NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Same-sex marriage is now legal in the Empire State.

Gay couples cheered by supporters tied the knot Sunday in New York City on the landmark day that New York became the sixth and largest state to recognize same-sex weddings.

Officials expected to host hundreds of same-sex weddings, and they did not disappoint. About 100 couples waited in line outside the city clerk’s office Sunday morning for the chance to exchange their vows.

The first to be married at the city clerk’s office was 75-year-old Phyllis Siegel, a retired bookkeeper, and 85-year-old Connie Kopelov, a retired labor educator.

Phyllis Siegel, 76, left, and Connie Kopelov, 84, both of New York, embrace after becoming the first same-sex couple to get married at the Manhattan City Clerk's office, Sunday, July 24, 2011. (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow)

The two have been together for 23 years and Sunday morning, they finally exchanged vows.

“Today, Phyllis and Connie come together to pledge to live the rest of their lives as one,” said  City Clerk Michael McSweeney who presided over the wedding. “These are two independent people who are joining together because they can see and they feel how much better their lives will be. They wish to establish a union which is greater than the sums of its parts.”

A cheer erupted in the room when McSweeney pronounced them officially married. “I am breathless,” Siegel said afterward. “I almost couldn’t breathe. I am happy.”

1010 WINS’ Steve Sandberg reports: A Long Wait For Siegel And Kopelov

Many couples waiting outside the city clerk’s office held bouquets and wore tuxedos or wedding dresses before being ushered in for a license and a ceremony in one of the building’s simple chapels.

Couples wait outside of the city clerk's office in New York City, June 24, 2011 (credit: Steve Sandberg/1010 WINS)

But some of the first ceremonies were held early Sunday morning just after midnight around the state.

Among the first gay couples to marry in New York were Kitty Lambert and Cheryle Rudd of Buffalo. They celebrated their now legal nuptials at Niagara Falls.

Closer to home in North Hempstead, Long Island was the wedding of Patrick Simeone and Francisco Fuertes. They finally exchanged vows after being together for 23 years.

LISTEN: 1010 WINS’ Terry Sheridan reports

“To me, it was ‘About time,”’ said Fuertes, a 55-year-old operations director for a retail company.

Simeone, a stylist on Long Island’s north shore, said he’s only sorry it took New York so long to recognize same-sex marriage. “It’s such a leader in many different ways,” he said.

Francisco Fuertes and Patrick Simeone were married in North Hempstead, NY (credit: CBS 2)

After the ceremony, Simeone said that despite being together 23 years, he felt different. “We’re happily married,” he said shortly after 1 a.m. “I feel more loving. Kinder, more tender, more loved.’

New York is now the largest state in the nation to officially recognize same-sex marriage. It was one month ago that lawmakers in Albany approved the legislation.

Four members of the Republican majority and all but one Democrat in the Senate voted in favor after years of intense and emotional campaigning and protests.

Gay marriage opponents still staunchly against the new law. Even a town clerk upstate chose to resign rather than officiate a gay wedding.

“This is a law I could not uphold and so I felt it was time I should step aside,” said the former town clerk Ruth Sheldon.

The National Organization for Marriage held rallies Sunday afternoon in New York City, Albany, Rochester and Buffalo, saying Gov. Andrew Cuomo and lawmakers redefined marriage without giving voters a chance to weigh-in, as they have in other states.

Protesters chanted “Let the People Vote!” at rallies across the state.

Still, there’s no stopping the law and the love. Francisco and Patrick were practically speechless over their vows.

Judges were being posted in New York City clerks’ offices on Sunday to officiate and to consider waiver requests to the state’s mandatory 24-hour wait between issuing a license and a having ceremony.

Couples without waivers can’t wed until Monday or Tuesday, depending on whether their local clerks issue licenses Sunday.

What do you think? Sound off below in our comments section…

(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

Comments (52)
  1. PIKE BISHOP JR. says:

    the pics of the gay cretins animals have gay sex too?

  2. Dakotahgeo says:


  3. Vik says:

    Disgusting!! ‘Nuf said.

  4. BF says:

    What has our world come to. The governor is living with a mistress in Albany and the Mayor is marrying two gay people who will eventually commit sodomy. Not to many years ago this stuff would have repulsed a community to the point of asking these gentleman to step down. This is definitely because we have to much sugar in our drinks and our heads are clouded with to much smoke and our food is to salted. We all lack the moral value to really stand up and say there should be some moral values. By the way have you noticed that we are broke, except for the insulated rich. Look at Leviticus 26 in the Bible. Get ready for a fun ride because we are self destructing ourselves with all of our pride and super intelligence.

  5. uhoh says:

    Can’t wait for the gay divorce court shows to start.

  6. Dakotahgeo says:

    Your comment has been reported, wardvista!

  7. confused says:

    I was wondering since same sex marriage is legal can I marry my dog he needs an operation and has no healthcare

    1. Angelo says:

      Yes, as long as you are a dog, same sex of yours, living in a place where weddings between dogs are recognized.

