NEWARK, N.J., Oct. 19 (UPI) -- In his last days as Newark mayor, Sen.-elect Cory Booker, D-N.J., plans to officiate at weddings now that same-sex marriage is legal in his state.
Booker spokesman James Allen said in a statement Friday the first ceremonies will be held as soon as possible, Politico reported. Other municipalities plan to hold wedding ceremonies early Monday.
"Mayor Booker has refused all requests to officiate New Jersey marriages because gay couples have been denied that equal right," James Allen said. "After today's wonderful news, Mayor Booker is excited to marry both straight and gay couples in City Hall on Monday morning beginning at 12:01 a.m."
The state Supreme Court refused a request by Gov. Chris Christie to delay implementation of a lower-court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage in New Jersey pending appeal. The court did not rule on the merits of gay marriage, but said in a unanimous ruling Christie had not made a showing he is likely to prevail on the merits.
Christie spokesman Michael Drewniak said after the ruling the governor disagrees with the court, continues to oppose gay marriage and believes the issue should be decided by the voters, not the courts. Drewniak said Christie had instructed the state Health Department to work with municipal officials to ensure the order is implemented smoothly.
Booker won a special election Wednesday to the U.S. Senate seat formerly held by Frank Lautenberg, a Democrat, who died in June. When he takes his seat, Booker will be the first black senator from New Jersey and the first from the northeast since Edward Brooke, R-Mass.