The Governor of New Jersey has abandoned his legal challenge against the state’s same-sex marriage law – just hours after gay couples began tying the knot.

Last week the New Jersey Supreme Court refused Governor Chris Christie’s request that same-sex marriages be put on hold until a state appeal against the decision is decided.

The Republican has fought against introducing equal marriage without a referendum. 

But on Monday he was forced to admit defeat. “Chief Justice Rabner left no ambiguity about the unanimous court’s view on the ultimate decision in this matter when he wrote, ‘same-sex couples who cannot marry are not treated equally under the law today,'” Mr Christie said in a statement.

“Although the Governor strongly disagrees with the Court substituting its judgment for the constitutional process of the elected branches or a vote of the people, the Court has now spoken clearly as to their view of the New Jersey Constitution and, therefore, same-sex marriage is the law.

“The Governor will do his constitutional duty and ensure his Administration enforces the law as dictated by the New Jersey Supreme Court.”

New Jersey is the 14th US state to legalise equal marriage.