MAPLEWOOD, NJ – Mayor Victor DeLuca presided over Maplewood’s first same-sex marriage at noon on Monday in the Municipal Building. The couple, introduced simply as Cynthia and Tara, had applied for their marriage license on Friday and waited the mandatory 72 hours for their wedding on Monday.

Prior to the ceremony, DeLuca, C.J. Prince of North Jersey Pride and former Mayor Fred Profetta each said a few word marking the historic day.

“Same-sex partners having the same rights as everyone else is a tremendous, tremendous civil rights victory for everyone,” DeLuca said.

“This has been a very long road,” Prince said. “What is so extraordinary about this journey is that there have been so many people who made it happen.”  She credited the groups Garden State Equality, Freedom to Marry and Lambda Legal for helping to win the ruling.

The first domestic partnerships were formed in New Jersey on July 10, 2004 and on the first day they were allowed, then-Mayor Profetta presided over the events that had more than 200 people assembled, and saw applications from 500.

“We have 14 states recognizing gay marriage today, but there are 35 states who have banned it, and of those, 27 have banned it in their state constitutions,” Profetta said. “That’s a high bar to overcome, so there is a lot of work to be done. But one thing is for certain, Maplewood will always be out in front of that fight.”

The assembled crowd then went outside to observe the raising of the rainbow flag in front of the Municipal Building.

Once back inside, DeLuca led the ceremony joining the couple in matrimony.  There were hugs and a few tears around the room as all witnessed the first moments of Cynthia and Tara as a married couple.

DeLuca announced that more weddings would take place over the course of the day, and that there would be a multi-couple wedding on the steps of the Municipal Building at 5 p.m.

One participant who will be among those married on the steps, Jan Kaminsky, said, “It’s time. We have known that we are a family for many, many years, but this is still an important piece of paper. We have three children, we pay our taxes and we want it to be official. We need the protections marriage provides.”