Newlyweds take advantage of New York law to finally tie knot

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Dina Mazzaferro and Robin Leopold of Great Neck, on Long Island, got married in the North Hempstead town clerk’s office with their 8-year-old daughter, Sasha, and Robin’s mother, Barbara, watching. Barbara wiped away tears during the brief ceremony while Sasha mouthed some of the words along with her parents, who have been together 15 years.
Mazzaferro said it was an important day for their daughter as well.

“It’s important for us to be able to tell her we did just not have a wedding ceremony years ago, but at least in this state now we are legally married. I think that takes on significance when you’re a child to be able to say ‘My parents are married.’ We’re fairly traditional. I know that may sound a little peculiar, but we are. We’re conservative and traditional in a lot of respects so this is just another step in that direction, solemnizing that partnership.”
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Linda Beinhauer, 62, and Terry Lehn, 49, came to the Brookhaven Town Hall in Long Island’s Farmingville with friends and family in tow in a long stretch white limousine. They planned a backyard family celebration at their Central Islip home later on Sunday.

“I just wish it was federal,” Beinhauer said of the state legislation legalizing same-sex marriage. “We’re still not done fighting. When it becomes federal, it will really be equal.”

“We waited a long time for this. Of course I’m getting older now. I wish this could have been when I was 20 years old. This is wonderful. It’s about time.”
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Phyllis Siegel and Connie Kopelov have been together 23 years. Kopelov, 85, arrived in a wheelchair to the East Chapel at the New York City clerk’s office shortly before 9 a.m. She stood for the ceremony with the assistance of a walker. Both women wore beige pants and blue shirts.

As the couple approached the altar, the 76-year-old Siegel placed her right hand on Kopelov’s walker. She wrapped her hand in her partner’s as the service began.

City Clerk Michael McSweeney presided over the wedding.

“Today, Phyllis and Connie come together to pledge to live the rest of their lives as one,” he said. “These are two independent people who are joining together because they can see and they feel how much better their lives will be. They wish to establish a union which is greater than the sums of its parts.”

Siegel took Kopelov’s head in her hands and kissed her on the left cheek, then on the lips.

“I am breathless,” Siegel said afterward. “I almost couldn’t breathe. I am happy.”

Printed on 07/25/2011 as: Partners take opportunity to formalize relationships with nuptial ceremonies