Newly-weds brandished their marriage certificates as ceremonies were held from Manhattan to Niagara Falls.Civil rights activists argue the US Congress should now repeal a federal law defining marriage as only existing between a man and a woman.But thousands of people condemned the weddings at rallies in the state.Just after midnight, Kitty Lambert, 54, and Cheryle Rudd, 53, from Buffalo, New York, were married at Luna Island, making it the state’s first same-sex union.Luna Island, at the foot of Niagara Falls, is a traditional wedding destination.”We’re achieving that real American dream to be treated like everybody else and be protected under all those laws,” Ms Lambert said after a ceremony held to the beat of pop star Lady Gaga’s The Edge of Glory.
In Manhattan, the first couple to marry were Phyllis Siegel, 77, and Connie Kopelov, 85, who have been together for 23 years.Ms Kopelov arrived in a wheelchair and stood with the assistance of a walker.”I am breathless, I almost couldn’t breathe,” Ms Siegel said later.
“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.”New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who had pushed for the gay marriage law to be adopted, was officiating at the marriage of two male colleagues in his official mayoral residence.
He told ABC television he thought gay marriage would take off across the US “simply because of the economics and the young people” who would gain more influence on politics in years to come.”Nothing is ever 100% but this is a trend that’s going, and it’s going to grow very rapidly, partially because New York is such a bellwether and so visible.”