    2. Dakotahgeo says:

      If you’re that confused, confused, they’ll never grant you a marriage license, based on your mental capacity. The dog would be very smart to turn you down.

      1. Dakotahgeo says:


      2. confused says:

        you should talk about mental capacity puffer. hope you enjoy the heat, theres plenty of that in hell

    3. Bob Fowler says:

      confused, if they won’t let you and your dog marry, can you set me up with him?

  8. Rooster says:

    Dearest Very Conservative (or, I choose to live in the 12tth Century…),

    Please, if you really were conservative, you know that one of the chief tenants of conservatism is to get the government out of our personal lives. You, obviously are obsessed with other people’s lives. So much so, that you feel you have to meddle in the happiness of others. How sad for you.

    So, my dear conservative, I have some advice for you. MIND YOUR OWN GD BUSINESS AND GET A LIFE! Geeeee, you’re like Mrs. Kravitz on Bewitched, peering out the curtains looking at the scary world you obviously believe you live in via the comment section at sites like these. Enough!

    1. Bob Fowler says:

      If the government was to stay out of our lives, why then were they asked to legislate change in our lives? Until recently, it was commonly accepted that marriage was between a man and a woman. Apparently, having the government in our lives is something that people want to achieve their personal agenda.

  9. enough already says:

    thankyou como for turning marriage into a joke. thankyou for bringing more freaks to my neighborhood.

    1. Dakotahgeo says:

      Welllll, he didn’t want you to feel alone, enough already. Now you’ll have enough playmates to keep you off the internet.

      1. Dakotahgeo says:


      2. enough already says:

        dakota go back to whatever town you weren’t accepted in stop ruining my neighborhood

  10. Dakotahgeo says:

    It’s heartening to see that the CBSNew York’s censors are at work cleaning up the hater’s messages. I for one appreciate it immensely!!!

    1. normal says:

      You should see the comments regarding the brawl on the L train a few days ago. Guess the censors sept through through those… And BTW….FLAG YOU!!!

      1. Dakotahgeo says:

        “slept”… SLEPT!!! Not sept. That’s a bad attempt to abbreviate Sept., for September.

      2. normal says:

        ***SLEPT*** Pardon me. And glad to see someone else has no life but to stalk this comment section as well.

  11. normal says:

    Packers. And I don’t mean the Green Bay type.

    1. Dakotahgeo says:

      normal??? Hardly!!! Flagged!

      1. Dakotahgeo says:


  12. Me says:

    “1- Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2 – For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. 3 – “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4 – How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5 – You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

  13. Drop the hate says:

    As it should be. For all of the people so against it . . . WHY does it matter to you? I am a heterosexual, married, catholic female and I have no clue why some of you are so hatefull. MY god is about love. It doesn’t matter WHAT human tells me that discrimiation is okay. It is not okay with me to exclude and it is not okay with the God that I worship.
    I am disheartened, however, with all of the heteros who get divorces at the drop of a hat for stupid reasons. AND those of you who cheat.
    What happened to integrity, people?

    1. Roy says:

      God bless you for speaking the truth! The haters love to quote Bible text but they forget that it’s a sin to judge. “Let those without sin cast the first stone” and “judge not” I am sure that the haters on here have plenty to worry about. Their hate alone will eat them up. God would want us to love and respect each other, not tear each other apart.

      Matthew 7:1-5

      “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.

      Luke 6:37

      “Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven;

      James 4:11-12 ESV / 276 helpful votes

      Do not speak evil against one another, brothers. The one who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor?

  14. Chris says:

    This country is facing some major issues and this is the least of our problems, although I dont agree with the lifestyle people still should have rights, I personally find it nauseating but its not for me to decide how people live there lives

    1. Lisa says:

      So Chris, you don’t agree with people who are born the way they are? You find it “nauseating” that people can be different from you who did not choose their sexuality like you didn’t choose yours? I don’t blame you because you were fed the same lies many of us were fed about the lifestyle. When a person walks in another mans shoes, then you will know.

      1. Thank You says:

        You are so right, Lisa.

        People have been brainwashed to hate certain groups. It is not right or just.

        And not very smart, either!

        (Ever wonder why college educated folks are more likely to be accepting?)

  15. Jay says:

    To those of you who are leaving hateful comments: Why not take out your hate and intolerance elsewhere. Do you see gay people killing, raping, stealing, mugging etc? We knew our child was gay at age 6 which he later confirmed. Does a six year old child make a “choice?” Did you chose your sexuality? You tell me one heterosexual that can say they made a choice to be gay. Most people who are comfortable with their own sexuality will let others live and let live. Many gay bashers are known to be closet gay themselves who are fighting the feeling. I suggest you seek therapy to deal with it. Take your displaced anger and channel it into something constructive by focusing on what is really bringing down this country; no jobs, bad economy, crime, etc. Stop being a coward and directing hate towards a group that bothers no one. A group of people that have brought us art and entertainment – talented people. All I know is that if someone were to harm my child because he was gay would be regret the day if they ever faced me. For those who want to bring the Bible into this, well I have a lot to say on that too. “Live and let live!”

