Lesbian and Transgender

Umbrellas Shield N.Y.'s First Single-Sex Weddings

Friday, July 29, 2011

Same-sex couples lined up outside the City Clerk's Office in Manhattan last Sunday to take advantage of New York's first day of legal marriage for same-sex couples. A few counter protesters were overpowered by the mood of celebration.

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Protestors Shield

Marriage Equality New York, a grassroots organization dedicated to this issue, provided hundreds of umbrellas to shield couples from angry protestors.

"We want to protect the newlyweds on their wedding day," said Trucker Darling, who was holding one umbrella. "We're peacefully demonstrating our excitement that this legislation is passed and this basic human right has been granted."

About six protestors created the only hostility. They took up a position on a corner across the street from the city building. They came from Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kan. "Mourn for your sins," one of their placards said. "God mocks America," said another. Others were too crude to quote. They shouted various insults.

The peaceful reinforcement protesters parried and shielded wedding couples by singing "Going to the Chapel." "God hates haters," they chanted, "God loves biological diversity."

Around 9:30 in the morning, the Topeka protesters from across the street packed up and went away.

Mary Walcott and Kim Bertolino were among the hundreds of couples lining up to get married. The longtime Queens residents chose to get married in Manhattan instead of their home borough because of the exciting atmosphere and historical significance.

"We have been part of this push for marriage equality. We marched in Washington because it was important to us," Walcott told Women's eNews on Sunday. "We didn't sleep watching the news leading up to the law passing, and we immediately knew we wanted to come into the city and celebrate this day."


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Krystie Lee Yandoli is a Women's eNews editorial intern.

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