By Pat Loeb

TRENTON, N.J. (CBS) — Governor Chris Christie has acknowledged that same-sex marriage is the law in New Jersey.

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Today, the governor’s administration withdrew its legal challenge to the state court’s recent ruling overturning the prohibition against same-sex marriage.

A statement from the governor’s office says Christie still disagrees with the court but acknowledges that the chief justice left no ambiguity about how it would ultimately rule in the case.

Therefore, the statement says, he “will do his constitutional duty and ensure his administration enforces the law.”

Christie had favored putting the issue to voters.

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Same-sex marriages began at midnight (see related story) after the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled Friday that the state was unlikely to succeed in its appeal of the ruling legalizing marriage for gay and lesbian couples (another related story).

Garden State Equality, which brought the case on behalf of same-sex couples, issued a statement saying, “This is the day we’ve been waiting for. This is the day we’ve been fighting for. This is the day we won.”

Len Deo of the anti-gay-marriage Family Policy Council of New Jersey sees it differently. He says Christie was outmaneuvered by an activist court.

“The courts have allowed a single judge to decide for the entire state what marriage is, treading on both the governor and the legislature in doing so,” Deo said.

The legislature had passed a law legalizing same-sex marriage, which Christie vetoed.  Legislative leaders praised the governor’s decision today.

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