It was a historic day as New York became the sixth state in the union to legalize same-sex marriage. According to Politico reporter Ben Smith, "484 same sex marriages in nyc today, per City Hall," including the two women in the photo above, Connie Kopelov, 85, and Phyllis Seagal, 77, who were the first couple married in Manhattan this morning. "I am breathless. The fact that it's happening to us, that we are finally legal and can do this like everyone one else. It's mind boggling," Siegel said after a ceremony at Manhattan's marriage bureau.
City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who is openly gay, was on hand for their ceremony, and broke down in tears when they kissed: "When the city clerk said, 'I now, under the power of the laws of the state of New York, marry you,' it was an unbelievable thing to hear. To hear that he was marrying these two women, both in their 80s, because the law of my state gives them that power was an overwhelming and thrilling thing to hear." Newlywed Jim Consolantis put it this way: "To be able to finally say that we're legally wedded rather than 'living in sin' means the world to us."
Gabriel Blau and Dylan Stein, who had hand-drawn boutineers from their three-year-old son, said they had a religious wedding five years before, but were overjoyed to make it legal today: "The rabbi that day five years ago said, 'The State of New York was invited and declined the invitation.' And we're really excited that today we get to complete that ceremony," Blau told NY1.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo praised the legislators who voted for marriage equality, and called this a proud day to be a New Yorker: "This is a statement that we should all feel good about. New York has always been about equality and bringing people in. New York has always been about acceptance...This state has always been at the progressive lead in making statements of equality, that this is a land of opportunity. This is a land of equality," he said today.
Mayor Bloomberg, who presided over the marriage of two city employees today, said on ABC's "This Week" that he saw this as one step toward establishing total equality for same-sex couples in the country: "To me, America has always stood for the freedom to practice your religion, say what you want to say, do what you want to do, as long as it doesn't hurt others and also not impose any one person's religion on others, and in this case it's doing both," the mayor said. CodeBluePolitics shared that sentiment: "With polls trending strongly in favor of marriage equality, the euphoria felt today in New York will gradually sweep the nation. The fight is not over but the ultimate outcome is no longer in doubt."
Below, you can see two videos of the first gay marriages in Brooklyn. In the first video, watch out for Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz at the end, who notes to the happy couple, "you had us all crying":
Altogether, 659 couples picked up licenses and 484 wed at city marriage bureaus today: 293 of those weddings were in Manhattan, 66 in Queens, 66 in Brooklyn, 32 on Staten Island and 27 in the Bronx. According to the Times, 107 of those couples who married in the city had arrived from other states such as California and Alabama, where same-sex marriage is not legal.
Of course, as ABC's somewhat tone-deaf title put it, newly married gay couples now have to face the reality that "40 to 50 percent of all marriages between a man and a woman end in divorce in the United States." Not exactly what we'd be focusing on today, but there's one thing everyone does agree on: marriage equality is going to be very good for business in NY.