HONOLULU (AP) — Same-sex couples are taking advantage of Hawaii's newfound aloha for gay weddings.
Six couples at a Waikiki resort tied the knot early Monday, exchanging vows side-by-side with one another in front of a few hundred guests shortly after midnight, while even more couples watched and waited their turn.
Across town, an openly gay Unitarian minister wed his partner of 15 years in a ceremony attended by clergy who pushed for the new law, plus Gov. Neil Abercrombie, who called the special legislative session that led to the law.
"One hundred percent tuned (out) everything else but her," Saralyn Morales said moments after cutting a small wedding cake after marrying her partner, Isajah Morales. "It's about making that commitment to the person that I want to spend the rest of my life with."
Hawaii's marriage laws allow couples to register for a license and be married the same day, a process conducive for tourists only in the state a short time.
Couples can sign up for a license online then be verified by any license agent throughout the state. Agents have set up shop throughout the islands, from resorts on Maui and the Big Island to hard-to-reach places on Kauai.
Saralyn and Isajah Morales began filling out license applications a few minutes after midnight along with other couples. Several license agents huddled around four laptops in a tiny conference room, refreshing their web browsers to coax a state-run website to load. A few feet away, wedding guests sipped champagne, dined on curried shrimp and portabella mushroom sliders, listened to piano music and took pictures with each of seven cakes on display for the occasion.
Couples who walked in to register on the spot posed with a three-tiered centerpiece cake, adorned with pink and white roses.