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New Jersey

Gay couples wed as N.J. becomes 14th state to legalize same-sex marriage

Sunday, October 20, 2013

LAMBERTVILLE, 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.

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.

Rich Schultz, AP
Beth Asaro and Joanne Schailey exchange vows as Mayor David DelVecchio officiates in the first same-sex marriage in Lambertville, N.J. at 12:01 a.m. Monday, Oct. 21, 2013. Asaro and Schailey hold the distinction of being the first couple to enter into a civil union in the state, when that law took effect in 2007.

Mel Evans, AP
Newark Mayor and Senator-elect Cory Booker (right) shares a laugh as he officiates the first same-sex marriage for Joesph Panessidi and Orville Bell in Newark city hall just after midnight Monday, Oct. 21, 2013.

Mel Evans, AP
Newark Mayor and Senator-elect Cory Booker (right) officiates the ceremony for the same-sex marriage of Liz Salerno and Gabriela Celeiro at Newark City Hall just after midnight Monday, Oct. 21, 2013.

Reena Rose Sibayan, The Jersey Journal/AP
David Gibson (right) and Richard Kiamco of Jersey City make history as they become the first official same-sex couple to be married in Jersey City in a ceremony officiated by Mayor Steve Fulop at 12:01 a.m. Monday, Oct. 21, 2013, at City Hall.

Reena Rose Sibayan, The Jersey Journal/AP
Gay couples and their guests take part in a toast in the rotunda of the Jersey City city hall after the same-sex wedding ceremonies.

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.

A state judge last month agreed with advocates who said that by allowing civil unions but not marriage, New Jersey was keeping gay couples in the state from legal equality.

The administration of Gov. Chris Christie, a Republican and possible 2016 presidential candidate, appealed both the ruling and Monday’s implementation date to the state Supreme Court.

And on Friday, less than 60 hours before the weddings were to begin, the state’s top court refused to delay them while it sorts out the overall case. The court said the state is not likely to prevail.

State Sen. Ray Lesniak said late Sunday he believes there are enough votes to override Christie’s gay marriage veto in the Senate and that he expects a vote after the Nov. 5 election.

“Though we are 99 percent sure based on the unanimous opinion against the stay that the Supreme Court will uphold marriage equality, we’d like to be 100 percent sure,” Lesniak said.

Many of the people who have long fought for the right for gay couples to marry had been bracing for a delay, even while they were optimistic the state’s top court would ultimately force New Jersey to recognize same-sex marriage.

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For the first couples to tie the knot legally, it’s been a weekend of fast wedding planning and confusion.

Some towns began taking applications for same-sex marriage licenses on Thursday and continued even after the state government told them not to until there was clarity from the courts.

Other towns refused to grant licenses even after the state Health Department said Friday evening that towns should accept the applications.

It’s expected that a rush of weddings will continue in coming days as couples are able to get licenses.

Developing story, check back for updates.

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138 more reader comments:

  1. They showed the wedding tonight on one of the news sites live

    Posted on Monday, October 21, 2013 at 5:02am
  2. Do you have a link?

    Replied on Monday, October 21, 2013 at 5:10am
  3. http://abclocal.go.com/wpvi/story?section=news/local&id=9294564

    Replied on Monday, October 21, 2013 at 5:12am
  4. 14th State. 36 to go.

    Posted on Monday, October 21, 2013 at 5:09am
  5. I was listening to NPR a few minutes ago, and hearing couples having midnight marriages just warmed this forever alone, hopeless romantic’s heart.

    Posted on Monday, October 21, 2013 at 5:09am
  6. I’m trying to imagine Chris Christie reacting to this…

    Posted on Monday, October 21, 2013 at 5:09am
  7. This is about the only good thing about being born and raised in Jersey right about now

    Posted on Monday, October 21, 2013 at 5:10am
  8. So happy for all the newlyweds.

    Posted on Monday, October 21, 2013 at 5:13am
  9. It feels so good to watch this country’s bigotry crumble beneath the power of our Constitutional rights.

