Buffalo residents Kitty Lambert and Cheryle Rudd plan to marry at midnight this Sunday in a ceremony billed as the first wedding under the new marriage equality law in New York.
Lambert and Rudd will marry at the stroke of midnight on Luna Island at the foot of Niagara Falls, a popular wedding destination that for the first time will be lit in the colors of the rainbow, according to a news release from New Yorkers United for Marriage, the bipartisan coalition of five LGBT advocacy organizations that campaigned for the new law. Special guests from the national and local scene will include Mark Grisanti, the Buffalo-area senator who joined three other Republicans in his chamber to vote for the bill that Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed into law last month.
Lambert and Rudd, longtime Buffalo residents, have five children and 12 grandchildren. They cofounded the Western New York group OUTspoken for Equality in 2004, and last year, Lambert applied for a license to marry a male stranger at the city clerk's office in protest of being unable to marry Rudd.
Sunday, July 24, is the first day same-sex couples will be eligible to marry in New York. Clerk offices in locations including the five boroughs of New York City plan to be open on the weekend day, with extended hours throughout the following week, to accommodate the crowds expected to marry. There is no residency requirement, which means that same-sex couples from anywhere can marry in the state, but depending on where they live, their union may not be recognized in their home jurisdiction.