Updated: Just hours after same-sex couples began tying the knot in New Jersey, Governor Chris Christie announced he is dropping his appeal of the court ruling that legalized gay marriage.
Last month, a lower-court judge ruled that New Jersey must recognize gay marriages starting today. Christie had been asking the New Jersey Supreme Court to overturn the ruling. On Friday, the court rejected his request for a delay in starting same-sex marriage.
In an email Monday morning, the governor's office says it's withdrawing the appeal, because the justice's ruling on Friday left no ambiguity about the court's view.
Christie says he disagrees with the court's ruling -- but he says he has a constitutional duty to enforce the law.
New Jersey is now the 14th state to recognize same-sex marriage. Newark Mayor and U.S. Senator-elect Cory Booker led a ceremony for nine gay couples just after midnight Monday.
On Friday the New Jersey Supreme Court refused to block same-sex marriages while Governor Christie challenges a lower court ruling that said civil unions are inadequate since they do not provide the same rights under federal law as marriage.
Joanna Grossman, a professor of family law at Hofstra University, says same-sex spouses will be entitled to the same assurances as other married couples.
"Everything from taxes, social security, medicare beneficiary rights, immigration. There's a whole host of benefits that depending on your particular situation may rank differently in priority," she said.
Grossman added that when April 15 rolls around, marriage can cut both ways.
"For some people that will turn out to be a benefit and for some people that will turn out to be a penalty, depending on the degree to which their incomes are similar to one another or disparate -- but for a lot of people there is a tax benefit."