    Posted on Monday, October 21, 2013 at 5:21am
  10. Amen

    Posted on Monday, October 21, 2013 at 5:21am
  11. GO JERSEY !!! Now oust that turd governor !!

    Posted on Monday, October 21, 2013 at 5:29am
  12. Hurrah. Christie, eat your doughnuts.

    Posted on Monday, October 21, 2013 at 5:32am
  13. AMEN ! God IS Love !

    Posted on Monday, October 21, 2013 at 6:00am
  14. Not sure if religious intolerant people agree with that but I hope they change.

    Replied on Monday, October 21, 2013 at 6:26am
  15. If they knew more of the true message of Love and less of their fears and judgment there would be more peaceful supportive heteros- I'm sure that intolerant people, religious or not, don't agree-- But I myself have little tolerance and much disdain for religion yet revel in Spiritual vision. I am the odd constitutional conservative, pro-choice, Same sex proponent, all paths to inner peace/God, pro death penalty, anti-war- pro-military, pro-immigrant-anti-undocumented alien, anti-nanny state-pro-government support of those in genuine need,walking talking paradox and yet not.. I can envision a Nation in which needs are met with equity, and differences met with Respect and TRUE compromise. A confident Nation of Participants , not just Recipients, who could, Together, drive our Country to the Greatest Reaches ever achieved... but that may just be the Whiskey talking........

    Replied on Monday, October 21, 2013 at 6:45am
  16. This makes us so happy Stand PROUD we will overcome and have marriage rights in all 50 states

    Posted on Monday, October 21, 2013 at 6:04am
  17. Congrats

    Posted on Monday, October 21, 2013 at 6:05am
  18. The guy doing the ceremony doesn’t look too happy.. but I’m happy for the couple and i hope they have many more years together… :) :)

    Posted on Monday, October 21, 2013 at 6:06am
  19. Congratulations Gay New Jersey

    Posted on Monday, October 21, 2013 at 6:06am
  20. Jus amazing!

    Posted on Monday, October 21, 2013 at 6:07am
  21. Lambertville, Hunterdon County – yay!

    Posted on Monday, October 21, 2013 at 6:08am
  22. Amazing

    Posted on Monday, October 21, 2013 at 6:10am
  23. Beth & Joanne…much love and respect!!

    Posted on Monday, October 21, 2013 at 6:10am
  24. Congrats

    Posted on Monday, October 21, 2013 at 6:10am
  25. Gratulation aus Zürich!

    Posted on Monday, October 21, 2013 at 6:11am
  26. Congratulations!

    Posted on Monday, October 21, 2013 at 6:13am
  27. It’s about freaking time.

    Posted on Monday, October 21, 2013 at 6:13am
  28. beautiful … I goosebumps and tearsnin my eyes

    Posted on Monday, October 21, 2013 at 6:14am
  29. <3 !

    Posted on Monday, October 21, 2013 at 6:16am
  30. Yay ladies! They look so happy! Can they Photoshop some flowers to cover up the dude? He’s kinda killin’ it. ;)

    Posted on Monday, October 21, 2013 at 6:18am
  31. the "dude" is the mayor and he is officiating the ceremony.

    Replied on Monday, October 21, 2013 at 7:25am
  32. I like Michelles answer better, she just wanted to cover him up, not bump him off. He is killing there moment. Love

    Replied on Monday, October 21, 2013 at 9:07am
  33. Yes, but he looks like he has just eaten a whole jar of gherkins in one gulp!

    Replied on Monday, October 21, 2013 at 9:07am
  34. Mazel Tov

    Posted on Monday, October 21, 2013 at 6:19am
  35. Keep the fight going strong never deny yourself the happiness to be who you are because of intolerant people “WE SHALL OVERCOME”.!

    Posted on Monday, October 21, 2013 at 6:28am
  36. Congratulations ladies. So happy for you. X

    Posted on Monday, October 21, 2013 at 6:30am
  37. Congratulations!

    Posted on Monday, October 21, 2013 at 6:31am
  38. Surprise!!!

