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NYS Marriage Equality Law Marks 1-Year Anniversary

Jeanette Lenoir, WIBX

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Utica, NY (WIBX) - It’s been a year since New York State passed the hotly contested Marriage Equality Act.Two days after its passage, Utica City Clerk, Joan Brenon officiated her first same-sex marriage at City Hall.

A year later, we returned to see how many more marriages she’s performed. “Maybe six, eight female marriages and one male marriage and they’re usually older–they’ve been together a long time–they’ve been together 20-years, or they’ve been married in another state and they want it recognized in New York State, so they come back here to make it legal,” she said. She says so far her office has issued marriage licences to about 40 same-sex couples.

Adam Lawless, Community Engagement Manager for the local United Way, married his longtime partner just a few months after the law passed. ”I was very pleasantly surprised and I think Don was as well, at how positive people really were. Of course there was some negative comments but overwhelmingly positive and accepting, and people still come up to us and comment about seeing the wedding on the news, and said that they felt like they were a part of that day and still are congratulating us. So, that I think is an amazing feeling. I think anybody who gets married loves to hear congratulations and best wishes, so it’s nice to be able to hear that from the community,” he said.

Brenon says the couples she’s spoken to, and those who’s wedding she’s officiated are proud NYS moved to legalize gay marriages. ”They’re just happy…it’s been a long time coming, you know, they have rights just like everyone else does, you know, pursuit of life, liberty and pursuit of happyness and that’s all they’re really looking for, I don’t think they want to make a big statement, I think they just want what everybody else has,” she said.

“There are seven or eight other states that now recognize full marriage equality, but that leaves the rest of the states and the federal government that is still not on board with marriage equality,” said Lawless, who adds that more work is needed to advance the national movement by the Human Rights Campaign, calling for marriage equality for all Americans.

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