A record 659 couples married in New
York City on Sunday, as New York became the sixth – and most
populous – state to legalize gay marriage.
The Sunday nuptials shattered the
city's old record set in 2003 of 621 marriages in a single day on
Celebrations began at midnight in
several cities with mayors officiating over weddings at the earliest
With a rainbow-lit Niagara Falls as a
backdrop, gay activists Kitty Lambert, 54, and Cheryle Rudd, 53,
married surrounded by roughly 100 close friends and family. The
women, who together have 5 children and 12 grandchildren, have been
together for more than a decade.
Other cities, including Albany and Long
Island, also hosted midnight weddings.
In New York City, marriage bureaus in
all five boroughs were open for a full day, from 8:30AM to 4:30PM.
“Today was a historic day in our
city, and we couldn't be prouder that on the first day that everyone
in New York City could have their love affirmed in the eyes of the
law, we were able to serve everyone,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg said.
“I want to thank all of the city workers and volunteers who made
this success possible.”
Bloomberg, a long-time supporter of
marriage equality, also presided over the wedding of two City Hall
staffers – Jonathan Mintz, the commissioner of the Department of
Consumer Affairs and John Feinblatt, the mayor's top policy adviser –
at a ceremony on the footsteps of Gracie Mansion. The couple is
raising two daughters.
“Two people who loved each other
dearly came together and pledged their lives to each other,” he
said. “I'm glad I asked to be a part of it.”
Lines began to form outside marriage
bureaus at dawn, The Wall Street Journal
“I got a text about 6:45 saying there
was about two-dozen couples already in line,” said 39-year-old Greg
Schooler, who married his partner of 11 years on Sunday. “We knew
to get here early. Especially with the sun, you don't want to be
standing outside all day.”
Happy couples held up blue marriage
certificates and waved to the crowd of supporters – and in some
cases protesters – and soon-to-be brides and grooms as they emerged
from marriage bureaus.
City clerk's offices will remain open
until 6:30PM – two additional hours – for the remainder of the