    Posted on Monday, October 21, 2013 at 6:31am
  39. Congrads ladies. I am so happy foe you both. Many many blessings coming your way

    Posted on Monday, October 21, 2013 at 6:33am
  40. Congrats ladies

    Posted on Monday, October 21, 2013 at 6:39am
  41. So beautiful…the look on their faces, says it all!

    Posted on Monday, October 21, 2013 at 6:45am
  42. True love always wins in the end,congratulations !

    Posted on Monday, October 21, 2013 at 6:58am
  43. Go GWRLs

    Posted on Monday, October 21, 2013 at 6:59am
  44. Look at those smiles! How dare people try to keep love apart legally. They look so happily married!

    Posted on Monday, October 21, 2013 at 7:02am
  45. So happt for you ladies!! You made history!!

    Posted on Monday, October 21, 2013 at 7:04am
  46. Suck on it Christie.

    Posted on Monday, October 21, 2013 at 7:05am
  47. Congrats to All! xo!

    Posted on Monday, October 21, 2013 at 7:06am
  48. Right on ladies!

    Posted on Monday, October 21, 2013 at 7:12am
  49. AW AW AWWWWWWWW

    Posted on Monday, October 21, 2013 at 7:13am
  50. Yeaaaaaaaaaahh!!

    Posted on Monday, October 21, 2013 at 7:16am
  51. Congratulations!!!

    Posted on Monday, October 21, 2013 at 7:19am
  52. Congratulations guys!

    Posted on Monday, October 21, 2013 at 7:29am
  53. The best wishes
    -> ISTOSPOLNI BRAK – GAY MARRIAGE
    -> GAYFRIENDLY CROATIA

    Posted on Monday, October 21, 2013 at 7:31am
  54. a tender loving moment, Bless them in their union <3

    Posted on Monday, October 21, 2013 at 7:33am
  55. Congratulations!!! May your life together be richly blessed! : )

    Posted on Monday, October 21, 2013 at 7:33am
  56. GOD IS LOVE ! Bless this union !

    Posted on Monday, October 21, 2013 at 7:34am
  57. Congratulations Guys!!! ♥=equality

    Posted on Monday, October 21, 2013 at 7:34am
  58. Makes me so proud…gives me goosebumps, I get so excited!!! Congratulations you two, lots of love and long happy life together!!

    Posted on Monday, October 21, 2013 at 7:38am
  59. Fantastic and wonderful, congratulations to the happy couple.

    Posted on Monday, October 21, 2013 at 7:38am
  60. I love their outfits!!!

    Posted on Monday, October 21, 2013 at 7:39am
  61. ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS. KEEP IT COMING> JERSEY PRIDE.

    Posted on Monday, October 21, 2013 at 7:40am
  62. very happy for you two

    Posted on Monday, October 21, 2013 at 7:42am
  63. Congratulation from Singapore 377a penal code challenger for change Ivan tan eng hong

    Posted on Monday, October 21, 2013 at 7:44am
  64. Love each other well!

    Posted on Monday, October 21, 2013 at 7:44am
  65. Congrats!

    Posted on Monday, October 21, 2013 at 7:44am
  66. Congratulation

    Posted on Monday, October 21, 2013 at 7:46am
  67. Tired of being in debt?? Are you constantly looking for a way out but still no luck?? What if i told you there was a program designed especially for you.. Learn how to save, budget, and keep track of your spending all in one place. How does saving on gas sound? Or how about 22% off your cell phone bill? Sounds great doesn’t it.. Now what If I told you that in addition to all the savings you can also earn an extra $600 a month? Would you be interested? Well I’m here to tell you that you can receive all this and so much more. You’ve been searching for a way out.. Well here it is.. don’t let this opportunity pass you by.. All you have to do is add me then inbox me for more information..

    Posted on Monday, October 21, 2013 at 7:47am
  68. I love it…

    Posted on Monday, October 21, 2013 at 7:57am
  69. congrats!!

    Posted on Monday, October 21, 2013 at 8:06am
  70. Ahhhh ;)

    Posted on Monday, October 21, 2013 at 8:11am
  71. Congrats wishing u a very happy life together

    Posted on Monday, October 21, 2013 at 8:11am
  72. Congratulations for the lovely couple!

