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Dozens Of Gay Couples Tie The Knot In Mass Wedding Ceremony On Long Island

FARMINGDALE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Happy couples gathered on Long Island Tuesday to take part in the largest same-sex wedding ceremony since gay marriage became legal Sunday.

Before hundreds of guests, 56 couples tied the knot on a terrace overlooking the famed Black Course at Bethpage State Park in Farmingdale — which has twice been the home of the U.S. Open golf championships.

1010 WINS’ Mona Rivera reports: Sealed With A Kiss And Champagne

Jim Lawrence, 76, and Arthur Guilmette, 79, of Coram, have been together for 53 years and were finally able to say “I do.”

PHOTO GALLERY: Same-Sex Weddings

gay wed 001 Dozens Of Gay Couples Tie The Knot In Mass Wedding Ceremony On Long Island

Jim Lawrence, 76, and Arthur Guilmette, 79, of Coram, Long Island, in Bethpage State Park before exchanging vows in a mass wedding on July 26, 2011 (credit: Mona Rivera/1010 WINS)

David Kilmnick, of the Long Island Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Transgender Services Network, told 1010 WINS once it was a day of love and celebration that couples have been waiting for years to come.

“The significance of today was to really have a large showing on Long Island and give people the wedding they’ve always dreamed of,” Kilmnick said.

WCBS 880’s Steve Knight On Long Island

The reception was being donated by the operators of the Carlyle On The Green — the catering facility on the property.

On Monday, opponents filed a lawsuit to overturn the gay marriage law claiming the state Senate violated its own procedures and the state’s open meetings law when the bill was approved last month.

The Empire State joined five other states and Washington, D.C. in allowing same-sex couples to wed, and people have been saying their “I do’s” in every corner of the state from Niagara Falls to Long Island.

New York City officials signed off on a record 659 marriage licenses on the day the Marriage Equality Act became law. By late afternoon Monday, another 331 had tied the knot.

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