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Celebrations begin in NYC to commemorate Supreme Court's same-sex marriage ruling

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NEW YORK — From pop-up parties to weddings, New Yorkers celebrated the Supreme Court's ruling Friday that same-sex couples have a right to marry anywhere in the United States.

Within an hour of the ruling, rainbow flags were hanging outside City Hall. Mayor Bill de Blasio officiated at two same-sex weddings on the steps of City Hall on Friday afternoon as hundreds of spectators waving rainbow flags and holding signs looked on. Another couple renewed their vows.

"Today, love wins," de Blasio said. "What so many of us have believed in for so long — that all people deserve the fundamental right to marry no matter who they love or where they live — that fundamental right has now been affirmed as the law of this nation."

At the end of the ceremonies, the three couples kissed simultaneously at the mayor's direction before posing for a group selfie.

Earlier in the day, when de Blasio arrived shortly after the decision was announced, he walked up the steps of City Hall, hugged Councilman Corey Johnson, who is openly gay, and said: "Congratulations, brother."

Said another openly gay councilman, Daniel Dromm, who has been a voice in New York's LGBT community for decades: "For me, I've been involved in the movement for 42 years and I never thought I'd live to see the day that this would happen in the United States of America, so everything is possible and I think today's decision really affirms that."

New York is one of 36 states, plus the District of Columbia, where gay and lesbian couples could already marry. In 2011, state legislators passed the Marriage Equality Act.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a statement Friday that marriage was a "fundamental right that should be afforded to everyone, regardless of whom they love."

PHOTO: Demonstrators gather at a rally in Greenwich Village to celebrate the Supreme Court's ruling on gay marriage, Friday, June 26, 2015, in New York. The Supreme Court declared Friday that same-sex couples have a right to marry anywhere in the U.S. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)
Demonstrators gather at a rally in Greenwich Village to celebrate the Supreme Court's ruling on gay marriage, Friday, June 26, 2015, in New York. The Supreme Court declared Friday that same-sex couples have a right to marry anywhere in the U.S. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)

"Dividing people into first- and second-class citizens is not only wrong, it runs contrary to who we are as a nation," he said. "From Stonewall to Edie Windsor, New Yorkers have always been on the front lines of the fight to ensure equality and families for all."

Windsor was the plaintiff in an earlier Supreme Court case that struck down parts of the Defense of Marriage Act.

An enthusiastic crowd Friday evening packed into the Stonewall Inn, the Greenwich Village bar where resistance to a police raid sparked the modern gay rights movement. Stonewall was made a city landmark on Tuesday, the first time a site has been named primarily because of its significance to the LGBT history.

Rick Gerson, meanwhile, planned for a momentous occasion of his own — his wedding to his longtime partner, Frank Dano, on Long Island.

"I'm amazed and somewhat speechless," Gerson said as he prepared for his big day.

The certified public accountant originally from Wyndmoor, Pennsylvania, said he met Dano — a nursing home administrator from Island Park, New York — through an online dating service in 2004. They picked Friday, the 11th anniversary of their first date, to get married, not knowing the Supreme Court would issue its ruling the same day.

About 230 guests are expected at The Sands at Atlantic Beach facility for the evening ceremony, Gerson said. He said a lifelong friend of Dano's would be officiating at the ceremony and expected that the Supreme Court ruling would be mentioned during the service.

"We never expected to share our wedding day with this amazing day in history," Gerson said. "We're just so thrilled that all our brothers and sisters across the nation will be able to do the same thing. It's a long time coming."


Associated Press writers Jonathan Lemire in New York City and Frank Eltman in Mineola, New York, contributed to this report.

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Video:
PHOTO: Dozens of people gathered at New York City's Stonewall Inn minutes after the Supreme Court ruled that gay couples have right to marry in all 50 states. (June 26)
Dozens of people gathered at New York City's Stonewall Inn minutes after the Supreme Court ruled that gay couples have right to marry in all 50 states. (June 26)
Photo Gallery:
PHOTO: Julie Vann, left, and Lauren Kirkbride enjoy a moment together away from the crowd gathered in Greenwich Village to celebrate the Supreme Court's ruling on gay marriage, Friday, June 26, 2015, in New York. The Supreme Court declared Friday that same-sex couples have a right to marry anywhere in the U.S.  (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)
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