"14 Down, 36 To Go"
Marriage Equality Comes to New Jersey
CREDIT: Rich Schultz/Associated Press.
Following a ruling by the state’s highest court last week, marriage equality came to New Jersey this morning at 12:01 a.m. The Garden State joins thirteen other states and the District of Columbia in extending full marriage equality to its citizens.
Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ), who previously vetoed a marriage equality bill, also announced today that he would not continue to pursue an appeal attempting to block marriage equality. In last week’s ruling allowing the weddings to proceed today, the state’s highest court noted that the Christie administration’s appeal had not shown “a reasonable probability or likelihood of success on the merits.”
(For their part, marriage equality opponents immediately denounced Christie for fighting against civil rights with insufficient fervor, despite the fact that today Christie continued to denounce the ruling legalizing marriage equality and reaffirmed his position that marriage is between one man and one woman.)
Here’s a roundup of some of the first marriages in the state, via ThinkProgress.
Newark, New Jersey
Newark Mayor and Senator-elect Cory Booker (D) happily presided over several marriages just after midnight. Booker had previously refused to officiate any weddings in his capacity as mayor until same-sex couples were allowed to marry as well. He married seven same-sex couples as well as two opposite-sex couples in a ceremony at City Hall.
During the first wedding, a heckler interrupted the ceremony to proclaim, “This is unlawful in the name of God.” Booker asked that he be escorted out, then proceeded, adding, “I do not hear any substantive worthy objections.” Watch a clip of Booker marrying Orville Bell and Joseph Panessidi HERE.
Lambertville, New Jersey
Lambertville Mayor David DelVecchio presided over the wedding of Beth Asaro and Joanne Schailey, who had also been the first couple to obtain a civil union in New Jersey. Schailey compared the moment to “winning the Super Bowl.” Watch the ceremony HERE.
Elizabeth, New Jersey
Louise Walpin and Marsha Shapiro are one of the couples that joined the lawsuit challenging New Jersey’s ban on same-sex marriage. They married at the home of state Sen. Raymond Lesniak (D), who co-sponsored the marriage equality bill the legislature passed but Gov. Chris Christie (R) vetoed. Walpin and Shapiro raised four children and are eagerly awaiting their second grandchild. Watch a clip featuring the happy couple HERE.
Asbury Park, New Jersey
Which of the 36 states is going to be next? Check out a rundown of some of the possibilities HERE.