    Posted on Monday, October 21, 2013 at 8:13am
  73. Beautiful! Congrats!

    Posted on Monday, October 21, 2013 at 8:14am
  74. Beautiful! Congrats!

    Posted on Monday, October 21, 2013 at 8:14am
  75. Congratulations to the happy couple….

    Posted on Monday, October 21, 2013 at 8:16am
  76. Hell yes!!!!!!!!!!!

    Posted on Monday, October 21, 2013 at 8:17am
  77. This is wonderful! Congratulations to both of you! :)

    Posted on Monday, October 21, 2013 at 8:21am
  78. Congratulations guys and the lgbt community in new jersey! ;-)

    Posted on Monday, October 21, 2013 at 8:24am
  79. :-D

    Posted on Monday, October 21, 2013 at 8:24am
  80. :-D

    Posted on Monday, October 21, 2013 at 8:24am
  81. hahaha!!!!gugmang giatay!!!

    Posted on Monday, October 21, 2013 at 8:27am
  82. While we got married in NTC on 9/27/13 deserves this right

    Posted on Monday, October 21, 2013 at 8:29am
  83. Congradulation

    Posted on Monday, October 21, 2013 at 8:31am
  84. I am so happy for them

    Posted on Monday, October 21, 2013 at 8:36am
  85. Congratulations Jersey Boys :) xxxx

    Posted on Monday, October 21, 2013 at 8:52am
  86. Congrats guys!!

    Posted on Monday, October 21, 2013 at 8:58am
  87. PROFECIAAT… BEST CONGRATULATIONS… FELICITATIONS … VIVA l’AMORE <3 !!

    Posted on Monday, October 21, 2013 at 9:33am
  88. Beautiful! Congratulations guys ♡♥♡♥

    Posted on Monday, October 21, 2013 at 9:43am
  89. Congrats! May your life continue to be filled with love and joy!

    Posted on Monday, October 21, 2013 at 9:50am
  90. Couldn’t the officiant be happy for them?

    Posted on Monday, October 21, 2013 at 9:52am
  91. Congrats.We did it on Oct.5,2013 in New York.Best wishes.

    Posted on Monday, October 21, 2013 at 9:54am
  92. Fantastic! Congratulations from Vancouver, Canada

    Posted on Monday, October 21, 2013 at 10:03am
  93. @vickie, I was wondering the same.

    Posted on Monday, October 21, 2013 at 10:11am
  94. congrats ladies…rock on

    Posted on Monday, October 21, 2013 at 10:12am
  95. rock on gentlemen

    Posted on Monday, October 21, 2013 at 10:16am
  96. Congratulations, gentlemen! Love and happiness forever!!

    Posted on Monday, October 21, 2013 at 10:21am
  97. http://anthonyheetland.weebly.com #love #marriageequality # congratulations

    Posted on Monday, October 21, 2013 at 10:24am
  98. beautiful…….. congratulations.

    Posted on Monday, October 21, 2013 at 10:31am
  99. Is one of them a senior citizen? Nway congrats.

    Posted on Monday, October 21, 2013 at 10:33am
  100. LOL @the official’s face!

    Posted on Monday, October 21, 2013 at 10:37am
  101. WTF people

    Posted on Monday, October 21, 2013 at 10:39am
  102. Congratulations, gentlemen!

    Posted on Monday, October 21, 2013 at 10:46am
  103. Happy Marriage

    Posted on Monday, October 21, 2013 at 10:52am
  104. I need it , too .

    Posted on Monday, October 21, 2013 at 11:01am
  105. Hell yes!!

    Posted on Monday, October 21, 2013 at 11:03am
  106. Congratulations♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥ wishing a lifetime of happiness

    Posted on Monday, October 21, 2013 at 11:03am
  107. Congrats Beth and Joanne!!! Best to u both!!

    Posted on Monday, October 21, 2013 at 11:06am
  108. If Booker ran for president, I’d vote for him

    Posted on Monday, October 21, 2013 at 11:08am
  109. Congrats NJ…!!

