BY CURT YESKE; The Times (NJ)
LAMBERTVILLE - Home to many gay and lesbian couples, Lambertville will be among the first municipalities -- if not the first to offer ceremonies for same-sex couples when New Jersey's new law goes into effect.
Shortly after being sworn in yesterday for a sixth term, Mayor David Del Vecchio announced that he will conduct the civil union ceremonies for gay and lesbian couples.
"The first one will be at 12:01 a.m. on Feb. 19, the day the new state law takes effect," said Del Vecchio.
He said he expects to be the first mayor of any community in the Lambertville area to provide the ceremony.
He said the gay and lesbian community has been an integral part of the city of about 4,200 people, "yet the many same-sex couples that call Lambertville home have been unable to enjoy the simple rights that other families take for granted. Thankfully, that will change soon."Del Vecchio's stance contrasts with the feelings of some mayors who have expressed reservations about presiding over civil unions of gay couples.
Under the law signed by Gov. Jon Corzine Dec. 21, same-sex couples who form civil unions are entitled to all of the rights that married couples have under state law.
New Jersey is the third state, after Vermont and Connecticut, to allow civil unions. Only Massachusetts allows same-sex couples to marry.
Del Vecchio had no qualms announcing his plans to conduct ceremonies during the city's annual reorganization session, where the Democratic mayor formally launched another three-year term.
He said he had gay and lesbian couples ask him in the past to unite them in a civil ceremony but he was not permitted to do so...