Today, Sunday, July 24, marks the first day of marriage equality in the Empire State. Immediately after midnight, loving and committed gay and lesbian couples were able to make a lifelong promise to love, take care of, and be responsible for each other in front of their families and loved ones in New York.Many were wed right after the clock struck 12, and the weddings are continuing upstate and at each City Clerk’s Office in the five boroughs. Many will celebrate their unions with blessings from their affirming faith leaders. For these couples, and all of the gay and lesbian couples who will get married in New York in the future, being able to say those simple words, “I do,” means so very much. What exactly does "I do" mean to these couples who have built lives together based on love, dedication, and trust? Marriage means family. Marriage means always being able to take care of your spouse and your family with all of the protections that marriage provides. Marriage means growing old together and being there for each other during successes and failures, times of joy and times of sorrow, through the exciting and the mundane, and everything in between. Marriage is also a celebration full of vows, cheers, and toasts to the happy couple- a thrilling occasion for a couple who has decided to spend their lives together, especially for couples who have waited for so long to be able to marry in their home state. Leading up to today, GLAAD has been working around the clock to elevate these stories of love, joy, and commitment from couples who are planning their wedding celebrations as part of our “Stand With New York. I do.” campaign. The couples and their stories have been shared with national, local, and even international media, and most importantly with people across the country and the world who now understand why marriage matters to gay and lesbian couples and their families. GLAAD media-trained couples who are getting married today will be featured in outlets such as The Associated Press, Reuters, USA Today, Bloomberg News, NBC News, ABC News, People, Glamour, the New York Daily News, the Today Show, the Joy Behar show and many more. Their stories will reach millions and no doubt inspire support for marriage equality in other states. GLAAD has also reached out to faith leaders in New York who support marriage equality to elevate their voices in the media and has gathered an up-to-date list of affirming and inclusive places of worship that would be honored to host and officiate the marriage ceremonies of loving gay and lesbian couples across New York. Earlier this week, GLAAD encouraged everyone who is celebrating this historic day to show their support by changing their Facebook, Twitter, or Google+ profile pictures to one of two versions of the iconic “I Love New York” image. The vote that made marriage equality a reality in New York on June 24, 2011, was a triumphant step forward for equality, and GLAAD is so proud of the Empire State and everyone who worked so hard to achieve marriage equality in NY. And right now, GLAAD staff are on the ground in lower Manhattan at the Manhattan City Clerk’s Office offering media trainings and assistance to many of the 450 couples who will be getting married today. Several of GLAAD’s media-trained couples are a part of that lucky group of couples! Today is all about the loving gay and lesbian couples who can finally get married in the Empire State. Congratulations to all of the couples getting married on this very historic day and to all of the couples who will be marrying in New York in the future! We at GLAAD wish you a lifetime of love and happiness, and we raise our glasses in a toast to you!
To share your love story & wedding plans with GLAAD, go to: www.glaad.org/ny4m/couples.
For all the latest information on marriage in New York, go to: www.glaad.org/ny4m.