HONOLULU, Dec. 2 (UPI) -- Six same-sex couples exchanged vows at a celebration at a Honolulu hotel Monday, the first day Hawaii's law legalizing same-sex marriages was in effect.
One of the couples -- Donna Gedge and Monica Montgomery, who have been together 35 years -- said in a statement marriage for them "means that we will have the first-class legal status as well as the rights and benefits that only marriage will afford us," the Huffington Post reported.
"Marriage equality is now the law of the land in the Aloha State," declared Michael Golojuch Jr., chairman of the GLBT Caucus of the Democratic Party of Hawaii who acted as master of ceremony for the marriages.
State marriage licenses became available online soon after midnight. Hawaii's marriage laws allow couples to register for a license and be married the same day.
The Post noted that "minor technical difficulties" meant it took about 45 minutes to register all six couples.
Gov. Neil Abercrombie, after calling the Hawaii Legislature into special session in October, signed same-sex marriage legislation into law Nov. 13, making the Aloha State the 15th state, along with the District of Columbia, to legalize same-sex marriage. Illinois became the 16th state to follow suit and its first gay wedding was Friday.
Several current and former state representatives attended the ceremonies.
Later Monday, the Rev. Jonipher Kupono Kwong, who performed many same- and opposite-sex weddings during his 10 years in the ministry, married his partner Chris Nelson, with Abercrombie in attendance.