Same-sex pairs in Hawaii and Delaware began the new year as officially recognized couples as historic laws allowing civil unions in the two states took effect.
The long-awaited moment brings the number of states that grant civil unions or marriages to gay and lesbian couples to 11, in addition to Washington, D.C.
Donna Gedge and her partner of 33 years, Monica Montgomery, were one of four couples in Hawaii to take advantage of the new legislation Sunday at a joint ceremony held in a private home on the island on New Year’s Day shortly after midnight.
“We really don’t want to wait any longer because we have been together for 33 years waiting for the opportunity and our rights and everything that goes with it,” Gedge told CNN—affiliate KITV.
“So why wait?”
Same-sex marriage is legal in Washington, D.C., and Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont, New Hampshire and New York.
Five states recognize same-sex civil unions: Hawaii, Delaware, Illinois, New Jersey and Rhode Island.