Wedding Bells Ring as Mayor's Staffers Say 'I Do'
GRACIE MANSION — Eight-year-old Maeve and six-year-old Georgia finally got their wish Sunday evening, serving as flower girls at their fathers’ wedding.
After a whirlwind day that saw hundreds of couples descend on the city Clerk's Office to tie the knot as others protested furiously through the streets, Mayor Michael Bloomberg marked the historic first day of legal same-sex marriage in New York by presiding over a wedding between long-time staffers John Feinblatt and Jonathan Mintz.
“John, Jonathan, usually when the three of us are together, we are discussing the finer points of illegal guns or consumer fraud,” joked Bloomberg to the pair, who stood clutching their adoring daughters in front of a small congregation that gathered in the garden behind Gracie Mansion on the Upper East Side.
“I can’t tell you how nice this is for a change," he said. "And I can’t tell you how pleased I am that this day has finally arrived."
Bloomberg, who had taken a personal stake in the fight to legalize gay marriage, making frequent trips to Albany to plead his case, had repeatedly framed it as a civil rights issue.
“Today, in this city and in this state, history takes an important step forward by allowing every person to participate,” he said, before having the couple, who’ve been together for 14 years, exchange their rings and recite their vows.
“Today, surrounded by family and friends, you are making history," he said.
Then after a musical interlude of the song "Marriage" from Cabaret, came the magic words.
"By the powers vested in me by the State of New York, I pronounce you both… married,” Bloomberg said to cheers.
The couple then completed the traditional Jewish glass-breaking ritual, with each stomping on his own, as their daughters watched with glee.
But while the family later embraced in a giant group-hug, the couple was never asked to kiss.
Mintz, the Commissioner of the Department of Consumer Affairs, 47, described the ceremony as a gesture to New York as well as Georgia and Maeve.
“The reason that we did this is first and foremost to underscore [it] for our girls," he said.
"Look around you. These people are celebrating us and [that] our family is anything but second-class. We’re full of love, the way other families are, and we want to share that with each other and with others," he said.
“This is a great day for New York. This is a great day for love."
Feinblatt, 60, the mayor's chief advisor for policy and strategic planning, agreed the marriage will help his daughters and said it felt wonderful having been a part of the day.
“There isn't a better wedding day you could have," he said.
For others in attendance, the mood was just as sweet.
“Today’s just been kind of beyond my wildest dreams of how much happiness there could be,” said City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who witnessed the morning’s first union and is herself preparing for a spring wedding to her long-time partner, Kim Catulo.
Also in attendance at the wedding were city officials, including Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, and actor Matthew Broderick.
Following the ceremony, the guests celebrated with dinner, drinks and dancing.
Meanwhile, a block away, a group of about 20 Orthodox Jewish protesters demonstrated against same sex marriage with signs that read “Sodom and Gomorrah” and “LGBT: A grave sin.”