Gay Couples Begin Marrying in New York
At 12:01am Sunday morning, Kitty Lambert and Cheryle Rudd -- together for more than a decade with 12 grandchildren between them -- became the first gay couple to marry in New York state.
As hundreds of supporters cheered, Lambert, 54, and Rudd, 53, exchanged vows in front of Niagara Falls, which was illuminated in rainbow-colored lights to mark the occasion.
On the landmark day that New York became the sixth and largest state to recognize same-sex marriage, hundreds more weddings are expected to take place.
In Manhattan alone, about 100 couples waited in line at the city clerk's office to exchange vows. The first pair to take the plunge there was Phyllis Siegel, 76, and Connie Kopelov, 84, who have been together for 23 years. Kopelov stood with the assistance of a walker, and held hands with her now-wife during the service.
"I am breathless. I almost couldn't breathe," Siegel said after the ceremony. "It's mind-boggling. The fact that's it's happening to us — that we are finally legal and can do this like everyone else."
On Long Island, Steven Hammer, 46, and Joe Lobosco, 63, who were married in Canada eight years ago, chose to wed again in their home state.
"After 21 years together, we're not going to get cold feet," Hammer said. "It justifies everything we've been living for 21 years."
New York now joins Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont, along with Washington, D.C., in allowing legal same-sex marriages.