    1. Jay says:

      You tell me one heterosexual that can say they made a choice to be straight?

  16. John says:

    Who cares? There is more important stuff to talk about. This should not be the front page topic.

    1. Michael Knight says:

      ….and I fully agree with you, John!

    2. Angelo says:

      Considering the amount of bad news filling the front pages of every newspaper worldwide, I think sometimes we should learn to enjoy good news, news reporting of happy people.

  17. Bob Fowler says:

    Is any of this actually anything more than an attention grab? Seriously, if equal rights were all that they were after, gays would have had the laws changed to include civil unions are the equal of marriage. Instead, there needs to be a law that allows gays to marry, which was a religious institution before it became civil. If gays don’t want to adhere to the religious practices, why then would they want to be part of a religious institution if not just for the publicity?

    This is really nothing more than a black man suing to be allowed membership in the Klan. They have totally different agendas, so why would they be forced to merge? Oh yeah, votes.

    1. unreligious says:

      Actually marriage is and always has been a civil function. Marriages existed long before Christianity existed. The early Christian church did not preform marriages. Before the Justinian Code (527-565) a simple statement that you were married was all that was required. Catholic marriage celebrated at a Catholic church before a priest and two witnesses only became enforced at the Council of Trent (1563).
      Your comment that Gays would have had the laws changed to included civil unions is ridicules. Gay people have only been able to get 21 states to pass non-discrimination laws and the federal government not at all. Many of the states that ban Gay marriage also ban civil unions. Your argument is that last refuge of people who feel Gay people are second class citizens and only deserve second class relationship statues.

      1. Dakotahgeo says:

        Historically and factually correct, unreligious! Thank you!
        Dakotahgeo, M.Div. Pastor/Chaplain

  18. Very conservative says:

    Hey, don’t say that. We don’t want to upset the liberals.

  19. Change for the Future says:

    Conservatism is the largest mental disorder, as the world changes, the people and the laws must change with it. As a conservative you should recognize that our Founding Fathers left us with the option to amend the constitution to fit the country’s needs and wants as it grows through the years. And to everyone that believes it goes against religion, church and state has been separated for many years now. And as a conservative you must recognize that our Founding Fathers were not all religious. Thomas Jefferson was quoted as saying that the one thing he fears for this country is the faithful as the are not willing to accept change.

    1. Very conservative says:

      You will never get it. It is people like yourself that are causing all the problems that this once great nation are facing today.

      And I don’t have anything against college sports, gay marriage, or even Jackie Robinson day. Just don’t unnecessarily overhype it.

    2. TomNJ says:

      Change yes, but this? Come on. Do you really think the founding Fathers would have patted Thomas Jefferson on the back if he walked into a meeting holding hands with his boyfriend? That sort of thinking is crazy. Just because a tiny minority of citizens screams loud we are supposed to all agree with them? Never. I cant change what has been done now, but I will never agree with it.

    3. Bob Fowler says:

      Change…can you show me in the Constitution where church and state were separated? While you are at it, can you show me where the United States of America was not founded, based upon religion?

      Now I realize that these are ‘common knowledge’ today, but, they are not based on fact. The Constitution bans the government from forming a national religion, but it prohibits anything that bans the practice of any religion (ergo the 10 Commandments should not be removed from courthouse, the Cross id San Diego should not be removed, crosses on graves in national cemeteries are not unconstitutional…)

      If you really want to play religion versus the Constitution, you would do wll to be better prepared in your argument.

  20. Very conservative says:

    Too many things get way too much publicity and have since become a circus: college sports, Jackie Robinson day in baseball, obama being the first (not even fully) black “president”, and now this.

  21. Dakotahgeo says:

    Anull gay marriages? If the Catholic church does not approve or support gay marriages, there is nothing to anull. If you mean to “repeal” gay marriages, sorry, they cannot be repealed as in the case of CA’s gay marriages…they’re legally married and should survive any meddling in the future. The times have changed drmatically.

  22. wayne says:

    ….by the way… it true that those 2 resigned clerks had been issuing marriage licenses to divorcees when God wasn’t looking?????

  23. wayne says:

    ….leave it to the Gays….the only group which has created jobs!!!!

  24. gary says:

    Love has no boundries ,nys lawyers will love this , federal laws dont apply to same sex marraiges, not reconized by catholic churches , the pope must be having stress attacks by now , Its been around for years , if they want to marry , let them . Somewhere down the line someone will find a way to anull all gay marraiges . Again I repeat what Gulliani said , get out of the bedrroms of people and get the country rightened and running like it should .

  25. Dakotahgeo says:

    Normal? You’re hardly that! Pray that your heart is softened for more people than yourself.

    1. Very conservative says:

      Liberalism is a mental disorder.

  26. Dakotahgeo says:

    Wowwww!….just…Wow!!! Blessings, Peace, and Joy to ALL the happy couples!!!
    Dakotahgeo, M.Div. Pastor/Chaplain

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