2012 Summer Yearbook: Most Likely To Last

A cause for celebration this summer? The one-year anniversary of marriage equality in New York.
August 31, 2012

Every gay New Yorker can tell you where they were on June 24, 2011, the day that marriage equality passed in New York State. For those who were watching the State Senate deliberations online or on public-access television, the final floor speeches on the bill were riveting moments that will long be remembered. When the measure finally passed with a vote of 33–29, spontaneous celebrations erupted across the city, with large gatherings forming in the West Village and Hell’s Kitchen. At the same time, gay New Yorkers immediately began planning to make their relationships official and tie the knot after the law went into effect a month later on July 24. The city clerk’s office received more than 2,600 requests for marriage licenses on that first day.

This July marked the one-year anniversary of marriage equality in New York, and many predictions of the economic benefits of the legislation to the city and state were proven correct. In an estimate released by the mayor’s office last month, one year of marriage equality has added roughly $259 million to the city’s economy. In addition, over 7,000 gay marriage licenses were issued in the city over the last year. That’s a lot of cause for celebration. And champagne.

Marc Solomon, the national campaign director of Freedom to Marry, says that the first year of this law being in effect has had an impact across the country. “It’s led to more GOP support for the freedom to marry, in states like New Hampshire. The law has more than doubled the number of Americans living in a state with the freedom to marry, from 16 million to 35 million people.” In honor of the first anniversary of this landmark legislation, we talked with some newly married couples about their historic proposals, marriage ceremonies and day-to-day life as married men:

“We went down to the Municipal Building around 6:30am and stood in line.”
“I, of course, wanted to plan a formal ceremony but the more we talked about it, [the more] I liked Alan’s idea so we entered into the lottery to get married on the first day same-sex marriages were performed in New York. We went down to the Municipal Building around 6:30am and stood in line. It was a crazy media circus but incredibly exciting to partake in such a historic day. By chance, while getting our haircuts the previous day, we met a judge who was going to be marrying couples that first day, and he gave us his contact information so once we were inside the building, he could be the one to marry us. It was such a strange chance meeting and it made the ceremony all the more special as we really liked him and he was also excited to be partaking in the day’s events. A few friends joined us that morning and stood in line with us and were with us during the ceremony, which [was] performed in a chapel in the Municipal Building.” —Drew Glick, married to Alan Miles

“After I said yes, he brought out a second box and said, ‘Alright, now you ask me.’”
“I remember looking at him [as the bill was deliberated] and kind of thinking, this could happen! We kind of knew it was gonna happen for us, and we started to make plans, but there wasn’t an actual proposal [yet]. He had me meet him in Central Park. I showed up and he was at the fountain and dropped to his knee and asked me to marry him. After I said yes, he brought out a second box and said, ‘Alright, now you ask me.’ You know that Carrie necklace from Sex and the City? He had gone to Chinatown and made rings that said “Chris + Carl” and “Carl + Chris” and they were kind of in the style of that necklace.” —Christopher Boudewyns, married to Carl Byrd

“It’s a funny feeling. It’s a more complete feeling.”
“I didn’t even really come out until I was 21; I really didn’t think about [getting married] till [I moved to] New York and all of this started happening. Though I did know I wanted to live my life with one person; that’s what I wanted to do. You know, it feels complete. It’s funny, when I’m introduced to someone at work, when someone says, ‘Oh, this is Jeff’s husband, Eddie.’ It’s a funny feeling. It’s a more complete feeling. I didn’t think that it would be, but I would say it definitely is.” —Eddie Casson, married to Jeff Saunders