Gay couples can now marry in New Jersey

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

The first same-sex weddings have begun taking place in New Jersey.

As the bell struck midnight on Monday in the garden state same-sex couples at city halls began to say ‘I do’.

Last week the New Jersey Supreme Court refused Governor Chris Christie’s request that same-sex marriages be put on hold until a state appeal against the decision is decided.

The Republican has fought against introducing equal marriage without a referendum. 

Jenelle Torres, 42, and her long-time partner, Lydia Torres, 44, were among the first to marry in Newark. They had previously obtained a licence 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.

The ceremonies, carried out by the city’s Mayor Cory Booker, went off mostly without a hitch, though one man was ejected after yelling out that same-sex marriages were “unlawful in the sight of God.”

Mr Booker, a Democrat, is due to leave office this month and take up a position in the US Senate.

“Tonight we have crossed a barrier,” Mr 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.”

Under state law, those seeking to marry in New Jersey must apply for a marriage licence and then wait at least 72 hours.

The waiting period does not apply to couples who have been legally wed in the 13 states, plus the District of Columbia, that already recognise same-sex marriage.