By Geoff Mulvihill and Samantha Hen 5:08am, October 19, 2013 - Updated 10:56am, October 21, 2013
(CBS graphic)Gov. Chris Christie has dropped his appeal to legalized same-sex marriages in New Jersey.
In an email, the governor's office says it submitted a formal withdrawal to the state Supreme Court Monday morning.
Last month, a lower-court judge ruled that New Jersey must recognize gay marriages starting Monday. Gay couples began exchanging vows shortly after midnight.
The Republican governor, a possible 2016 presidential candidate, had been asking the state's top court to overturn that ruling. But he announced Monday he was dropping the appeal.
Christie's administration says he strongly disagrees with the court substituting "its judgment for the constitutional process of the elected branches or a vote of the people." But he says the Supreme Court was clearly going to favor same-sex marriage and that he has a constitutional duty to enforce the law.
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