As the state’s equal marriage law came into effect, same-sex couples began to marry today in Hawaii.

Six couples in the state married just after midnight, when the equal marriage law, passed and signed by the state’s Governor last month, took effect.

Mass ceremonies also took place in certain resorts, while a Unitarian minister planned to marry in Honolulu. The state’s law allows couples to register and marry in the same day, allowing tourists, or those only in the state a short time, to take advantage of the law.

“Finally, today now all those who have been invisible will be visible to themselves and the whole world,” Governor Neil Abercrombie said on signing the bill into law.

Earlier, US President Barack Obama has applauded his birthplace Hawaii for becoming the 15th US state to legalise same-sex marriage, saying “I have always been proud to have been born in Hawaii, and today’s vote makes me even prouder.”

The President issued his statement immediately after the state Senate gave its final approval to the bill.

He said: “With today’s vote, Hawaii joins a growing number of states that recognise that our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters should be treated fairly and equally under the law.

“Whenever freedom and equality are affirmed, our country becomes stronger. By giving loving gay and lesbian couples the right to marry if they choose, Hawaii exemplifies the values we hold dear as a nation.”