With those simple words, heard so often at the altar between man and woman, New York ushered in a new era of marriage equality at midnight on Sunday.
Paul A. Dyster, mayor of Niagara Falls, made that proclamation exactly one month after New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the Marriage Equality Act, the law that legalized same-sex marriage in the state. On Sunday, the wedding bells began to ring for so many couples, including 54-year-old Kitty Lambert and 53-year-old Cheryle Rudd, who married 12 years to the day of their first date. Dyster officiated the Lambert/Rudd nuptials personally, in what may have been the first same-sex wedding in New York.
Dale Getto and Barbara Laven mare also laying claim to that title. Albany Mayor Gerald D. Jennings says he timed it perfectly: “I summed it up right at twelve-oh-one-second,” he said.
New York City didn’t save the best for last: The adorable couple of Phyllis Siegal, 76, and Connie Kopelov, 85, became the first same-sex couple to marry at NYC’s City Hall.
The pair, together for 23 years, said “I do” at 9:02 am at the marriage bureau in Lower Manhattan — City Clerk Michael McSweeney officiated the wedding. “This is the first day of the rest of our lives,” Siegel told reporters outside.
Marcos Chaljub and Freddy Zambrano followed the Chelsea residents, Siegal and Kopelov, and the day was off and running on a slew of marriages at City Hall. The New York City clerk’s office received more than 2,600 requests for marriage licenses since officials changed the application from “Groom and Bride” to “Spouse A and Spouse B.” Overwhelmed, city authorities set up a lottery that allocated 764 slots for couples who wished to either get married or apply for a license on Sunday.
Rod and Ricky, the two gay characters from the Broadway musical Avenue Q, followed through on a promise to celebrate the day by becoming the first gay puppets to wed:
Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz personally opened up Borough Hall to usher in this new era in his borough and host a long line of ceremonies:
Some highlights from the Siegal and Kopelov wedding:
New York officially joined Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont and New Hampshire as the only states that allow same-sex marriage. The District of Columbia rounds out the list.
–New York says ‘I do’ to gay marriage – in pictures [The Guardian] –Marriage Equality Comes to New York as Gay and Lesbian Couples Wed Across the State [Tlrd] –Stand with New York. #IDoNY [GLAAD blog] –Protesters Vow To Unseat Lawmakers Who Support Same-Sex Marriage [NY1] –Photos: Brute inequality in the streets of Manhattan [Good As You] –CBS’ Rebecca Jarvis spoke with NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg [CBS] –Ready to Wed? No, Mom. [NYT]