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New York Marriage Bureau Offers Mugs, Not Nuptials to Same-Sex Couples

By DNAinfo Staff on September 16, 2010 6:40am  | Updated on September 16, 2010 6:18am

By Jill Colvin

DNAinfo Reporter/Producer

CITY HALL — Same-sex couples may not be able to wed in this state, but New York City is offering a consolation prize to commemorate their unions — mugs.

The official CityStore at the City Clerk's Manhattan Marriage Bureau sells three versions of its "We Do" mugs, along with other merchandise that celebrate nuptials.  

The first blue-and-white mug features a traditional groom standing in a tux with the bride, in a flowing white grown, in his arms.

The second, however, features two grooms dressed in bow ties, while a third shows two women, both dressed casually in plaid, standing side-by-side.

All three feature the words, "We do" and are available for $10, despite many unsuccessful attempts by several New York City officials to pass a  bill allowing gay marriage.

Ron Zacchi, Executive Director of Marriage Equality New York, said he thinks the mugs are a "slap in the face" to gay couples.

"I think that the store and the city probably feel that they're progressive by including LGBT paraphernalia in their shop," Zacchi said.

"It's celebrating inequality."

Mayor's Office spokesman Jason Post pointed out that the city does perform domestic partnership ceremonies, which involve a script similar to marriage vows, and often include a commitment ring.

A law passed by the City Council last month also requires the clerk's office to provide same-sex couples registering for domestic partnerships with a list of jurisdictions where they can be legally married. Those marriages are recognized by the state.

Ken York, 34, a programmer from New Jersey and a supporter of gay marriage, said he likes the idea of the mugs and commended the city for "looking to the future."

"It’s forward-thinking," he said as he left the clerk's office after his own ceremony.

Brooklyn beautician Tashawnna Fisher, 19, agreed.

She said she thought the city was trying to use the mugs to make a statement supporting gay unions.

"It's good that they've got them," she said.

But Chermaine Poole, 29, found it odd that the city sold the mugs when same-sex marriage was not legal in the state.

"I do think it's strange," said the Harlem teaching assistant as she waited in line for a marriage license.

Nursing assistant Salita Smith, 23, who traveled to New York from Atlanta, Georgia for her wedding day, said that if the city is going to sell the mugs in its gift shop, if should perform marriages too.