NEW BRUNSWICK — New Brunswick residents Daniel Horne and Jeffrey Matthew Tortora held hands, exchanged vows and became the first same-sex couple to be united in marriage at the Middlesex County Clerk’s Office.
The Oct. 24 ceremony, officiated by Middlesex County Clerk Elaine M. Flynn, was marked by soft classical music in the background, a few happy tears and the excitement of a couple who met in Manhattan 13 years ago.
“I now pronounce you married and spouses,” proclaimed Flynn, after the brief ceremony held in her office at the County Administration Building in New Brunswick. In all, Flynn has officiated at more than 3,000 weddings during her tenure as County Clerk. This was the first same-sex marriage over which she has presided. “It’s history in the making,” she said.
Eudora and Jane Mason, who have been Mr. Horne’s and Mr. Tortora’s neighbors for the past four years, stood as witnesses. The mother and daughter beamed as their friends took a step they have wanted to take for years.
Mr. Horne and Mr. Totora, who was raised in Middlesex County and is a graduate of Rutgers University, had their civil union on Oct. 14, 2010, at which point they exchanged identical rings.
After the wedding ceremony, the couple exchanged watches as a sign of the time they have spent together and the time they will have in the future, said Mr. Horne.
Mr. Horne works for a New York City law firm, where he does a great deal of pro bono work, including death penalty appeals and assisting with asylum applications for victims of genocide.
Mr. Horne, a native of Iowa and graduate of the University of Pennsylvania said: “My most important work is done representing the rights of severely mentally ill maximum security prisoners against cruel and unusual punishment and the right to receive psychological care and medication. These civil rights issues dovetail nicely with the civil rights issue of same sex marriage.”
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