan,” said Jen Gagnon, a spokeswoman for the Democratic governor.
Justice Department has asked a federal appeals court to review the state law that prohibits gay marriage, saying the state should have been more specific about its intent.
The Trump administration and several Republican-led states have taken legal action to overturn the ban.
Christie said the Justice Department’s appeal was misguided.
“This is nothing more than an effort to put a political stunt in front of a civil rights issue,” he told reporters in New York City.
The lawsuit was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union and the Southern Poverty Law Center, which are suing to stop the law, saying it violates the U.N. Convention Against Torture.
The suit also asks the U,N.
General Assembly to declare New Jersey a “hostile environment” and to force the state to repeal the ban on gays and transgender people.