More than 1,500 New Yorkers gathered today in Manhattan to mourn the death of a 32 year-old gay man, who was shot down on Friday just blocks away from the historic Stonewall Inn in an apparent act of anti-gay bias.
GLAAD Staff on the ground at the Manhattan City Clerk’s Office on Sunday, July 24
By 8:00 a.m., the streets around Worth St. and Foley Square were packed with supporters, media, and hundreds of happy couples with their children, families and friends. The long wait for marriage equality in New York has finally come to an end. GLAAD staff were on the ground at the Manhattan City Clerk’s office yesterday, offering media training and assistance to the excited couples.
484 couples married in the city yesterday, with even more picking up marriages licenses to be married in the coming weeks. In Manhattan, they lined the streets, beaming and cheering in spite of the heat. Supporters handed out sunflowers, cookies, confetti and blue sashes that read “Just Married.” Officiants, wedding planners, photographers and bakeries handed out business cards, and volunteers from Marriage Equality New York held a wall of rainbow umbrellas over the waiting lines. One police officer, overtaken with emotion, stepped inside the barricades outside of the clerk’s office to shake the couples’ hands.
Dozens of faith leaders could be seen as well, filling the parks around the City Clerk’s Office, speaking to the media, officiating marriages under a rainbow chuppa, and providing a strong visual reminder to the amassed crowds that while some of the loudest anti-gay voices may justify their positions with religion, many people of faith welcome and affirm marriages for all couples. In the weeks leading up to the commencement of marriage equality in New York, GLAAD reached out to faith leaders who support marriage equality to elevate their voices in the media, and 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.
Around 8:30 a.m., a spokesperson for the clerk’s office announced that the first couple was now inside. Press rushed to the back of the building to catch photos of the newlyweds exiting the building. “We’ll yell ‘Congratulations’ on ‘three,’” advised a supporter to the crowd behind the building. And finally, after a long wait and one last month of anticipation, the first couple married stepped out onto the steps – Phyllis Siegel, 76, and Connie Koplelov, 84. They have been together for 23 years.
Over the course of the day, GLAAD media-trained couples were and continue to be interviewed and featured by The New York Times, the BBC, 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, spreading news of love and commitment, and no doubt inspiring support for marriage equality in other states and across the world. Photos and video from the day can be seen here.