    Posted on Monday, October 21, 2013 at 11:09am
  110. Fags

    Posted on Monday, October 21, 2013 at 11:13am
  111. Good Luck in your journey as one.

    Posted on Monday, October 21, 2013 at 11:14am
  112. Congrats ladies a wonderful feeling

    Posted on Monday, October 21, 2013 at 11:14am
  113. congrats…

    Posted on Monday, October 21, 2013 at 11:14am
  114. How could it be that some evil bastards on planet earth have issues with the love between 2 people? Why would a normal sane person voice an opinion about someone else’s love? And why should their commitment to each other bother someone? I am glad the world is growing up!

    Posted on Monday, October 21, 2013 at 11:15am
  115. Congrats to all couples, and NJ for electing Cory Booker! This is awesome, another state added to the Equality Train moving across America!

    Posted on Monday, October 21, 2013 at 11:16am
  116. So sweet! This made my day! @ Tabitha its people who think like you that should hope and pray you find love as strong as this. Grow up.

    Posted on Monday, October 21, 2013 at 11:18am
  117. I don’t know what it’s like to be gay, but I am Trans MTF and I now know that God Loves Us All. Thank You.

    Posted on Monday, October 21, 2013 at 11:18am
  118. holy crap….now i just have to ask you for the details when i see you in class! CONGRATS!!!!!

    Posted on Monday, October 21, 2013 at 11:18am
  119. Looking for to marriage in TEXAS, or moving, so we can marry….

    Posted on Monday, October 21, 2013 at 11:19am
  120. Haha I think the officiating person looks less than thrilled at 12:01 am

    Posted on Monday, October 21, 2013 at 11:27am
  121. Amen Sharonni-Alex Spotted Elk!! Love is love Tabitha no matter male/ female , male / male or female/ female. ..I am a straight married woman and this is a proud day for my home state of New Jersey !! Wishing all the newlyweds a happy long life together…stop the hate and spread the love♥♥

    Posted on Monday, October 21, 2013 at 11:28am
  122. Yah this is beautiful

    Posted on Monday, October 21, 2013 at 11:31am
  123. Congrats!!! I wish you all the happiness!!!!

    Posted on Monday, October 21, 2013 at 11:34am
  124. Congratulations ladies

    Posted on Monday, October 21, 2013 at 11:34am
  125. Well done lady s xx

    Posted on Monday, October 21, 2013 at 11:35am
  126. This is excellent

    Posted on Monday, October 21, 2013 at 11:36am
  127. Congratulations! so happy for you…it’s about time!!

    Posted on Monday, October 21, 2013 at 11:37am
  128. Love is where you find it, not where you demand it to be. God is love and ALL love comes from God.

    We have been presented with a test by God, the test of whether we can accept equality for LGBT persons and give them the same chance to love, honor, and cherish in a permanent, committed, loving relationship that non-LGBT people have had for centuries.

    Some places are passing this test, sadly, too many places have not passed this test YET.

    Let us ALL rise to God’s challenge and pass the test of equality, realy equality, for all God’s children.

    Posted on Monday, October 21, 2013 at 11:38am
  129. Congratulations! May you both blessed with many happy, healthy, loving years together.

    Posted on Monday, October 21, 2013 at 11:39am
  130. Can you say boy-toy?

    Posted on Monday, October 21, 2013 at 11:42am
  131. Congratulations New Jersey :)

    Posted on Monday, October 21, 2013 at 11:45am
  132. Keep this to your self I find it ungodly and disgusting

    Posted on Monday, October 21, 2013 at 1:54pm
  133. I would not care if i wad first or last i just want our state to pass LGBT to be legal!

    Posted on Monday, October 21, 2013 at 2:06pm
  134. Mazel Tov!

    Posted on Monday, October 21, 2013 at 2:10pm
  135. So wonderful to finally have gay marriage in NJ!

    Posted on Monday, October 21, 2013 at 2:11pm
  136. yay us

    Posted on Monday, October 21, 2013 at 3:23pm
  137. Congrats darlings

    Posted on Monday, October 21, 2013 at 5:45pm
  138. #legalizeit

    Posted on Monday, October 21, 2013 at 9:41pm