TRENTON, N.J.

Court rules unanimously to uphold same-sex marriage

Same-sex marriages can begin within days in New Jersey after the state’s highest court ruled unanimously Friday to uphold an order that they must start Monday and to deny a delay that had been sought by Gov. Chris Christie’s administration.

The ruling puts New Jersey on the cusp of becoming the 14th state – and the third most populous among them – to allow same-sex marriage.

The advocacy group Freedom to Marry said that as of Monday, one-third of Americans will live in a place where same-sex marriage is legal.

“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 court said in an opinion by Chief Justice Stuart Rabner.

A judge on a lower court had ruled last month that New Jersey must recognize same-sex marriage.

The court set Monday as the date to allow weddings.

Christie appealed the decision and asked for the start date to be put on hold while the state appeals.

St. PETERSBURG, Fla.

Rep. Bill Young, influential defense hawk, dies at 82

Rep. Bill Young of Florida, the senior Republican in the U.S. House and a defense hawk who was influential on military spending during his 43 years in Washington, died Friday. He was 82.

His chief of staff, Harry Glenn, said in an email that Young died at 6:50 p.m. at Walter Reed Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., where he had been for nearly two weeks with back problems that stemmed from a 1970 small plane crash.