Daniel O'Donnell, First Openly-Gay New York Assemblyman, Talks About His Wedding: 'This Is About Love'

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All you need is love! And for Assemblyman Daniel O'Donnell -- the right to marry.

Runnin' Scared was tired of talking to folks about the dark, gloomy world of New York City politics. All that anger and attacking gives us a headache sometimes!

Why not a love story this Friday? Turns out, that's exactly what this is.

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Mayors For Freedom to Marry Launches With Mike Bloomberg At The Helm

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Being mayor of New York City is kind of like being president of the universe, so it's only fair that our very own Mike Bloomberg lead the effort in some national thangs, too. He already is one of two co-chairs for the coalition of Mayors Against Illegal Guns , and now he can add another "chair" to his mayoral resume (it's another cause close to home, folks!): Mayors for the Freedom to Marry.

Bloomberg went to Washington D.C. this morning to launch the same-sex marriage campaign, which thus far is a bipartisan coalition of 80 mayors from across the country. Though he shares the co-chair title with FOUR other mayors, we're glad to see him repping New York City in a D.C. setting. Bloomberg has a history rallying for this cause, notably with a big spectacle on Same-Sex Sunday over the summer when he married Jonathan Mintz, the city's commissioner of consumer affairs, and John Feinblatt, Bloomberg's chief policy adviser at Gracie Mansion.

But his work is not done!

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Gay Marriage Goes to Church!

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Jeremy and Alex, who posed last week with the twin volunteer flower girls while getting their license, about to legally wed in church
Happy Same-Sex Sunday, 2.0!

Last Sunday, the first day same-sex marriage was legal, weddings were performed largely in civil ceremonies. Government marriage bureaus were opened specially across the city and state, and volunteer judges were on hand to grant waivers so that people (some who'd been waiting decades) could avoid the normal 24 hour waiting period. While some rabbis and ministers were on hand to perform ceremonies at borough halls, most were done by judges, and all happened rather quickly.

For those wanting to get married in a house of worship, the logistics of getting the license and planning a ceremony took a little longer. Last Tuesday night, civil rights pioneers Ruthie Berman and Connie Kurtz got married at Congregation Beit Simchat Torah. Yesterday was the first time LGBT Christians could conceivably plan to get married during a regular Sunday service. And so, after the eleven weddings we attended last Sunday, plus taking in one we ran into on the street completely by accident during the week, we witnessed five more happy couples tie the knot yesterday in two different venues.

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Calm in Queens on First Day of Gay Marriage in New York

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Desiree Bussell (in blue plaid) and Katrice Shelton (holding flowers) wed at Queens Borough Hall on Sunday.
At Queens Borough Hall yesterday morning, a city hall volunteer strode across an almost empty plaza with phone in hand to show a colleague a photo of a raucous crowd. "Manhattan!" he said, as he shook his head in disbelief and laughed. The scene at Kew Gardens on Sunday, the first day of gay marriage in New York State, was considerably calmer. After an early rush, few couples had to stand in line outside for more than several minutes before being ushered in to start paperwork.

In anticipation of Sunday, the borough had made 112 slots available for full marriages. 91 couples had applied to be married in Queens today through the lottery, and the remaining spots were opened up to other applicants. But business was slower than expected: By the end of the day, the city gave out 89 licenses and conducted 66 marriages in Queens, including a few walk-ins. Most couples seemed grateful for the quiet, no-drama pace at the Hall -- they had plans to celebrate all day with family.


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Usually Angry LGBT Activists Have a Blast During Manhattan Marriage Marathon

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MENY president Cathy Marino-Thomas hugs Lt. Dan Choi
Between the "Rainbow Chuppa," the Avenue Q puppets, the scores of happy brides and grooms, and even a glitter bomb, the scene in Foley Square yesterday outside of Manhattan's Marriage Bureau felt like a carnival. It was a little disconcerting seeing just about every activist we've covered over the past two years, many who'd chained themselves to the Marriage Bureau itself and given enraged speeches in front of it, relaxed and enjoying themselves.

But it was also a great deal of fun.

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Midtown Mayhem As Anti-SSM Groups Send Mixed Messages

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Esther Zuckerman
Same-sex Sunday was anything but a day of celebration for the groups that remain adamantly opposed to gay marriage, and whose protests collided in midtown in the afternoon. A rally organized in part by the National Organization for Marriage, but where the main draw seemed to be State Senator Ruben Diaz Sr., perhaps New York's most vocal opponent of gay marriage, collided with two smaller but slur-hurling groups -- a five-person contingent from the Westboro Baptist Chuch, and a few dozen members of the Williamsburg Satmars.


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Marriage Among Friends in Staten Island

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Esther Zuckerman
Maria Cruz, 47, sat in the clerk's office on the third floor of the Staten Island Borough Hall waiting to get her license in order to marry her partner of 27 years, Vivian Roman, 49. She was "nervous," she told us.

"Just excited," she said. "Happy."

Her daughter, also named Vivian, a 21-year-old conceived via artificial insemination, looked at her mother and said, "Now it's really for real."

A staff member standing in the doorway interjected: "It's always been real," she said, adding, "Now it's legal."

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Pink Stretch Hummer Limo Proves Gays Have Equal Rights Now

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This pink stretch Hummer limousine, parked yesterday outside of the Manhattan Marriage Bureau, proves that gays have finally achieved all equal rights now*...including the right to be as tacky as straight people.

(*Well, there's still that pesky DOMA thing. But the bridge and tunnel bachelor/ette party rights are certainly covered.)

sthrasher@villagevoice.com | @steven_thrasher

JFK Terminal Evacuated Due to 'Suspicious Package'; Donald Trump Ordered to Repay Golfer He Kicked Out of Club

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• We're hearing that JFK's American Airlines terminal has been evacuated as officials investigate a suspicious package apparently left in a business class lounge by a man who boarded a flight to San Francisco. A bomb squad has been called after a bomb-sniffing dog alerted authorities to the bag. Update: An all-clear has been given. [NBC NY]

Donald Trump has been ordered by a Florida judge to return a $200,000 membership fee to Harry Theodoracopulos, 77, a man he kicked out of the club for being "verbally abusive" to caddies and talking too loudly on the course. Trump will appeal. [NYDN]

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A Brooklyn State of Mind as Borough Exceeds Same-Sex Marriage Goal (Video)

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Brides Stacey Minondo and Barbara Tremblay waiting outside Brooklyn Borough Hall
Brooklyn was number two when it came to the number of weddings it planned to perform yesterday. With 109 lottery winning couples registered in the morning, it was a distant second to Manhattan's planned 459 weddings (of the 823 the city was anticipating through out of the five boroughs.)

Yet from the lines forming in the dawn light in front of Borough Hall, it was obvious that Brooklyn was second to no one for those waiting to get married. And that was especially true for Barbara Pilgrim and Geraldine Whitsett, who'd been waiting to get married since they met in 1953, over 48 years ago.


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