Couples rushed to the altar just after midnight Monday morning as New Jersey became the 14th state to allow same-sex partners to marry.
Newark Mayor Cory Booker, who was elected to the U.S. Senate last week, performed marriage ceremonies for nine couples at Newark’s city hall, starting at 12:01 am. Though same-sex marriage is broadly popular in the state, the first vows exchanged weren’t without controversy. When Booker asked if anyone had reason to object to the union of the first couple, a protestor screamed, “This is unlawful in the eyes of God and Jesus Christ,” NJ.com reports.
As Booker continued the ceremony “not hearing any substantive and worthy objections,” the crowd applauded and the protestor was removed.
After a state court ruling forced New Jersey allow same-sex marriage, several couples across the state held midnight ceremonies to exchange vows.
On Friday, the state Supreme Court rejected Gov. Chris Christie’s request to delay the implementation date for same-sex weddings and announced it would allow such marriages before it hears his administration’s appeal to the case in January.
In 2012, New Jersey’s legislature passed a bill allowing same-sex marriage, which Christie vetoed, arguing that gay marriage should be left up to a popular referendum. While gay marriage proponents have worked through the courts, lawmakers are trying to override the governor’s veto.