New York Gets Hitched!

Wedding bells have rung for the first gay couples in New York. Read The Daily Beast’s full coverage of the historic moment and see photos of the day’s celebrations.

07.24.11 2:30 PM ET

With rainbow-colored waterfalls behind them, Kitty Lambert and Cheryle Rudd became the first same-sex couple to marry in New York on Sunday, taking advantage of the state’s new law allowing gay marriage. (Or at least one of the first; there are competing claims.) The pair, who are grandmothers to 12 children from previous marriages, were wedded by Niagara Falls Mayor Paul A. Dyster just after midnight—12 years to the day after they had first met. “I may be the first person standing here in history,” Lambert said, “but I’m just an ordinary grandma.”

Lambert and Rudd are just one couple of many: State officials plan to marry all 823 couples—gay and straight—who applied to get hitched on the first day. The couples entered a lottery last week. New York, with 19.4 million residents, is the sixth and most populous state to legalize gay marriage. Clerks’ offices in New York City are typically closed on Sundays, but are opened today to honor the law.

Kitty Lambert, right, and  Cheryle Rudd celebrate their marriage in Niagara Falls, N.Y., Saturday, July 23, 2011. With a rainbow-lit Niagara Falls as a backdrop early Sunday, Lambert, 54, and Rudd, 53, were among the first gay couples to tie the knot with the blessing of the state, which last month became the sixth and largest to sanction gay marriage.  (AP Photo/David Duprey)

David Duprey / AP Photo

As same-sex couples march down the aisle in New York, the author reflects on his own life, love, and pursuit of happiness.

As a child, when I thought of the future, all I could see was black. I wasn’t miserable or depressed. I was a cheerful boy, as happy playing with my posse of male friends in elementary school as I was when I would occasionally take a day by myself in the woodlands that surrounded the small town I grew up in. But when I thought of the distant future, of what I would do and be as a grown-up, there was a blank. I simply didn’t know how I would live, where I would live, who I could live with. I knew one thing only: I couldn’t be like my dad. For some reason, I knew somewhere deep down that I couldn’t have a marriage like my parents.


A new grandmother on the other side of the Atlantic reflects on what it means to be part of a new kind of family.

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My beautiful first granddaughter was born on Friday, and I love her to pieces already. Both mothers are doing fine.

Huckleberry Florence, as she is called, weighed in at eight pounds, six ounces at 8:40 p.m. on Friday, perfect in every way. By all accounts, her mother Tiffany, my elder daughter’s long-term partner, had a fairly easy time giving birth in a Florida hospital. On the other side of the Atlantic, this granny was pacing the floor.


Eight years after Dominic and Andrew told Newsweek they hoped to marry someday, they’re finally tying the knot. They tell Jacob Bernstein how it feels on the eve of their wedding.

They first saw each other at a bar in the East Village in December 1998, and things did not immediately get off on the right foot. “It was all very confusing,” says Andrew Berg, 41, of meeting his future spouse, Dominic Pisciotta, 39.

“I had a biological daughter who’d just been born,” says Berg, the senior director of original programming at A&E, who’d been a sperm donor for a lesbian couple. “I was showing the picture to people, and [Pisciotta] thought I was some guy who left his wife at home with a newborn to go out drinking.”

Complicating matters further, Pisciotta was there with an ex-girlfriend.


The actor was engaged for two years but couldn’t legally marry. Then New York said ‘I do.’

I will always remember where we were when it happened. I had just finished speaking at the Pride service at New York’s gay synagogue, Congregation Beit Simchat Torah. The excitement was electric: we knew the vote was coming before the night was out and that it would almost surely be in our favor.


People lining the parade route hold signs thanking New York Governor Andrew Cuomo for the legalization of gay marriage during the Gay Pride Parade in New York June 26, 2011.

Jessica Rinaldi, Reuters / Landov


For some same-sex couples, freedom to marry means pressure to get hitched quick. Jessica Bennett on how the marriage ruling is complicating relationships—and disappointing moms.

Honey Davenport was in character, performing his usual set at a Manhattan drag bar. Clad in a rainbow leotard and platform heels, he took a swig of his drink and ripped off his wig—sweaty and exhausted from the hourlong performance. Suddenly cheers erupted: New York’s state legislature had legalized same-sex marriage, and on the eve of gay-pride weekend. Davenport’s boyfriend made his way to the stage and got down on one knee. “Will you marry me?” he asked.


For Evan Wolfson, who testifies today at a Senate panel on repealing DOMA, same-sex marriage is a civil right. Lois Romano on the man considered the father of the gay-marriage drive.

In 1983, Ronald Reagan was president, landlords were evicting HIV-infected tenants, and a young gay man at Harvard Law School was decades ahead of his time.

Evan Wolfson was working on a thesis that would become the blueprint for the cultural and moral arguments supporting gay marriage. He is considered by many the father of the gay-marriage movement, a pioneer who not only saw the legal arguments but advocated embracing the “vocabulary” of marriage when even progressive activists fretted about moving too fast.


With New York’s historic vote, the leader of Bush’s GOP emerged as a key advocate for equality. Samuel P. Jacobs talks to Ken Mehlman about how he helped buttonhole and raise bucks for victory.

On Friday night, joyful men and women massed at the Stonewall Inn, Manhattan’s gay landmark, to cheer the New York legislature’s vote to allow gay marriage. In their midst was a man many in the gay community had once cursed, as a champion of policies hostile to their cause. But on this night, he blended in, comfortable with the company—and, unbeknownst to many of the revelers, a key force behind their victory.


In 2003 Andrew Berg and Dominic Pisciotta appeared on the cover of NEWSWEEK, under the headline, "Is Gay Marriage Next?" Jessica Bennett reports on their and other same-sex weddings.

The first time around, there was a hot-air balloon, a lake and a waterfall. There was a DJ shipped in from New York, and 150 guests decked out in their finest. It was Vermont, in the summertime—a year after the state legalized civil unions. "Everything," said the happy grooms, "was perfect."