The story of Peter Auperrle and Stewart Fishbein, who last week became the first same-sex couple to be married in Hoboken, reads like a history of the gay rights movement. In the 20 years that they’ve been together, Aupperle and Fishbein have “tied the knot” in four different types of ceremonies, as each became legal. First they made formal commitments, then they entered into a domestic partnership, and finally they celebrated a civil union.
On Monday, they were married for good.
“It’s nice to know things won’t change again,” said Aupperle of New Jersey Gov. Christopher Christie’s decision not to fight a judge’s ruling that gay marriage in New Jersey is constitutional. “We’re ecstatic.”
The couple was married by Mayor Dawn Zimmer on the steps of City Hall before a group of witnesses and news media, but interestingly, no family or guests were present. Fishbein joked that he had told them to stay home.
“We’ve done this so many times, this time they just told us to elope, so I guess we kind of did,” he said.
At the conclusion of the ceremony, Zimmer presented the couple with a special proclamation of marriage and a book of 100 Hoboken “firsts,” which she joked would have to be updated to now include the mile-square city’s first gay marriage.
Asked if he had a message for members of New Jersey’s gay community who might follow the lead of him and his husband, Fishbein simply said they shouldn’t waste any time. “Come on in; the water’s great,” he said.
Aupperle and Fishbein have the distinction of being the first couple to marry in Hoboken, but they weren’t the first to apply. That honor went to Allen Kratz and Paul Somerville, Hoboken residents who have been together since 1985. They married on Thursday evening in a ceremony Somerville said was “small, simple and elegant.”
He made a statement on civil rights when asked how he felt about finally being allowed to legally marry.
“These things have always come too early for people in power and too late for people who are denied the same rights,” he said.