NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. (AP) — Still in the blush of midnight matrimonies across New York, a large numbers of gay couples were likely to marry on Sunday on the first full day that same-sex marriages were legal in the Empire State.
New York City alone was ready to host many hundred same-sex marriages, and clerks, judges and other officials in numerous cities around the state were grapping their doors on a Sunday to change to gay couples.
Judges were being placed in New York City clerks' offices on Sunday to preside and to think waiver appeal to the state's mandatory 24-hour wait between issuing a license and a having ritual. Couples without waivers can't marry until Monday or Tuesday, depending on whether their local clerks issue licenses Sunday.
Earlier, New York City officers had expected that about 2,500 couples might show up at the city clerk's offices eager to get married on Sunday, but by the time a 48-hour lottery had drawn to a close on Thursday, 823 couples had signed up — 59 above the city had planned to lodge. The city will execute ceremonies for all 823.
The first couples got married at the stroke of midnight Saturday in every corner of the state, from Niagara Falls to the capital in Albany to Long Island.
New York became the sixth, and biggest, state to permit gay marriages last month, a highly expected vote that was sought as a crucial moment in the nationwide gay rights movement and was probably to stimulate supporters and foes alike.
Gay-rights campaigners Kitty Lambert and Cheryle Rudd were lawfully married the very first moment they could be during a midnight ceremony at Niagara Falls.
With a rainbow-lit Niagara Falls as a background Lambert, 54, and Rudd, 53, were among the first gay couples to tie the knot with the blessing of the state. Lambert and Rudd, grandmothers with 12 grandchildren between them, have been together for in excess of 10 years and had long been insisting for the right to wed.
The couple, both from Buffalo, smiled largely as they replaced traditional weds vows, promising to love and value each other in illness and in good health. A crowd of many hundred people applauded as they were announced wedded and shared their first kiss.
"What an unbelievable night this was," said Lambert, who wore an electric blue satin gown with a sequined train for the midnight observance and carried a bouquet of blue hydrangeas. "This was an remarkable night. Everything was totally perfect."
Rudd, who wore a white tuxedo with tails and white tennis shoes, said she felt "great relief" at being married because now she's "just like anybody else" and has the similar rights.
"It experiences great: I'm married," she said with a delightful laugh.
Mayor Paul Dyster executed the observance, which was attended by some of the state representatives whose vote last month made it possible.
Lambert said in the days leading up to the occasion that she had told Rudd "way back that when this went through we won't wait a second longer than we have to."
In Albany, Mayor Jerry Jennings executed wedding at 12:01 a.m. Sunday in the Common Council's chambers. A state Supreme Court judge given up the state-mandated 24-hour waiting period, Jennings said.
About 300 people packed the chambers for numerous ceremonies. Ariel Heintze and Kerry Doutrich, of Boulder, Colo., turned a long-planned visit to a friend into a reason to get a marriage license. Involved three years, they'll wed afterward at the home of their friend, Jan Moyer, of Brunswick.
"It's completely historic," Doutrich said.
New York's vote to permit gay marriage provided newer energy to the national force for same-sex marriages. New York attached Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont, along with Washington, D.C.
Supporters and opponents, many of whom refuse same-sex marriage per religious believes, said the New York vote, pushed by Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo, would revitalize both sides.
Demonstrates were planned around the state for Sunday, as well as in the state Capitol.
In Niagara Falls, Lambert and Rudd chose Luna Island at the foot of the Falls for the site of their observance, following in the tradition of innumerable other couples who've been wedding there for more than a century. The waterfalls were lit, for the first time, in the shades of the rainbow, the gay of gay parity and pride.
The couple cautiously planned a ceremony that would have them saying "I do" at one second past midnight, following a candlelit march.
The Falls also will be the backdrop for a group wedding on Monday, with more than 40 couples planning to at the same time marry.
On Long Island, Frank Fuertes and Patrick Simeone were married — again — in North Hempstead, just east of New York City. They wedded in Quebec three years before and had thought themselves married since they met and moved in together in 1988. They had a small observance with a handful of friends in front of Town Clerk Leslie Gross and planned to be back at "business as customary " Monday morning.
"To me, it was 'About time,'" said Fuertes, a 55-year-old operations director for a retail company.
Simeone, a creator on Long Island's north shore, said he's only sorry it took New York so long to distinguish same-sex weds.
"It's such a leader in many different ways," he said.
After the observance, Simeone said that in spite of being together 23 years, he felt different.
"We're gladly wed," he said soon after 1 a.m. "I feel more loving. Kinder, tenderer, more loved."