NEW PALTZ, N.Y., Feb. 27 (UPI) -- New Paltz, N.Y., Friday became the first city in the eastern United States to perform same sex marriages, The Advocate reported.
Mayor Jason West performed about a dozen same sex marriages starting around noon, the Advocate magazine for gays and lesbians reported on its Web site.
West, 26, who was elected last year under the Green Party banner, said New York's state law on marriages is gender-neutral and the state constitution requires equal protection under law.
"We as a society have no right to discriminate in marriage any more than we have the right to discriminate when someone votes or when someone wants to hold office," West told The Advocate.
"The people who would forbid gays from marrying in this country are those who would have made Rosa Parks sit in the back of the bus."
New Paltz, with 5,400 residents, is midway between New York City and Albany and has a State University of New York campus.