First Gay Marriages in New York Begins

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July 24 was the first day that same sex couples were allowed to legally marry in the state of New York, the US. Hundreds of gay and lesbian couples lined up early in the morning outside the Manhattan City Clerk’s office to reap the benefits on Sunday, some of whom had waited decades for the right.

In New York City's five boroughs as well as across the state, clerk's offices, which are usually closed on Sundays, opened to marry gay couples for the first time in the state's history. Legislators passed the law legalizing gay marriage last month and couples eagerly awaited for it to come into effect on Sunday.

New York City issued 659 marriage licenses the first day and volunteer judges married 484 couples, gay and straight, according to a news release from Mayor Michael Bloomberg's office.

Same-sex marriages in New York will be recognized in Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont and Washington D.C., where the practice is legal, as well as in Maryland and Rhode Island.

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Same-sex couple Mishan Moore (L), 39, reacts as her partner Jacqueline Rodriguez, 34, looks on during their wedding ceremony at Queens Borough Hall in New York July 24, 2011. (REUTERS / Shannon Stapleton)

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New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (C) presides over the wedding of Jonathan Mintz (L), New York City's consumer affairs commissioner, and John Feinblatt (R), a chief adviser to the mayor, as they stand with daughters Maeve (L) and Georgia at Gracie Mansion in New York July 24, 2011. (REUTERS / Lucas Jackson)

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Margie Baker wipes frosting on her spouse Edie Jud after being married at the Brooklyn Clerk's Office, July 24, 2011. They have been together for 20 years. (REUTERS / Allison Joyce)

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Luz Heurtelou (L) and Nastassia Heurtelou wait to be married at the Brooklyn Clerk's Office, July 24, 2011. (REUTERS / Allison Joyce)

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Wendy Torrington (L) and Kimberly Moreno, both of Long Beach, Mississippi, celebrate after getting their marriage license at the Manhattan City Clerk's office July 24, 2011. (REUTERS / Allison Joyce)

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Michael Johnson (L), 55, and Michael Roberts, 81, of New York,smile during their wedding ceremony at the City Clerk's office in New York July 24, 2011. 24, 2011. (REUTERS / POOL New)

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Phyllis Sifel (L) and Connie Kopelov (R) celebrate after being married at the marriage bureau in lower Manhattan, July 24, 2011
Source: REUTERS / Allison Joyce

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Same-sex couple Daniel Mackey (L) and his partner Dennis Josue pose for a picture after their wedding ceremony at the City Clerk's Office for their wedding ceremony in New York July 24, 2011. (REUTERS)

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Luz Heurtelou (L) and Nastassia Heurtelou look at photos with family after marrying at the Brooklyn Clerk's Office, July 24, 2011. (REUTERS / Allison Joyce)

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Myron Levine (center, L) and Philip Zinderman celebrate after being married outside the Manhattan City Clerk's office July 24, 2011. They have been together for 51 years. (REUTERS / Allison Joyce)

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Same-sex couple Ray Durand, left, and his partner Dale Shields kiss while having their picture taken after their wedding ceremony at the Manhattan City Clerk's office. (David Handschuh / Pool via Getty Images)

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Cheryle Rudd (L) and Kitty Lambert cut their wedding cake, about two hours before they are married at the stroke of midnight, at the brink of Niagara Falls, in Niagara Falls, New York July 24, 2011.

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Janet Coleman (R) and Kawane Harris arrive at the City Clerk's Office to be legally married in New York July 24, 2011. (REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton )

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New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (R) walks away after presiding over the wedding of Jonathan Mintz (L), the city's consumer affairs commissioner, and John Feinblatt (C), a chief adviser to the mayor, as the newlyweds embrace their daughters Maeve (2nd L) and Georgia at Gracie Mansion in New York July 24, 2011. (Reuters)

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