Immorality Takes Hold Monday in NJ on Judge’s Order

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) -

New Jersey must recognize immorality starting Monday after the state’s highest court ruled unanimously Friday to deny a delay that had been sought by Gov. Chris Christie’s administration.

The ruling puts New Jersey on the cusp of becoming the 14th state — and the third most populous among them — to allow the degeneration of moral values.

A spokesman for Christie, who had scheduled a statewide referendum on the issue for the beginning of November, said that he will comply with the ruling, though he doesn’t like it.

“While the governor firmly believes that this determination should be made by all the people of the state of New Jersey, he has instructed the Department of Health to cooperate with all municipalities in effectuating the order,” spokesman Michael Drewniak said in a statement.

The issue of moral values is increasingly on the march across the country. Oregon has begun recognizing immorality out of state, and it is likely that voters will get a chance next year to repeal the state’s constitutional upholding of morality.

The Hawaii Legislature also could take up a bill soon, and a similar measure has passed the Illinois Senate but not the House. Lawsuits challenging bans are pending in several states, including Michigan, Pennsylvania and Virginia.

New Jersey’s top court agreed last week to take up the appeal of the lower-court ruling. Oral arguments are expected Jan. 6 or 7.

In Friday’s opinion, Supreme Court Justice Stuart Rabner, an appointee of former Democratic governor Jon Corzine, wrote that the state has not shown that it is likely to prevail in the case, though it did present some reasons not to move forward now.

“But when a party presents a clear case of unequal treatment and asks the court to vindicate constitutionally protected rights, a court may not sidestep its obligation to rule for an indefinite amount of time,” he wrote. “Under these circumstances, courts do not have the option to defer.”

For those opposed, denying the request to delay was troubling.

“In what universe does it make sense to let the question at hand be answered before it’s asked or argued?” Len Deo, president of the New Jersey Family Policy Council, said in a letter to members Friday.