In the throes of a sweltering heatwave, at 12:01 AM on Sunday, July 24, marriage equality becomes law in New York. As the Empire State becomes the 6th and largest to allow same-sex marriage, thousands of couples will say “I do,” with dozens of cities and towns opening their offices specifically to issue marriage licenses.
In the honeymoon capitol of Niagra Falls, officials will illuminate the famous waterfall in the colors of the rainbow. In New York City, LGBT advocate Mayor Michael Bloomberg will officiate at the wedding of two City Hall officials. Nearby, Governor Andrew Cuomo, who boldly spearheaded marriage equality in New York, will host a party for equality advocates and lawmakers. In Harlem, former Mayor David Dinkins will officiate at the wedding of longtime friends Stephen Williams and Joey Pressley, who have been together since 1990.
New York is home to 65,300 same sex couples, according to data provided by the Williams Institute. Time magazine reported an estimated 21,300 couples are predicted to tie the knot over the next three years with 45,000 more from out of state visiting New York to exchange vows. This means upwards of $400 million in economic impact would likely be realized, with almost $4-million for license fees alone.
On Friday, Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley (D) announced that he would follow New York’s lead and sponsor a bill to legalize same-sex marriage in next year’s General Assembly.