A New Jersey judge ruled Friday that same-sex couples in the state must be allowed to get married, according to the Associated Press.
In her ruling, Judge Mary Jacobson said that it is a violation of same-sex couples’ constitutional rights to deny them the right to marry. She also ruled that the rights given to same-sex couples are not equal to federal benefits now granted to married gay couples.
“Same-sex couples must be allowed to marry in order to obtain protection under the New jersey Constitution,” wrote the judge.
The state has until Oct. 21 to either appeal or start the process of allowing gay marriages.
Governor Chris Christie’s administration is expected to appeal the ruling.
New Jersey’s top court ruled in 2006 that gay couples are entitled to the same legal rights as married couples. Same-sex couples in New Jersey are currently able to enter civil unions.