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First same-sex couple marries in New Jersey

By Bo Koltnow, Reporter, BKoltnow@wfmz.com
Published On: Oct 21 2013 05:00:03 PM CDT
Updated On: Oct 22 2013 04:43:44 AM CDT

Gay marriage is now the law of the land in New Jersey.

LAMBERTVILLE, Pa. -

Gay marriage is now the law of the land in New Jersey. Same-sex couples were allowed to wed beginning at midnight.

Meanwhile Governor Christie says he's done trying to stop them.

The same sex marriages in New Jersey started early Monday. At midnight Joanne Schailey and Beth Asaro became the state's first couple to say "I do," tying the knot in Lambertville, Hunterdon Co.

"I'm happy for Beth and Joanne. It's a significant state for our community," Lambertville Mayor Dave Delvecchioo said.

The celebration comes on the same day Governor Chris Christie dropped an appeal to a court ruling allowing same sex couples to marry. A move that has some fellow Republicans seeing red, like State Senator Michael Doherty.

"Governor Christie's actions today it's not going to go to voters. I'm really disappointed because the more people who participate the better," he said.

The marriage ceremonies come nearly seven years after Lambertville played host to the state's first civil unions.

Newly released polls show support for gay marriage in New Jersey. A Rutgers-Eagleton Poll says 61% of residents support same sex marriages vs 27% who oppose them. A Qunnipiac University poll shows almost identical numbers.

Across the river, the matrimonial divide still flows.

In September a Pennsylvania Judge ordered Montgomery County Register of Wills Bruce Hanes to stop issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples.

Hanes issued more than 170 licenses after Attorney General Kathleen Kane announced she thought the state's stance was unconstitutional and said she wouldn't defend the ban in court.

After Hanes actions were stopped, new legislation to allow gay marriages in Pennsylvania was introduced.

While the marriage battle continues in PA, for Asaro and Schailey, who were also the New Jersey's first civil union, their long fought fight for equality is over and their new New Jersey life just begun.

"It's the first and it's real and it's equality and it's everything," the couple said.

The States Supreme Court could still decide New Jersey does not have the right to recognize same sex couples.

A hearing for that is set for January 14th.

New Jersey becomes the 14th state to recognize same sex marriage.