Gay marriages begin in New Jersey

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In the early hours of Monday morning, couples in New Jersey celebrated the first same-sex marriages in the state’s history.

In Lambertville, Mayor David DelVeccio officiated the wedding of Councilwoman Beth Asaro and her partner of 27 years, Joanne Schailey. The two brides exchanged vows just after midnight in front of an audience of friends and neighbors.

 “When I go to bed tonight, I don’t have to worry about the living will and the powers of attorney and do I have everything dotted and crossed,” Asaro said after the ceremony. “I’m equal.”

“It’s like winning the Superbowl,” Schailey said. 

This was the second midnight ceremony for the couple.  The two also were the first in New Jersey to obtain a civil union back in 2007 when those became available.

Newly elected U.S. Sen. Cory Booker, D-NJ, officiated more marriages in Newark, where he’s mayor.  And other couples are marrying in towns and cities across New Jersey.

This was all set in motion when a state judge ordered New Jersey to begin issuing marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples starting today.  However, until Friday, it remained uncertain whether these ceremonies would take place. That day, New Jersey’s Supreme Court judges unanimously declined Gov. Chris Christie’s request for a stay until the court considers the state’s final appeal, saying they did not expect it to succeed. The decision cleared the way for today’s weddings. The Supreme Court will hear full arguments in the case in January.

New Jersey is now the 14th state in the nation to allow same-sex marriages. It is the first state whose law banning same-sex marriage has been overturned since the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in June to strike down part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act.

The New Jersey state judge said that in light of the federal rights newly available to legally married couples, the state could no longer deny same-sex partners the right to wed. 

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