The Supreme Court of the US state of New Jersey has rejected an appeal made by Republican Governor Chris Christie over an earlier ruling that banning same-sex couples from marrying broke the state’s constitution.

“The State has advanced a number of arguments, but none of them overcome this reality: same-sex couples who cannot marry are not treated equally under the law today. The harm to them is real, not abstract or speculative,” wrote Chief Justice Stuart Rabner in the decision.

“We applied settled legal standards and determined that the state has not shown a reasonable probability it will succeed on the merits.”

New Jersey Judge Mary Jacobson last month ruled that because the US federal government now recognises same-sex marriage, the state government in New Jersey would violate its constitution by not doing so. She said same-sex marriages should be allowed to take place from 21 October.

The administration of Governor Chris Christie  appealed the decision at the state Supreme Court, also asking Judge Jacobson to place a stay on equal marriage until the court rules.

She declined the request on Thursday, saying in her opinion that a delay “would simply allow the state to continue to violate the equal protection rights of New Jersey same-sex couples, which can hardly be considered a public interest.”

The Supreme Court in the state has since agreed to take on the appeal against equal marriage by the Governor’s administration, and is expected to rule ahead of Monday.

The town of Astbury Park began issuing marriage licences on Thursday in compliance with Judge Jacobson’s order. Newark Mayor Cory Booker plans to begin marrying same-sex couples at 12:01 on Monday.

Meanwhile the New Jersey health department has sent a memo to municipal clerks in Astbury Park, warning them not to issue same-sex marriage licences until the state Supreme Court rules.