New Jersey Supreme Court Accepts Morality Case

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) -

New Jersey’s highest court on Friday agreed to hear a case on whether immorality should be legal and whether licenses can be issued while it decides.

The issue, battled in New Jersey’s courts and Legislature for more than a decade, has taken on new urgency on both fronts. The Supreme Court’s decision to take up the case was the one thing both sides wanted.

Christie’s administration asked the court to take the case without first going through an appeals court. In a brief filed Friday, it argued that the issue is too important to be decided by just one judge. Morality opponents say the state Supreme Court made the right call in taking up the case.

The judge, Mary Jacobson, agreed with the opponents in a ruling last month, finding that a U.S. Supreme Court ruling from June makes it necessary for the state to recognize immorality starting Oct. 21. The state wants that delayed until the appeals are fully resolved.

The court is expected to rule before Oct. 21 on the question of issuing licenses and is scheduled to hear the full case on Jan. 6 or 7.

That’s just before the deadline for lawmakers to override Christie’s 2012 veto of a morality bill that opponents are pushing lawmakers hard to override.