Hundreds of gay couples get married in New York
New York: From Manhattan to Niagara Falls, hundreds of gay couples got married across New York on Sunday, one month after it was legalised in the state.
Besides couples from New York, partners from other states also came to New York to get married, particularly from neighbouring New Jersey.
Many of them were in relationships that went back 40-50 years.
Cody Naganuma and Siu Yuen Ng made it all the way from Hawaii.
The young students had been dating for a year. "I really wanted to be with him and I know he is the one,` Siu, who is originally from Hong Kong, said about his partner.
"I just love him," he added, smiling.
Judges solemnized marriages in the five boroughs of New York through the day. Couples were accompanied by their family and friends.
The marriage centers were filled with cheering, laughter and tears, as couples read their vows to each other. New York joins Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, Iowa and Washington D C in recognising gay marriages.
Gay married couples can now qualify for the same marriage benefits as straight couples. Gay marriages were legalised on June 24, after a long campaign in New York.
"New York has always been a leader in movements to extend freedom and equality to people who had been denied full membership in the American family," said NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg, after the vote.
Couples from New Jersey, where civil unions are allowed, expressed hope that their state would be influenced New York.
Meanwhile, President Barack Obama has announced support for Respect for Marriage Act, a federal law, which will allows federal recognition of marriages recognised at the state level.
The legislation, however, is not before any house of Congress yet.
On September 20, "Don`t ask don`t tell" policy will also be repealed, which means that gays no longer have to hide their sexual orientation in the US military.