Love. Romance. Forever.
These words floated about Bethpage State Park’s Carlyle on the Green Tuesday when dozens of couples gathered to tie the knot in what may have been New York State’s largest same-sex mass wedding ceremony since gay marriage became legal Sunday.
Fifty-six couples walked down the aisle and were married on the terrace by Reverend Dr. Beverly Boyarsky around noon.
For some of the couples, the ceremony itself seemed like it was meant especially for them.
“Just by chance we were together and we read in a Queens newspaper that this event was occurring,” Long Island native Dr. William Hansen explained. “At that moment it just seemed to be like a calling and the right thing for us to do.”
Hansen and Arbay Gonzalez, his partner of seven years, wore matching white suits for the occasion.
The day also held significant meaning to Abi and Mari Cielo of Hicksville. The two celebrated thirteen years together on the same day they exchanged vows.
“It made it extra special—it was meant to be,” Abi said.
Also in tow was the couple’s young son Dakota, who stood in between them as they became legally married.
The ceremony ended with a champagne toast.
“You have waited years, decades, and a lifetime to be able to declare your love and have it recognized,” David Kilmnick, CEO of Long Island GLBT (Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender) Community Center in Bay Shore, said. “Today is that day, and we are all so very happy for you.”
The reception was donated by the catering facility, and sponsors provided photography, flowers and, of course, a tiered wedding cake.
The Marriage Equality Act has made New York the sixth state in the country to legalize gay marriage. The bill was passed on June 24 and became law a month later.