The first gay couples to marry in Washington DC held their ceremonies today.

They were able to apply for marriage licences last Wednesday and, due to a mandatory waiting period, the first ceremonies were set to take place today.

Around 150 couples were expected to pick up their marriage licences this morning.

The DC office of the Human Rights Campaign is hosting three weddings starting from 10am.

Angelisa Young and Sinjoyla Townsend, Reginald (Reggie) Stanley and Rocky Galloway and Rev Elder Darlene Garner and Rev Lorilyn Candy Holmes will become the first three couples to legally tie the knot in DC.

The first couple, Ms Young and Ms Townsend, were also the first in line to apply for a marriage licence last week.

All of the couples are parents, while Rev Garner and Rev Holmes are mothers, grandmothers and great-grandmothers.

The law was signed by DC mayor Adrian Fenty in November and has passed a congressional review. The district follows five other states in allowing gay couples the right to marry.

Officials at the city hall prepared for the change by making marriage applications gender-neutral and registrars have been given new advice on officiating ceremonies.

Opponents had attempted a last-minute appeal to block the law but this was declined by the US Supreme Court.

Chief Justice John Roberts did not address the legal issues involved but instead said that such decisions should be taken by local courts.

He also declined a request for a referendum on gay marriage.

Religious and ‘family’ groups are expected to continue their efforts to repeal the law.

The ceremonies can be watched live here http://www.hrc.org/MarriageDC/