Gov. Andrew Cuomo said today has been a “long time coming” for gay-rights advocates as they celebrated the first day that same-sex marriage is legal in New York.
Weddings were being held across the state as gay couples took the opportunity to visit city halls to get married. Midnight ceremonies were held in Niagara Falls and Albany City Hall, and couples lined up this morning in New York City to get married.
“It’s a day that marriage equality can become a reality,” Cuomo said at a Marriage Equality event at the Dream Downtown Hotel in Manhattan.
Protesters held coordinated events in Manhattan, Albany, Rochester and Buffalo to call for a statewide referendum on the issue. The Let The People Vote campaign was streaming the events live here.
Cuomo said the push for same-sex marriage was about providing equality to all New Yorkers.
He was joined at the event by a number of elected officials, including Lt. Gov. Robert Duffy, Sen. Thomas Duane, D-Manhattan, who was the leading advocate in the Senate, and Republicans Sens. James Alesi of Perinton, Monroe County, and Stephen Saland of Poughkeepsie.
Cuomo praised Alesi for being the first Republican to say he would vote yes, and he praised Saland for being the 32nd vote—the final vote needed to get it passed in the state Senate on June 24.
The Democratic governor said the passage in New York will have ripple effects across the nation, saying, “You are going to see this sweep the nation because New York gave it credibility it didn’t have.”
At the end of his speech, Cuomo joked that couples now have no excuse if their partner wants to get married: “The only bad news of the day is now you have no excuse, my friends. When people say, ‘Well, how about it? Isn’t it time we got married?’ That you’re going to have to figure out the answer to.”
Here’s video from the midnight ceremony in Niagara Falls where Buffalo residents Kitty Lambert and Cheryle Rudd became the first same-sex couple in New York to get married, courtesy of Gannett’s WGRZ in Buffalo.