rainbow icon Same-Sex Couples Marry in New Jersey

All the blubs forever:
Seven same-sex couples were married en masse in Newark on Monday morning, minutes after New Jersey officially became the 14th state in the US to allow gay marriage.

Newark mayor [and senator-elect] Cory Booker officiated at the ceremonies, describing it as "one of the greatest privileges" of his life in one of his last acts in office.

..."Do you wish to join in marriage?" Booker asked Joseph Panessidi and Orville Bell, both 65, who were first in line to be married. Both Panessidi and Bell answered in the affirmative.

"And I wish to join you," Booker said. "Not in the marriage," he added quickly, as laughter flowed up toward the ornate ceiling.

...Gabriela Celeiro, 34, and Liz Salerno, 38, were the fourth couple to be married by the soon-to-be ex-mayor and praised him for his support. The couple met in New York five years ago, they said.

"It was love the minute we got this close to each other," Salerno said, using her hands to approximate a distance of about six inches. "We could not separate at that point. We just had to be together."

Salerno said it felt different to be married. "I feel like I'm an actual human being, and I'm respected to the same level as others are. There's still going to be challenges. Not everyone wants to see us together and let us be together, but at least when you have the leaders of a state, that trickles down and makes it more acceptable."
And from Reuters, care of Shaker KJC:
"Tonight we have crossed a barrier," Booker told the newly-weds and their families and friends. "While you all have fallen into love, the truth is the state of New Jersey has risen to love."

Jenelle Torres, 42, and her long-time partner, Lydia Torres, 44, were among the first to marry. They had previously obtained a license in New York but were eager to wed in their home state.

"It's monumental. I'm so thankful and humbled," said Torres. "I'm just so proud to be a part of this. A part of history," she said.

... "This has been a long time coming," said Hoboken resident Allen Kratz, who plans to marry his partner of 28 years, Paul Somerville, at a private ceremony on Thursday.

The couple was legally wed in Oregon in 2004, but the Oregon Supreme Court nullified gay marriage a year later.

"We are very excited that now, finally, we get to marry," Kratz said. "I know some political leaders think it's too soon. But civil rights always come too soon for those in a position of power and never soon enough for those who have been denied life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."
Emphases mine.

Congratulations to all the happy couples. ♥ ♥ ♥

[Note: Marriage equality is part of an ongoing process of changing a systemically homophobic culture. It does not mark the endpoint of discrimination against people with same-sex partners. It is important to lots and lots of LGB people, and not particularly important to others, and there is room for multiple viewpoints in this space. However, this particular thread is for celebrating. Yay!]

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