Senator-elect Cory Booker, the current
Democratic mayor of Newark, married 7 gay couples on Monday as a
court order that allows gay marriage in the state officially took
effect at 12:01 AM.
Booker married the couples in the first
floor rotunda of Newark City Hall. The celebration included a tiered
wedding cake and sparkling cider.
The first couple to marry was Orville
Bell, a 65-year-old educator, and Joseph Panessidi, a 66-year-old
semi-retired retail advertising executive. The men have been
together 15 years (pictured).
Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop also
performed a couple of marriages after midnight.
More than a dozen city halls started
issuing marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples on Friday after
the New Jersey Supreme Court unanimously denied Republican Governor
Chris Christie's request for a stay on a lower court's ruling
ordering the state to begin issuing such licenses on October 21. The
high court has scheduled a hearing in the case for January 6 or 7,
but refusal to grant a stay is a strong signal that the court does
not believe that the state will prevail.
Gay rights proponents cheered the news
but said that they would continue to push lawmakers to override
Christie's 2012 veto of a bill legalizing marriage for gay couples in