Gay and lesbian couples who applied for a license on the first day a District of Columbia gay marriage law went into effect last week began marrying Tuesday. Couples needed to wait the customary three-day period before marrying.

Fox News reported that 15 gay couples had picked up their marriage licenses an hour into the district's marriage bureau's workday. About 150 couples applied for a marriage license last Wednesday.

“Today's marriages will allow couples in Washington, DC to take care of and provide for each other and their families – rights that all Americans deserve,” Jarrett Barrios, president of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), said in a statement. “More and more, lawmakers and the public are recognizing that gay and lesbian families deserve equal protections under the law.”

The Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest gay advocate, hosted three morning ceremonies in their DC offices.

One of the first couples to marry at the event was Angelisa Young, 47, and Sinjolya Townsend, 41. The women have been together for 13 years and have two adult children.

All Souls Church, the gay-inclusive Unitarian church where Mayor Adrian Fenty signed the gay marriage bill approved by lawmakers in December, planned an afternoon wedding.

As the parties got started, the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), the nation's most vociferous opponent of gay marriage, renewed its call for repeal of the law.

“The City Council not only passed gay marriage, it went the next extraordinary step and claimed the right to block citizens from voting on gay marriage,” Brian Brown, executive director of NOM, said in a statement. “Their legal arguments are quite weak, but as we all know, in a world with too many activist judges that doesn't really matter. Politically, it is remarkable to see politicians claim that the right to gay marriage trumps the people's right to vote.”

“Don't believe the lies. It's not over in DC by any means,” he added.

NOM said it would continue its push to put the issue up for a vote in the District. The group is appealing a DC high court ruling that denied such a request.

Opponents also attempted to block the start of law by appealing to the Supreme Court, but Chief Justice John Roberts rebuffed their challenge. Congress, which has final say on the laws approved by the City Council, ignored the pleas of opponents to interfere.

Five mostly New England states have legalized gay marriage, including Connecticut, Vermont, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Iowa. Maine lawmakers approved a gay marriage law last year, but the law was repealed by voters before it took effect.

Two nearby states where gay marriage is not legal – Maryland and New York – have indicated they would recognize legal gay marriages performed outside their borders.