After same-sex marriages begin, opposing views remain - NBC40.net

After same-sex marriages begin, opposing views remain

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BUENA BOROUGH -

In Buena Borough, one local official says he will no longer perform marriage ceremonies, now that gay and lesbian couples will be the ones getting married.

Just a day after gay and lesbian couples celebrated the first same-sex marriages in New Jersey, some local officiants of marriage say the new law brings a new issue to the Garden State.

Reverend Pearl Chenette is a lesbian woman and non-denominational minister who supports same-sex marriage in her home state of New Jersey, but she says she has never actually performed a marriage ceremony for anyone, gay or straight, but she is considering starting now.  Chenette said, "Well I graduated in 2007, I was ordained, and it just didn't seem right for some people to get married and not everybody."

Chenette says she is considering changing her stance on the issue. Chenette said, "Well, I might since I'm from New Jersey and now that same-sex couples can get married in New Jersey - I might start marrying people, but I kind of thought I would hold out until it went straight across the board, and every state and everybody can get married."

While some residents warmly welcome the same-sex marriage ceremonies, others say that their strong religious beliefs do not coincide with the new state law regarding marriage.

Mayor Joseph Baruffi of Buena Borough says that after 12 years of performing marriage ceremonies, he will no longer perform the sacrament for any couple, gay or straight, because of his strong Roman Catholic beliefs.

Baruffi explained, "I believe that marriage should be between a man and a woman and I stick by my religious beliefs."

Mayor Baruffi says he respects same-sex couples and does not hold any prejudices towards the couples getting married, and insists his decision is based solely on his religious upbringing.

Baruffi told NBC40, "My stance is for my religious beliefs and purposes.  I will no longer be performing marriages anywhere in the state and not in Buena.  Again, it is solely based on religious belief.  Even those who don't agree with that, I still respect them and will continue to do my job as mayor until I leave office."

Many other mayors in South Jersey say they will continue to perform marriages for same-sex couples.

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