Updated 8:15 p.m.
Newly-elected to the U.S. Senate, Cory Booker is using his last days as Newark mayor as a chance to curry favor with the Democratic base by officiating weddings for same-sex couples. Shortly after a state Supreme Court ruling Friday paved the way for such unions, Booker’s office said he would begin marrying same-sex couples at 12:01 a.m. on Monday, the first moment they are allowed.
For more than seven years, Mayor Booker has refused all requests to officiate New Jersey marriages because gay couples have been denied that equal right,” spokesman James Allen said. “After today’s wonderful news, Mayor Booker is excited to marry both straight and gay couples in City Hall on Monday morning beginning at 12:01 a.m.
Buzzfeed first reported Friday that Booker planned to begin overseeing the ceremonies right at the deadline by which a New Jersey judge had recently ruled the state must allow same-sex marriage.
“As a passionate advocate for marriage equality, Mayor Booker has long hoped to be able to marry same-sex couples in Newark City Hall,” Allen told TIME earlier Friday. “The city is currently ironing out some legal issues before determining the appropriate next steps.”
The state Supreme Court ruling took care of those issues, by denying Gov. Chris Christie’s request to stay the lower court’s ruling while his administration appeals it.
At least 10 couples and their families were already moving forward with early-morning wedding plans, according to Buzzfeed.
Booker, who won a special election for Senate on Tuesday and will take office in Washington later this year, is often mentioned as a potential 2016 presidential candidate. If he decided to launch a campaign, presiding over same-sex marriages at the first moment possible could prove a potent visual in a Democratic primary.