A U.S. Supreme Court ruling in June extended benefits such as Social Security survivor benefits and joint tax filing to gay couples.
The gay rights groups argued the state is standing in the way of New Jersey couples' ability to get those benefits in violation of a 2006 state Supreme Court ruling that said the state's gay couples had to receive treatment equal with married couples.
So far, the federal government has not been consistent about whether couples with civil unions will receive the federal benefits. Rules being created in some departments say they will; in others, they won't.
The state government is arguing that the federal government should grant full marriage benefits to New Jersey couples with civil unions.
Marsha Shapiro and Louise Walpin, who live in South Brunswick, were married in New York last year on the 20th anniversary of their religious wedding.
The couple, who are plaintiffs in the suit against the state, said that if the stay Christie is requesting is not granted, they'll tie the knot legally in New Jersey immediately.
"Whenever the first day is, we can find someone who can find someone to say we are married," said Walpin.
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