JERSEY CITY, NJ – Wedding bells rang for the first time for seven same-sex couples in Jersey City, just after midnight on Monday, as New Jersey becomes the 14th state in the US to legalize gay marriage.
Among the first to tie the knot was Filipino-American stand-up comedian and gay rights advocate Rich Kiamco and his partner of 10 years David Gibson.
"This is both a personal moment and a political moment," Gibson said. "I think those are the two images that go through my mind and I'm thinking about my love for Rich. I'm also thinking about we're part of a larger movement."
"It also speaks of something bigger that's happening because this is an arc of human rights," Kiamco said, "We are standing up for so many other people behind us that want to be treated as equal beings in this society."
On September 27, a state judge ruled that New Jersey must allow same-sex couples to marry but Gov. Chris Christie appealed the ruling and filed a stay to freeze all gay marriages until the top court makes a final ruling in January.
The New Jersey Supreme Court denied the Governor’s request Friday, allowing New Jersey municipalities to start accepting applications for gay marriage licenses.
Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop officiated the historic weddings of seven gay couples at the City Hall chambers.
"Marriage equality is finally here in New Jersey and it's here to stay," Fulop said. “Anything from here is just political rhetoric, than anything else."
For the dozens of friends, family members, and advocates of same-sex marriage, they said that this is a giant step forward towards equality for all regardless of sexual orientation.
"We are no different from any John walking on the face of this earth," Jersey City resident Ronn Reganit said. "We are entitled to be happy, to be married to the ones we love and enjoy the benefits of the law that our constitution would provide to any citizen of this country."