Your weekday morning blend from Instant Tea:
1. Hundreds of gay couples tied the knot on Sunday in New York on the first day same-sex marriage was legal in the nation’s third-largest state. The festivities continue today with, among other things, the first group wedding involving about 50 same-sex couples at Niagara Falls — which was also the site of some of the first weddings early Sunday. The first couple to marry in Manhattan, according to the Associated Press, was 77-year-old Phyllis Siegel and 85-year-old Connie Kopelov, shown above, who’ve been together 23 years. From The AP: Witnesses cheered and wiped away tears after the two women vowed to honor and cherish each other as spouses and then kissed. “I am breathless. I almost couldn’t breathe,” Siegel said after the ceremony. “It’s mind-boggling. The fact that it’s happening to us — that we are finally legal and can do this like everyone else.” Outside afterward, Siegel raised her arms exultantly as Kopelov, in the wheelchair, held out a marriage certificate. Watch video from the first day of same-sex marriages in New York below.
2. A memorial to honor victims of anti-LGBT violence will open this week in the heart of Houston’s Montrose gayborhood, Culture Map Houston reports. The garden’s roots stretch as far back as the 1991 hate crime murder of gay banker Paul Broussard, whose killer was recently granted parole. “This garden is about recognizing our community and how fragile each one of us is,” says Sally Huffer of the Montrose Counseling Center. “When one person disappears, it leaves a void.”
3. A straight El Paso woman is fighting an anti-gay group’s efforts to recall Mayor John Cook and two council members for voting in favor of restoring domestic partner benefits for city employees. As we reported last week, the group led by anti-gay Pastor Tom Brown filed its notice of intent to recall the mayor and two council members on July 18. On Thursday, Jodi Casey began her campaign against Brown’s group by asking people to switch their Facebook profile pictures to the image at right. Casey is also considering forming a political action committee to organize a rally in support of the elected officials. “There’s so much negativity by these supposed Christians,” Casey told The El Paso Times. “They’re giving Christians everywhere a bad name.”