ELIZABETH––Roselle Mayor Jamel C. Holley presided over the marriage of Marsha Shapiro and Louise Walpin just after midnight Monday morning, the moment same-sex marriage became legal in New Jersey.
At the stroke of midnight, Holley pronounced Shapiro and Walpin, two of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit to allow same-sex couples to wed, officially married. Sen. Loretta Weinberg (D-Bergen) gave the couple away, and Steven Goldstein, the founder and former executive director of Garden State Equality, led the prayer. Sen. Raymond Lesniak (D-Union) hosted the wedding at his Elizabeth home.
The state’s highest court ruled unanimously last week to uphold a lower-court order that same-sex weddings must start today and to deny a delay that was sought by Gov. Chris Christie’s administration. The decision punctuated a protracted effort by marriage equality advocates to legalize same-sex marriage—an effort that hit a legislative roadblock when Christie vetoed a same-sex marriage bill in 2012.
Weinberg recognized the importance of the landmark event: “This is a personal event for the two of you, but it’s also an historic event for the state of New Jersey.”
Holley, a long-time proponent of same-sex marriage, said the moment was long overdue.
“This is a milestone for civil rights, but more important, it’s a deeply personal moment for two wonderful women who have loved each other and have shared their lives together. Marsha and Louise are as one under the law,” Holley said.
Lesniak called the event “a groundbreaking moment in our state’s history.
“This journey would not have come to fruition without Marsha and Louise. They fought for what every human being wants: To be treated equally in the eyes of the law. Their fight has culminated in this historic moment and to be part of it is one of the greatest honors of my life,” he said.
As the newlyweds smashed the glass in this traditional Jewish wedding, Goldstein celebrated, declaring: “New Jersey has smashed discrimination in marriage.”
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