Gay couples wed as NJ recognizes nuptials
By KATIE ZEZIMA and GEOFF MULVIHILL, APLAMBERTVILLE, N.J. — Gay couples exchanged vows in early morning ceremonies in several New Jersey communities Monday as the state began recognizing their marriages at 12:01 a.m., becoming the 14th state to do so.
October 21, 2013, 2:25 pm TWN
The hastily planned first weddings to legally unite long-time couples were planned for a state Senator's grand home in Elizabeth, the boardwalk in Asbury Park and government buildings in small towns and big cities.
In the arts community of Lambertville, Mayor David DelVecchio led the ceremony to marry Beth Asaro and Joanne Schailey. He also presided when they joined in a civil union the minute they became recognized in the state in February 2007.
Soon after they cut the cake, DelVecchio handed Asaro a pink marriage license. "We're floating on air," she said. Added Schailey, "It's like winning the Super Bowl."
The couple, both wearing suits, hosted a reception attended by friends, family and several politicians. The song "In the Mood" played.
Asaro, a member of the city council in Lambertville, said they wanted to get married at the first moment, in part, to promote the gay-friendliness of their community north of Trenton.
"This shows to the world that Lambertville is open for business," DelVecchio said.
In Newark, Mayor Cory Booker was marrying the first of several couples when someone attempted to disrupt the ceremony.
Booker had asked if anyone had reason to object to the marriage and a protester screamed "This is unlawful in the eyes of God and Jesus Christ."
Booker, who was elected to the U.S. Senate last week, called for the person to be removed and police dragged him out.
As Booker continued speaking, "...not hearing any substantive and worthy objections," thunderous applause erupted.
The weddings came amid a flurry of legal activity after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in June that the federal government should recognize gay marriages and confer couples with the same benefits that it does for heterosexual married couples, including joint tax filings, the right to live together in government-funded nursing homes and Social Security survivor benefits.