As the number of people living in jurisdictions with marriage equality doubles this weekend, here are some of the things going on around New York to celebrate — and protest that state’s new law:
• To avoid delays and confusion, New York City will limit the number of marriages on Sunday to 764. Licenses will be distributed through lotteries for specific slots in each of the five NYC boroughs. The lottery opened on Tuesday and closed today at noon. Winners will be announced Friday. A lottery — what a great way to ensure the sanctity of marriage.
• Sunday will be a record day for marriages in New York City. The previous record was set on Valentine’s Day in 2003, when 621 opposite-sex couples wed.
• Rod and Ricky, the same-sex puppets who meet and fall in love in Avenue Q, plan to be among those in line for marriage licenses at City Hall.
• In Albany, Mayor Jerry Jennings will marry up to 10 couples at city hall right after midnight. A state Supreme Court judge will be at the Common Council chambers to waive the 24-hour waiting period.
• Mayor Bloomberg said he doesn’t expect people to be camping out in line waiting for marriage licenses. He says it’s not like buying an iPad 2. Right. Priorities. After all, which is more important?
• Niagara Falls plans to light up the American Falls in rainbow colors for Sunday festivities. About 30 couples have signed up to participate in a ceremony at Niagara Falls State Park. City officials are hoping publicity about the mass wedding will help revive the city as a wedding destination. (Note to Niagara Falls tourist officials: The Canadian Falls are more dramatic and marriage has been legal in Canada for years. Note to gays: It was the Canadian side where Marilyn Monroe filmed Niagara and where Mr. Sheffield first told Nanny Fine that he loved her on the Canadian Maid of the Mist. And the bridge between New York and Canada is called the Rainbow Bridge. Just sayin’.]
• Buffalo, the state’s second-largest city, has no plans to open City Hall on Sunday. Neither will fourth-largest Yonkers. Buffalo officials must wonder why anyone would get married in their drab city when Niagara Falls is just a few miles away and Yonkers officials are probably thinking that since Nathan’s Hot Dogs is the nicest restaurant in town, gay couples will go to New York City right next door. [Note: Author of this article grew up in Yonkers a block from Nathan's — so shut uppa you mouth].
• City halls in Rochester (New York’s third-largest city), Syracuse (fifth) and Binghamton (known only because of a state university located there) will be open on Sunday.
• Sen. Roy McDonald, the Republican from Saratoga who voted for the marriage equality law, received $166,129 in donations for his re-election campaign since the vote. The hate group National Organization for Marriage has flooded the very liberal Albany area with fliers condemning McDonald, possibly part of the reason for his uptick in donations.
• Sen. Ruben Diaz, the only Democrat to vote against marriage equality, will hold a rally outside the governor’s New York City office and march to the U.N.
• Episcopal Bishop Lawrence Provenzano of Long Island said that his church will require its gay and lesbian clergy to marry within the next nine months or stop living with their partners in church-owned housing.
• Gov. Andrew Cuomo warned town clerks they don’t get to pick and choose which laws they will enforce and told any clerks who will not perform same-sex marriages to find a new line of work. Two have resigned. Nassau County (Long Island) District Attorney Kathleen Rice warned clerks that failing to do their jobs would result in prosecution for official misconduct, a Class A misdemeanor.
• Of course, defending the rights of New Yorkers to continue to discriminate is Alliance Defense Fund. That group is based 2,140 miles away in Phoenix, Ariz. They claim the new law conflicts with religious freedoms even though lawmakers were careful to carve out a broad swath of religious exemptions.
• NOM and Alliance Defense Fund have a natural ally in Fred Phelps who will be in New York to celebrate some same-sex weddings along with his Westboro Baptist Church. First he’ll hit three marriage bureaus — Manhattan from 7:30-9 a.m., Brooklyn 9:45-10:30 and the Bronx 11:15 to noon. Obviously Fred doesn’t understand New York City traffic. Then after a lunch break, he’ll hit Gracie Mansion at 4:30 in time for a wedding that Mayor Bloomberg will be conducting for two of his staffers. The gays are everywhere.
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