Newark, N.J., Mayor Cory Booker, recently elected to the U.S. Senate and a keynote speaker at the Christian Catalyst conference in Atlanta earlier this month, had a protester removed from City Hall Monday after the man responded to his call for objections to a gay wedding ceremony by yelling that the marriage was "unlawful in the eyes of God and Jesus Christ."
"OK, ladies and gentlemen, it is officially past midnight. Marriage is equal in New Jersey," Booker bellowed to a crowd of spectators, civic officials, and gay and lesbian couples waiting to tie the knot while gathered early Monday morning at Newark's City Hall.
Booker noted the "great privilege" he felt in being able to participate in the first same-sex marriage ceremonies in the state since "marriage" was legally redefined to include gay and lesbian couples.
The Newark mayor called up, among a total of nine couples to be married just after midnight, Joseph Panessidi and Orville Bell, whom he called his longstanding friends.
As NJ.com reports:
Booker had asked if anyone had reason to object to the marriage and a protester screamed, "This is unlawful in the eyes of God and Jesus Christ."
Booker, who was elected to the U.S. Senate last week, called for the person to be removed and police dragged him out.
As Booker continued speaking, "...not hearing any substantive and worthy objections," thunderous applause erupted.
Booker, who identifies as Christian, was also featured via video as a keynote speaker at the Catalyst Atlanta conference held Oct. 2-4, which featured notable evangelical Christian leaders like John Piper, Andy Stanley, Priscilla Shirer, and several others. He reportedly shared how "The Golden Rule" guides his decisions, and his belief that purpose is more important than position.
The 44-year-old Democratic mayor stands among the 32 percent of black Protestant Americans who are in favor of same-sex marriage, according to the Pew Research Center, and in opposition to the 58 percent who believe abortion is morally wrong.
The Newark mayor, New Jersey's first African-American U.S. Senator, attends Metropolitan Baptist Church. The church is led by Pastor David Jefferson, who reportedly is conservative in his views on social issues, such as marriage.
Watch video of the same--sex marriage ceremony protest below: