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Countdown to Midnight: New York same-sex couples prepare to say ‘I Do’

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Updated: Additional coverage here.

Hundreds of gay and lesbian couples in New York will say “I Do” on Sunday, as the state’s Marriage Equality Act takes effect in just one hour.

© Mykle Brossette, Mykelle Nicole Photography

The first marriages are scheduled to take place just after midnight in Niagara Falls, where officials planned to illuminate the famous cascade in the colors of a rainbow, and in Albany, where an eager mayor planned to marry eight gay couples.

In New York City, 823 couples signed up in advance to get marriage licenses on Sunday, and many of those couples were expected to marry minutes later in city clerk’s offices across the five boroughs.

Officials from more than a dozen cities and towns from Buffalo to Brookhaven said they would open their offices to issue marriage licenses on Sunday, and more than 100 judges across the state have volunteered to officiate at the couples’ weddings on the spot.

On Sunday, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg himself will officiate a same-sex ceremony at Gracie Mansion between two city officials, Consumer Aaffairs Commissioner Jonathan Mintz, and his partner of 14 years, Chief Policy Adviser John Feinblatt.

“New York really reflects and signifies that the center of gravity on this question has shifted,” said Evan Wolfson, the founder and president of Freedom to Marry, which advocates for same-sex marriage. “It gives us tremendous momentum for continuing the journey the country has been on toward fairness.”

The Marriage Equality Act was passed in the state Senate on Friday evening, June 24, and signed into law by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo at 11:55 p.m. ET, less than 2 hours after the vote. New York becomes the sixth and largest state to sanction same-sex marriage, which takes effect at 12:01 a.m. Sunday.

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27 more reader comments:

  1. FANTASTIC!!! THE REST OF THE U.S. NEEDS TO FOLLOW SUIT AND STOP BEING SO IGNORANT TO THE FACT THAT EVERYONE IN THE U.S. DESERVES THE SAME BASIC FREEDOMS, INCLUDING THE FREEDOM TO MARRY THE ONE YOU LOVE.

    Posted on Saturday, July 23, 2011 at 8:08pm
  2. Beautiful!

    Posted on Saturday, July 23, 2011 at 8:08pm
  3. I’m so excited, and I don’t even live in NY.

    Posted on Saturday, July 23, 2011 at 8:09pm
  4. I am happy for them

    Posted on Saturday, July 23, 2011 at 8:10pm
  5. Gay marriage is equality just like a marriage to a men and a women, all of same equal rights. Love is free

    Posted on Saturday, July 23, 2011 at 8:11pm
  6. History is unfolding right before our very eyes! I am keeping a very detailed journal so I may reflect upon these special moments years and decades from now!!! I can’t wait until the first NYTimes LGBT marriage announcements begin appearing-hopefully as early as next Sunday! :-)

    Posted on Saturday, July 23, 2011 at 8:13pm
  7. Octavian: You should share your journal with us all so we can remember as well.

    Posted on Saturday, July 23, 2011 at 8:15pm
  8. I promise to do that. Thank you Quinn. :-)

    Posted on Saturday, July 23, 2011 at 8:17pm
  9. This is a great day in history Just need the rest of the states that have not done this to make it legal

    Posted on Saturday, July 23, 2011 at 8:18pm
  10. Congrats to all those getting married. Hopefully it be across the board for everyone soon.

    Posted on Saturday, July 23, 2011 at 8:19pm
  11. I’m in Buffalo and I’d so go, but I’m sitting at the airport waiting for my dad to get in :S

    Posted on Saturday, July 23, 2011 at 8:20pm
  12. i hope many happy couple are formed today

    Posted on Saturday, July 23, 2011 at 8:23pm
  13. I’m crying from all the happiness and joy (even though I’m from california), finally people are starting to have equal rights! This is so amazing! Congrats to everyone getting married! (:

    Posted on Saturday, July 23, 2011 at 8:24pm
  14. This is one of those pivotal historical moments in time that combine the extra anticipation of the New Year’s Eve ushering in the 21st century, the night Obama was elected and what it must have felt like for those present at Stonewall in 1969. At midnight NY will take an incredible step forward that will echo throughout time!

    Posted on Saturday, July 23, 2011 at 8:25pm
  15. SO EXCITING!!!

    Posted on Saturday, July 23, 2011 at 8:26pm
  16. Missouri needs to do this some day. Dx

    Posted on Saturday, July 23, 2011 at 8:28pm
  17. I feel like I’m watching history unfold and it’s very exciting to be able to say, “I remember when this happened.”

    Posted on Saturday, July 23, 2011 at 8:29pm
  18. YESSSSS!! :D

    Posted on Saturday, July 23, 2011 at 8:29pm
  19. Congratulations to those of you getting married, let’s hope for a world wide marraige Equal! <3

    Posted on Saturday, July 23, 2011 at 8:29pm
  20. awesome.congrads everyone.

    Posted on Saturday, July 23, 2011 at 8:29pm
  21. go NY!

    Posted on Saturday, July 23, 2011 at 8:38pm
  22. now everyone ♥ NY :)

    Posted on Saturday, July 23, 2011 at 8:51pm
  23. :)

    Posted on Saturday, July 23, 2011 at 8:52pm
  24. YAY TO ALL

    Posted on Saturday, July 23, 2011 at 9:07pm
  25. Good wishes to allllllll!!!!!!

    Posted on Saturday, July 23, 2011 at 10:40pm
  26. Good show, New York! And wishing all of you about to wed happiness now and in the future.

    Too bad the fucksticks here in Texass will never get the memo.

    Posted on Sunday, July 24, 2011 at 1:29pm
  27. Once again, the world hasn’t come crashing down on us because of gay marriage…

    Posted on Tuesday, July 26, 2011 at 2:34pm