“Thanks to today’s ruling on Marriage Equality: On Monday at 12:01 AM I’ll be marrying both straight & gay couples in City Hall,” Cory Booker tweeted — and he did just that.
For seven years, Sen.-elect Cory Booker (D-N.J.) refused to officiate New Jersey weddings until all citizens were granted marriage equality. Now that a recent Supreme Court decision called for New Jersey to recognize same-sex marriages, Booker was more than happy to marry seven gay couples at Newark City Hall.
“Thank u NJ Supreme Court 4 affirming (marriage) equality under the law!” he tweeted. However, Booker — who was elected as the first Black senator of New Jersey last week– was greeted with angry tweets and homophobic hecklers following his support for gay marriage: “We aren’t for gay people,” one Twitter user said. “Well I’m for unconditional love. I try to love all, especially those who are mean & intolerant,” Booker snapped back.
“This is unlawful in the eyes of God and Jesus Christ!” one protester shouted when Booker asked if anyone objected to Joseph Panessidi and Orville Bell’s same-sex union. According to The Huffington Post, “Booker had the protester removed to the sound of thunderous applause.”
“Not hearing any substantive, worthy objections, I now will proceed,” Newark’s mayor said.
Panessidi and Bell had been together for 15 years and got a civil union in 2009 — not even the heckler could ruin their moment. There “will always be protesters. That’s their right,” Bell said. “It does not affect me.”
Governor Chris Christie also protested the legalization of same-sex marriages. He sought to delay the implementation of law but the Supreme Court denied his request. Putting up the white flag, Christie also withdrew his appeal to the law and decided to uphold the ruling, according to Politico:
“[T]he Governor strongly disagrees with the Court substituting its judgment for the constitutional process of the elected branches or a vote of the people, [but] the Court has now spoken clearly as to their view of the New Jersey Constitution and, therefore, same-sex marriage is the law,” a statement from Christie’s office read.
A recent poll found that 61 percent of Jersey residents support same-sex marriage while 21 percent oppose it. New Jersey is the 14th state to legalize gay marriage, Politico noted.