Gay marriage: After 23 years, these two are now married

The chapel crowd cheers as Phyllis Siegel, 76, right, kisses her new wife, 
Connie Kopelov, 84, after exchanging vows at the Manhattan City Clerk’s office. 
City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn, back left, was on hand for the historic nuptials.(Photo by Michael Appleton-Pool/Getty Images)

Out of the all marriages performed in the city yesterday, the wedding of Connie Kopelov, 84, and Phyllis Siegel, 76, may stand out as the most memorable.

The two elderly women — who have been together for 23 years — were one of the first three gay couples in New York City to wed. Their ceremony was performed in the East Chapel of City Hall at 8:45 a.m.

Kopelov arrived in a wheelchair and stood with the assistance of a walker.

As the service began, Siegel wrapped her hand in her partner’s, both grasping the walker.

When City Clerk Michael McSweeney, who presided over the wedding, announced the pair married, a cheer went up in the chapel. City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who is a lesbian, along with her partner, Kim Catulo, and state Sen. Tom Duane, also gay, all attended and were visibly crying. Duane wiped away his tears with a white cloth.

In an interview right after the ceremony, Siegel expressed the enormity of her emotion.

“I am breathless,” she said. “I almost couldn’t breathe. I’m happy. It’s what I wanted to do. It’s mind-boggling. The fact that’s it’s happening to us  —  that we are finally legal and can do this like everyone else.”



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