Wednesday, August 20 2014 5:43 AM EDT2014-08-20 09:43:48 GMT
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -
The first same-sex couples to wed in Hawaii celebrated their marriage ceremonies just after midnight on Monday morning, when the state's Marriage Equality Law officially went into effect.
Six gay couples, some who have been together as long as 35 years and all of whom had already had civil unions, marched down the aisle and exchanged vows with one another during a gathering at the Sheraton Waikiki.
"It was amazing to finally actually have marriage equality here," said Michael Golojuch, Jr. "It brings it all home to us. A 23 year struggle. We are now complete."
The Associated Press reported over the weekend that Hawaii expects to benefit from an estimated $217 million dollar boost in tourism over the next three years, with same-sex couples from other states seeking destination weddings.
Golojuch, who serves as the Chairman of Honolulu Pride, told the AP that the Sheraton's midnight event shows that major hotels realize the potential of the gay weddings market.
The marriages were delayed by about 25 minutes due to a technical glitch similar to the one which affected civil unions two years ago, when computers were not able to handle the volume of requests.
The application website was set to include options to identify individuals as bride and groom, groom and groom or spouse and spouse.